God Rest Ye Merry Gentlewomen

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlewomen
Jemima Ooi sharing about her refugee work in East Africa

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bone” (Prov 17:22 NKJV)

This was an especially appropriate verse chosen by TRAC WSCS base their Christmas celebrations on in the midst of a long-drawn pandemic.

“Power of a Merry Heart” was held on the afternoon of 11 Dec 2021 (Saturday), with more than 200 ladies in attendance, eager to hear the message of joy and hope. In addition from individuals who had signed in to the online programme, there were two groups from the Oikos Helping Hand in the Philippines.

The time of worship began with two young ladies from Bedok Methodist Church (MC) who sang two lovely songs: “Great is the Measure of Our Father’s Love” and “So You Would Come”.

This was followed by Jemima Ooi’s sharing about “Joy in the Mission Field”. She testified of joy in the midst of abject poverty and suffering in a refugee camp in East Africa where she has spent eight years. Many families who had escaped war lived in squalid tents. While visiting a family, she was badly bitten by fleas and through her discomfort, God spoke to her of His compassion for those who had suffered so much more than flea bites. Their needs were so basic—merely blankets and walls to keep out the chill. Jemima helped build a simple house and with the support of Singapore friends, more than 250 such homes were built. This is what joy is—He is with us, no matter how horrendous our circumstances!

As we prepared our hearts for God’s message, we were serenaded by a team of young musicians from Bedok MC. This was followed by a word game, enjoyed by the ladies as they typed fast and furiously to be the first to answer.

Rev Wendy Tay, Pastor-in-Charge of Fairfield MC, shared God’s Word based on Proverbs 17:22. Joy, gladness and a merry heart is the medicine to heal our physical, mental and spiritual wounds. In contrast, a broken spirit wounds, afflicts and saps our strength. What determines or limits our joy? Are the concerns about family, health, jobs, and the future eating us up?

God tells us that we need not live in such a joy-less state. Some may try putting away negative thoughts but the failure to do so will only cause guilt. We may find temporary happiness in possessions, people or good health. However, the only lasting source of joy is IN THE LORD. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4). Our unchanging Lord Jesus, who is ever-present, promises that on His return, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. God knows what pains and trials we face. But there is hope, for Emmanuel, God with us, has come. This is not head knowledge but a reality He gives to our hearts.

Pastor Wendy shared a well-known photo of a horrifying scene during the Vietnam War in 1972. A young girl, naked and screaming after a napalm attack in her village, is seen running down the road in a Pulitzer Prize-winning image captured by a photographer. The girl, Phan Thị Kim Phúc, survived but was physically and mentally scarred. She was bitter and enraged by the unfairness of life that left her in pain.

In 1982, Kim Phúc read about Jesus. God, who took on human flesh, was mocked, tortured and killed. He understood her pain. As she invited Christ into her life, her inner anguish was released. She learnt to forgive. Her heart was healed. Though she still bears the scars, she experienced peace and now actively advocates for children who are victims of war.

Similarly, God offers us healing. Our dry bones can be replaced by a merry heart. Such joy and gladness cannot be taken away, for the power of the Resurrected Christ is the key to a merry heart. Pastor Wendy invited those who have yet to put their trust in Jesus to commit their lives to Him.

With the words of encouragement and gladness ringing in our ears, TRAC WSCS President Neo Lay Tin closed the session, thanking all who attended.

Remember, Christ, our Saviour

Was born on Christmas day…

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy,

O tidings of comfort and joy.

“Jemina Ooi’s sharing on her mission in East Africa surely must have touched many hearts.”

—Pauline Yeo, Paya Lebar MC


“This virtual event is honestly one of the best I’ve attended because I could see that it was specially crafted with so much joy, fun and God’s presence!”

—Theodora Ho, Bedok MC

A group joining the TRAC WSCS Christmas celebrations from the Philippines
Rev Wendy Tay
New home for refugee family
Original refugee shelter

Text and photos courtesy of TRAC WSCS