Our Methodist churches have many outreach programmes for migrant workers who work in the construction and healthcare industries, as well as services or ministries tailored to migrant domestic workers (MDWs). But how many of these workers actually end up worshipping in our churches and staying?
We hear from three migrant workers who have attended a Methodist church for several years. Read on to see how they found their home church in Singapore, while being miles away from their home country.
Mary Jean Sardoma
Migrant domestic worker
Covenant Community Methodist Church
I am from the Philippines and I’ve worked as a migrant domestic worker (or helper) in Singapore for 26 years. I am 55 years old and have two children; my daughter works as a nurse in the Philippines and my son works as an international seafarer.
I came to know about Covenant Community Methodist Church (CCMC) through the first family I worked for, just a week after I started working for them. They introduced me to the church and let me join a small group that met after service, and I have attended CCMC ever since. After four years, I accepted Jesus Christ as my saviour and got baptised. I serve in the choir and as an usher. I’m part of the Homehelpers Ministry and there are 20 of us now.
The Christmas season can be difficult—in 26 years, I’ve only celebrated Christmas with family twice. The other difficulties helpers face is how to deal with inconsiderate employers. But by God’s grace, I’ve always managed to overcome difficult situations and finish my contracts.
I’ve learnt to commit everything to God, and be thankful always. There’s always something to learn from every situation. God has been good—despite the fact that I’ve been away from home for a long time, my children are responsible and value my hard work.
Pauldurai Charles Jebaruban
Senior project coordinator in construction company
Kampong Kapor Methodist Church
My name is Pauldurai Charles Jebaruban and I am 32 years old. I have been working as a senior project coordinator in a construction company in Singapore for the past 10 years.
My village, K.Pudur, Sankarankovil, in Tamil Nadu, India is rich in natural resources and has excellent agricultural cultivation. My family—father, mother, two brothers and a younger sister— love the church and we have a heart for God’s servants.
When I came to Singapore, I hadn’t attended a church for some time and I didn’t know which church to attend here. Then one day, I met a brother by the grace of God, and through him I learned about a church in Little India called Kampong Kapor Methodist Church (KKMC).
I have been attending KKMC for the last nine years. The Tamil service, the sermons and the brothers and sisters who worship there made me want to visit the church again and again.
Getting a job in Singapore is very difficult. When I came here to work, it was a job that I had wanted. But the job turned out to be different and the salary was very low. I had to send money home with this paltry salary, and at the same time, meet my needs here. In the midst of this, God helped me every day. When the workload kept increasing, and affected me both physically and mentally, I was forced to move to another job. I was confused and did not know who to ask for help. Amidst all the struggles, God comforted me. By his grace, I got a new job.
My wife, Suganthy, faced many obstacles to come here and work. My pastor and cell group prayed for me—somehow God opened the door and a nursing job opportunity came up and she was able to come to Singapore. God is good and can do unbelievable things!
Kampong Kapor Methodist Church
I work as a staff nurse in a psychiatric ward in a nursing home, and have been working here for 11 years. My husband also works here but our children are in India with our families. My husband came to Singapore first, and found out about Kampong Kapor Methodist Church’s (KKMC) Tamil Service through a friend. When I arrived in Singapore and joined him at church, I found it was the same style of worship as my church in India, so I felt at home.
Leaving my family members has been the most difficult thing about working in Singapore. Every day we talk to each other via video call and messaging. My children and mother have visited us here in Singapore before and they love it here. I love Singapore for its safety. I would never walk alone in India for even a few minutes but here I feel safe.
I had plans to go back to India for a holiday in January last year. But one week before the trip, I fell sick. I was giddy and was not able to walk or work. My husband had returned to India so I was alone. My friends called an ambulance for me. At the hospital I prayed and prayed—I so badly wanted to go home. After I was discharged, I was not completely well enough to go back to work. My friend in KKMC cooked meals for me and delivered them to me for one week. God answered my prayer and I was able to go back.
I would say I was just a Christian by name before I came to Singapore. But now, I go to God in prayer and tell him about my difficulties, and I feel God’s peace and comfort. These situations make me spiritually close to God. I know my God can help me. If you have no difficulties you don’t grow close to God, right?