Happenings, News

These women visit MWS home every week for 16 years

Mrs June Cheong (right) and her friends listening to a resident of Bethany Methodist Nursing Home. — Methodist Message picture.

Dedicated … committed … humble

A GROUP of dedicated women, originating from Barker Road Methodist Church, has been visiting residents of a home for the aged and bringing cheer to them every Thursday for the past 16 years.

So modest are they that when Methodist Message wanted to feature them at Bethany Methodist Nursing Home while they were there, they declined to be interviewed initially.

When finally their leader, Mrs June Cheong, 72, gave in, she said: “We just want to share the love of Christ and His saving grace with the residents so that they, too, can receive salvation by believing in the Lord.

“We have been avoiding publicity all these years because I believe that what the right hand does, the left hand need not need to know. We just want to go about doing what we do quietly.”

A spokesman for the Methodist Welfare Services which runs Bethany Home, said that Mrs Cheong and her friends were the only group to have visited the home every week, regularly on Thursday.

Mrs Cheong, a retired social worker, said the group, averaging 12 volunteers now, started out as concerned individuals who wanted to obey God’s commandment of sharing love with others.

She named Mrs Irene Chan, also 72, Mrs Amy Chan and Mrs Mary Chew as some of her “dedicated partners from the pioneering days”.

Mrs Irene Chan, who is the group’s pianist, said with a wide smile: “I play out of tune, but everybody enjoys the music.”

Mrs Cheong said Mrs Chan “is a jewel because with her piano accompaniment we are able to share songs of praise with the residents”. The residents are taught the songs in Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese.

Mrs Cheong, whose group now includes members from a few other churches, said: “We want to befriend the residents of the home because some of them have been abandoned and are very lonely. We are here to interact with them and help them ‘open up’ so that they can be more sociable and can relate with others.”

Every Thursday the women would visit Bethany Methodist Nursing Home and spend two hours with the residents befriending them one-to-one, telling them Bible stories, sharing testimonies, playing percussion instruments with them as a form of therapy and exercise, wheeling those on wheelchairs out of their wards, and helping to feed them.

Mrs Cheong said that all these activities would bring cheer to them, make them feel wanted and boost their self-esteem and confidence.

After every visit, she and her friends would stay behind for lunch and fellowship. “While we come and bring joy to the residents of the home, we also share joy among ourselves and foster even closer ties and love among us.”

The group began visiting the Methodist Home for the Aged at Whampoa in 1986 every Thursday morning. When the residents were moved to the Home for the Aged Sick at St George’s Lane, the group continued to visit them.

“Today, my friends and I still find it a joy to come to Bethany Home to be with the residents now that the two homes have been closed down and the residents have been transferred to Bethany,” said a beaming Mrs Cheong, who added: “I am very happy that my friends and I can still be used by the Lord.”

She said “life takes on new meaning when we share”.

“All my friends in the group are of one mind – we are committed to bringing cheer to the residents of the home and more importantly, to bringing Jesus Christ into their lives so that they will have peace, joy and salvation.”