MWS: Called to love, called to serve

“There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.” – 1 Corinthians 12:6 (NIV).

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE – plausible? For the most part, I think so. While slums and rubbish dumps may not be a part of the Singapore scene, the hard life of Jamal Malik in the Oscar-winning film is paralleled in our clients’ lives.

Would you believe that one person could go through so much hardship?

Methodist Welfare Services’ (MWS) social workers will tell you there is not just one person but many: … mothers who are raising their children single-handedly as their husbands are abusive, alcoholic, in jail, or have criminal records and cannot get or retain jobs, will not pay child support and have families elsewhere. They are lowly educated and therefore have low paying jobs. Can life get any worse? Yes … they are diagnosed with a serious illness.

… fathers who have made mistakes in their youth and now have criminal records. They genuinely want to turn their lives around and be good husbands and fathers but they cannot find or hold down a job because of their past.

Their frustrations lead them to theft or substance abuse and the cycle is repeated.
… children who have lowly-educated parents who cannot help them with their schoolwork or afford tuition classes, or who come from broken or abusive families.

Their parents need to work and there is no one to watch over them during the day,
putting them at risk of going astray.

… an elderly man in a nursing home, sold into slavery as a child in China, would work as a rubber tapper and later a hawker in Singapore. Never married and as he ages, his illnesses multiply and his meagre savings are depleted.

… a woman who had an abusive childhood and later an abusive marriage. Her children go through the same cycle. Relationships between mother and children are strained and she is living on the streets as she has no money and nowhere to go.

All these are true cases seen by MWS social workers. So what should we do? We are called to imitate Christ in our lives – not just through preaching, but also walking among the downtrodden, serving them. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV) says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering
God’s grace in its various forms.”

While trained staff at the MWS centres provide specialised services to help their clients – counselling, linking up with community resources, providing social rehabilitation, nursing and medical care – there are other areas in which we can all respond to our Christian calling to demonstrate God’s grace and love:

• Sharing our knowledge and talents with children through tuition, dance or craft, • Sponsoring a child’s or elderly person’s fees at MWS centres,
• Providing food or grocery vouchers to families in need,
• Providing educational bursaries to needy students,
• Visiting regularly and befriending the elderly,
• Organising activities for children or the elderly to keep them engaged,
• Giving comfort and dignity to the dying, and supporting their caregivers.

These are just some of the opportunities which are available at MWS’ centres and outreach. It is our prayer that more people will be involved in this ministry by giving their time, money and talents. And “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ” – Matthew 25:40 (NIV).

The MWS will be visiting churches on the designated MWS and Social Concerns Sunday. As we focus on social concerns this month, we pray that the Lord will open your eyes and heart to love and serve.

To get involved in MWS’ ministry to the needy, call 6478-4700, email Volunteer@mws.org.sg or visit www.mws.org.sg

Mylene Koh is the Manager (Communications) of the Methodist Welfare Services.



Have faith, learn from Habakkuk

GOD, why? Why is there so much injustice in this world? Where is God? Why try to be good when everyone today is bad? How can I face the future?

These are the questions Habakkuk struggled with. They remain the struggles faced by those who live in a world of violence, injustice and suffering today.

To help you understand Habakkuk’s cries and struggles with faith, and learn something of the character of prayer, the call to patience and the commitment to praise, Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church will hold a seminar at its level 4 sanctuary at 299 Upper Paya Lebar Road on May 30 from 2.30 pm to 6 pm.

The seminar will be conducted by the Rev Dr Gordon Wong, the Bishop William F. Oldham Professor of Old Testament at Trinity Theological College and an ordained minister of The Methodist Church in Singapore.

He has titled his talk “God, Why?”, which is also the title of one of his recent books (see Book Review, Methodist Message February 2009, p.15).

Those interested in attending the seminar should register now by calling tel: 6286-7243.

Alternatively email: plcmc@singnet.com.sg Admission is free.