Features, Highlights

Here, for a Purpose

MGS Celebrates 135 Years

Methodist Girls’ School celebrates her 135th anniversary this year. Commemorating Founder’s Day on 25 July, the school gives glory to God for his abundant love, grace and faithfulness over the years, which have empowered generations of girls to embrace and live out the school motto To Master—To Master, To Grow and To Serve.

The school’s theme for 2022—‘Here, For a Purpose’—brings the MGS community together to reflect on her shared ethos and values that have enabled the school to continue realising the vision and mission of founder Miss Sophia Blackmore, who, among her many areas of service, dedicated a significant part of her life to education for girls. In the same spirit, the school has launched MGServes, a movement to bless others through acts of service. MGServes carries the torch of Miss Sophia Blackmore, reflecting her drive and zeal to contribute positively to the community.

We speak with three alumnae of the school who have each found their purpose in the work they do, and are drawing strength from God to serve and enrich the lives of others. They reflect on their faith and beliefs shaped by the education at MGS, which anchors them in a life of giving and service across diverse sectors, contributing meaningfully to Singapore and beyond.

Making student well-being a priority

Mrs Brenda Ow, Year Head (Middle Primary), Methodist Girls’ School
MGS Class of 1995

I accepted Christ in Secondary 1 as a student in MGS. Through chapel and daily devotions, and the testimonies of teachers and friends, I grew in my faith. MGS is like a second family to me, providing a safe environment where we are valued for who we are.

As a teacher in MGS, the well-being of every child in the school is important to me, as is their acquisition of life-skills. It matters to me that a child should look forward to coming to school every day, feeling happy and secure in the knowledge that there is a trustworthy adult here whom they can turn to, for this will contribute positively to their academic learning. It is heartening to see the children beam when I can identify them by name, or remember them from a previous encounter.

Our theme verse Romans 8:28 tells us that God has a plan for each of us and we will not understand how everything that we go through adds on to the puzzle that God has created. With each challenge that we face, it may not make sense or seem really daunting when we are going through it, but each of these challenges has a purpose, whether it is to draw us closer to God, shape our character, or to acquire skills that will prepare us for other things God has planned for us.

Falling back on this bigger sense of purpose gives me the strength to do the work that I do, especially when fatigue sets in or challenges are met.

Shaping special lives for significance

Ms Esther Kwan, Principal of Grace Orchard School
MGS Class of 1996

Although I had a brother with special needs, working in special education was farthest from my mind. I did not choose to embark on this path, but God placed me here.

At Grace Orchard School—a special education school that serves students aged 7-18 years old with mild intellectual disability, including those with autism—I have been able to invest in lives for over 16 years in various capacities. We desire for those with disabilities to have access to life’s opportunities. Our aim, enshrined in our school mission statement is to shape special lives for significance where they are rooted in values, prepared for life and empowered to make a difference.

Students, parents, and caregivers who step through our school doors come very broken, both physically as well as mentally. Some have been through challenges that I cannot even fathom, others are just so beaten down from all the grieving and hurt, yet God reminds me that each of them is created by him and he makes no mistakes. Therefore, to love them as he does will give them hope. My prayer is that by providing them a glimpse of this hope through the school, they will desire for the greater hope that is found in knowing Christ.

Most days I look at the awesome responsibility that I have and it overwhelms me. Many stories of grace have helped me to rejoice even through the tough days and rough seasons. But seeing the students blossom (the sparkle in the eyes when they do something independently for the first time; doing things confidently that they never thought possible before) and grow (making good choices; holding jobs that they are proud to be doing; raising families) keeps me going.

The important phrase in our theme verse Romans 8:28 is “those who love God”—a relationship with Christ gives one a very different worldview. It allows one to live with uncertainty, ambiguity, and trials, because of the confidence that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5). There have been many challenges along the way, yet in each of them, I have tasted his goodness and faithfulness and that gives me the confidence to say that “all things will work together for good”, the good that God desires and God knows.

Rebuilding communities affected by war

Ms Jemima Ooi, Missionary to East Africa
MGS Class of 2003

I have worked as a missionary for 10 years in East Africa (Congo, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda), rebuilding communities affected by war. My ministry focuses on refugees, genocide survivors, and families living in active conflict-zones. Through close partnership with local leaders, we create access to education, food security, agriculture, housing for refugees, small businesses and micro-financing.

I became a missionary because God shared his heart for the broken and forsaken with me. His love makes me whole, and I knew it could do the same for others. It’s beautiful beholding our refugees coming alive in the deep-seated knowledge that they are loved and seen by God. This brings my heart great joy.

Working in war-afflicted places has allowed me to witness God’s movement amid suffering. How he is close to the broken-hearted, binding wounds, restoring hearts, and providing for the destitute. Many people ask how I can still be joyful after working years in these “hard places”, but what I’ve seen gives me great hope in life. I have seen time and time again, the majesty of our Good Shepherd, attuned to the cries of his sheep, gently leading them back to life.

Romans 8:28 is a powerful verse. Instead of retreating into cocoons, wary of things beyond our control, this verse allows us to live fully for God.

Jesus said, “my food is to do the will of my father”. Knowing that I’m doing what he’s asking of me at every juncture, is deeply nourishing to my heart. I may not be the most ambitious, but I do know that I serve a big God who does unimaginable feats, and he has dreams enough for the both of us! That has become my simple purpose in life, to walk with God every day of my life. I believe that if we walk with our Maker, we won’t miss the purposes he has created us for.

Content by the Methodist Girls’ School Comms team