FATHERS You can turn the tide

In 2 Kings 2:9, just before the prophet Elijah was taken up to heaven, his personal attendant, companion and heir-apparent, Elisha, asked to “inherit a double portion of [Elijah’s] spirit”.

Similarly, every child hopes to “inherit” a “double portion” of love, encouragement, affirmation and wisdom from those they admire the most. Children need heroes, and good role models. If not, they will look towards the world for heroes to worship.

The child whom Mr Jason Wong encountered some years ago certainly had received a “double portion” – a double portion of violence and abuse from his father, which left him lying in hospital.

Jason came across this case during his days with Child Protection Services when he was senior director with the Ministry of Social and Family Development. Prior to that, he had already seen first-hand the impact of fatherlessness when he started work in the former Changi Prison.

Jason explained: “I saw fatherlessness on the faces and in the lives of many of the inmates. Instead of the hearts of their fathers turned towards them as the Lord instructed in Malachi 4:5-6, their fathers had either turned away from them or turned against them.

“From prisons, I moved on to work with abused children and at-risk youths. For six years, I saw the pain caused to children and families, caused by fatherlessness. I often wondered why a First World country like Singapore can have such brokenness. Why is that the richer we get, the poorer we become?

“Yet, if each generation receives a double portion and a double anointing from the previous generation, the nation will be transformed in no time!”

Jason, a long-time pro-fathering advocate, had founded the Dads for Life movement in 2009. On May 31, 2014, he brought these same ideals to Christian fathers with the launch of the Elijah7000 movement, for them to reach other fathers so that together, they can respond to the rising wave of attacks on God’s design for marriage and family.

Elijah7000 is not a programme or campaign – it is a cause to turn hearts, strengthen families and restore the nation.

As mentioned, Elisha had asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit. God had also sent Elijah to a widow and her fatherless son to care for them (1 Kings 17). When the son died, Elijah raised him to life again – this was an assurance by God that he would send spiritual fathers and father-figures to fatherless families and to restore seemingly hopeless situations.

Lastly, in 1 Kings 19 – after the Israelites had rejected God’s covenant and other prophets were put to death, Elijah took refuge in a cave, despondent and miserable. This was when God spoke to him to say that He had reserved “seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal…” (1 Kings 19:18).

In today’s context, the 7000 can represent the remnant of this generation which has not bowed down to the idols of the age.

At the launch, held at the Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) Lee Kong Chian Auditorium, several fathers shared their testimonies, after which Jason invited all fathers to kneel and pray for repentance and forgiveness.

Dr Lim Yoon Pin, a lecturer with the National University of Singapore and a father of four, shared how he and his wife were on the verge of separation two years ago. “I failed as a father and caused the marriage to fall apart. I was on auto-pilot with the children; I was often absent, and did not engage the children meaningfully. I was just doing ‘convenient parenting’. It was only after attending a church outreach event that I got thinking about my role as a father. Without this change of heart towards God, I would not have been able to turn my heart towards my children and wife.”

Mr Tio Chong Heng, a Father Volunteer from St. Hilda’s Primary School, shared about how a few dedicated and passionate fathers can rise up to lead a father’s group, organising numerous activities to touch and impact many other fathers and their children. Jason noted that because of activities like these, a principal once quipped: “There’s now life for mums!”

Mr James Lo of Church of our Saviour shared about the experiences of the father’s group in his church. This included a “Youth Unto Perfection” programme where fathers are invited to mentor church youths, especially those who are fatherless. Jason asked: “How many of us know how many are fatherless in our own church?”

The world and the community we live in today is being re-defined – fathers’ affections are diverted, families are divided, children are growing up with hurts and deficits and are confused about their identities.

Will you be one of the Elijah7000 who may be used by God to turn back this tide of chaos which is threatening to be a tsunami?

Mr Jason Wong invited all fathers to kneel and pray at the launch of Elijah7000.
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* Visit www.elijah7000.org
* Email contact@elijah7000.org

Photos courtesy of Focus on the Family Singapore

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The article is a compilation of input from an interview with Mr Jason Wong, his article “Influencing Generations, Impacting Nations” in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of Impact magazine, and materials and information gathered at the Elijah7000 launch on May 31, 2014.