Happenings, News

Methodist hospice volunteer gets award

Mr David Row receiving his award from Mr Abdullah Tarmugi, the Minister for Community
Development and Sports. — MHF picture.

MR DAVID ROW, 68, a volunteer with the Methodist Hospice Fellowship (MHF), has been ministering to people suffering from life-threatening illnesses since 1986.

And Mr Row, a member of Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church who retired as a teacher 14 years ago, is still as dedicated and committed as ever to the hospice movement and the MHF.

He was recently presented with a Merit Award, Active Senior Citizen of the Year. The award is a testimony of his active and tireless contribution to hospice care in Singapore.

He was one of three people who were presented with the award on Nov 18 last year. The other two are Madam Low Bee Tin, 63, and Mr Lee Soon Sum, 83.

A group of non-profit organisations, grassroots bodies and agencies came up with the idea of presenting the first Senior Citizen Awards. The objectives were to honour and recognise older people who continue to lead active lives and who are valued as contributing members of society, and to highlight role models for others to emulate.

More than 100 nominees from various backgrounds were submitted to the organising committee.

The Lord has been gracious in equipping those He has called to serve (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Age has therefore not slowed down Mr Row over the years.

“I have learnt a lot about life just by being there for people who are terminally ill,” he told the media recently.

“There is nothing morbid about death and dying. It is deeply gratifying to know how much you are needed by the patients and their families in their times of need.”

Mr Row’s days are largely determined by the needs of hospice patients and their family members. He sleeps with his pager under his pillow, he said.

“If someone calls, you need to be there for them at that moment,” he said. “It can’t wait till it’s convenient.”

Singaporeans have been urged to prepare for the challenges of the nation’s rapidly ageing population: “Life begins at 60!” and “Stay Active. For Life.” The slogans are aimed at dissociating the myth of being old with being frail and disengaged from society.

This call to be prepared and to serve for the good of others is not new or foreign to Christians.

The Bible provides Christians with several role models. God called many to action during the later part of their lives. To name a few, there was Noah who was 420 years old when he was called to build the ark (Gen 6:3). Moses was 80 when the Lord called him to deliver Israel (Exo 3:4).

This is not to affirm that only the older people are called.

Jesus has warned us to be prepared for His coming (Matt: 25: 1-13; Lk 12: 35-40). Are you prepared to meet our Lord and Creator when He comes regardless of your age? What have you got to show Him? James 2:17 says, ” … faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead”.

In the Methodist Hospice Fellowship, there are many other volunteers who share Mr Row’s passion and level of commitment. We praise God for all the volunteers who have devoted themselves to be instruments in His hands.
Lim Soo Ching is an Executive Officer with the Methodist Welfare Services.