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Pastoral 2013

A Pastoral Call For More Prayer

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My beloved fellow Gethsemaneans,

A praying church is always a great encouragement to its preachers. The prayers of the church reinforce the preachers in their ministerial tasks. All the struggles and strains of ministry are greatly helped when the church rallies behind its preachers with ardent prayers. Appreciating the prayers of the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul wrote, “Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf” (2 Corinthians 1:11). Christians’ prayers are the minister’s help.

The original word for “helping together” implies very earnest work. Some people’s prayers have no work in them. Melancthon, a Reformation preacher, derived great comfort from the information that certain poor weavers, woman and children had met together to pray for the Reformation. It was not Luther’s prayers only, but also the prayers of thousands of poor persons, that made the Reformation what it was.

I too rejoice in having a prayerful church that helps me with prayer. But I crave even greater zeal and consecration for our church to labour in prayer. I was full of joy and thanksgiving that a good number of brethren gathered last Lord’s Day at 9.15 am to pray. They came early and cheerfully, having heard my exhortation to the church to gather to pray for the upcoming special events of our church’s Silver Jubilee.

We must earnestly pray that the Lord would empower us to extend the kingdom of His dear Son through the evangelistic meeting, lectures on the doctrine of the church, and thanksgiving service and dinner in the month of March. Such a petition, fervently presented, is certainly pleasing to the Lord. But be mindful that you prove the sincerity of your prayer by labouring to promote the Lord’s glory.

The church which is in prayer acknowledges Christ as her Head. The prayer of the church expresses her reverence and submission to the Lord. It also exhibits her confidence and reliance on the Lord. The prayer of the church also confesses God as the giver of every good and perfect gift, even the salvation of souls.

O let it be a common thing in our church that our heads are readily bowed in reverence, our knees are bent in humbleness and our eyes are lifted up to behold the glory of the Lord. I trust that more people will come to pray on Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights. Let us pray that this year, each of us will be holy, humble, zealous and patient. Let us pray for a closer communion with the Lord.

 

 

Testimonies

 

Sometime in November 2012, a bad flu tormented me for several days. As the symptoms were not grave, I self-medicated by popping Panadol pills, hoping the flu would just go away by itself. Unfortunately, my seemingly minor ailment subsequently turned into a nightmare. I began coughing unceasingly for several days. I never had such a severe after-flu irritation before. And yet I still dismissed the endless coughing as a harmless nuisance. The event that followed proved me dead wrong.

November 28, 2012 was a frightful date. My coughing turned violent and continued for almost 10 minutes until I could not breathe. I struggled very hard for several seconds but still could not draw air into my nose and mouth. I knew I would be gone if this situation continued for another minute or so. Even if I did not pass on, my brain could have been severely damaged.

In desperation, I prayed to the Lord for deliverance. I pleaded with Him not to take me away while no one was at home and before my baptism at Gethsemane B-P Church in December. My sudden demise would certainly give a big scare to my husband, James, when he returned home that evening. During those critical seconds of my fight for breath, a thought occurred to me that I should drink some water. Unhesitatingly, I stumbled to the kitchen and took a gulp of water. My struggle for air began to ease. Gradually, I resumed breathing but was still very weak. I wanted to call an ambulance to fetch me to Changi General Hospital but was too weak to do so.

After waiting for about 5 minutes, I regained enough strength to call James to rush home to take me to the hospital. I had since recovered. Praise God for restoring my health. Life is extremely unpredictable. Death can strike anytime and most unexpectedly. I had a close shave. I now understand the agony a dying person goes through while gasping for his or her last few breaths. I thank and give all glory to the Almighty God who had answered my prayer in preserving my life. Without His grace and love, I would not be alive today to tell the story of my brush with death. This incident was illustrated meaningfully in the words of David in Psalm 23:3, 4 – “He restoreth my soul: … Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…”

Judy Chay

 

 

 

Ithank the Lord that the year 2012 has passed and the New Year has come. Thank God for all the blessings, struggles as well as victories, forgiveness and joy. Though we do not know what lies ahead of us, may the Lord be with us this year to help us overcome our struggles, and be with Eric as he prepares to return and finish his studies in FEBC.

Way back in Jan 2005, Eric was about to go back to the Philippines but the dependent pass for which I applied many, many times was suddenly approved and a few months later, our PR was likewise approved. Eric said that it was God’s will. Then he went in to FEBC before Bea was born but it was really very difficult for me and I did not agree to it. Out of frustration and immaturity, I even wrote a letter to Pastor that hurt him and his family, for which I had asked for forgiveness.

Azriel came the following year in 2006. It seemed very impossible for him to continue living and we struggled as he went through many major operations and had to stay in the hospital until he was stable. The hospital bill was unthinkable but the church had raised and given more than $15k for Azriel as our Medisave was zero and our pockets were empty. Azriel was delicate, like cotton in my arms and so to protect him, we had to travel by taxi then. Throughout this ordeal, Bea received little attention and I felt sorry for her. However, now I realize that God’s mighty hand was upon Azriel – I remember the last time the doctor told us that he might not be able to walk if he did not undergo spine surgery and so he went through that. Till now, once a year, the doctor checks on him. Thank God that presently, he can run around and kick a ball. Azriel’s story is one that brings tears to me and I am sure, many others. Nonetheless, we also experienced humour when Eric was mistaken to be one of the doctors in KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital because he stayed there most of the time and was seen almost everywhere, in the ward, the operating theatre, the clinics, the pharmacy. He gave instruction to the nurses and even got an offer if he wanted medical training!

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psa 121:1-2). This has been my verse of comfort in all the years of my difficulty.

Eric had a very difficult time; all of us had a very difficult time, and then Pastor took him in to help with the Bible Witness Web Radio. The Web Radio is like a fifth child to him because he spent many sleepless nights trying to finish all the things needed for it to run. Everywhere he went, he would bring his laptop and work… now it has grown and is stable like Azriel and can be passed on to another hand. Eric had difficulty telling Pastor that it was God’s timing for him to go back and study again in FEBC. But we prayed many times about it and he gets the approval from Pastor to return to FEBC after Gethsemane B-P Church’s Silver Jubilee.

I always believe that God’s calling does not apply to the husband only when you are already married, but also to the whole family, especially the wife—otherwise the husband will have a very difficult time serving in the ministry. I told Eric that I have always believed that the husband’s first ministry is his family—if he cannot do that, then his wife and children will suffer, the church ministry will really suffer and he will end up devastated. But when the wife and children are called in to serve likewise, the ministry will flourish and God will bless it. In my early Christian life, I had met a few missionary families in Davao, and I had seen the effects when the wife and children are dragged into the ministry, what has become of them now? The children grew up and were either divorced or raising a child out of wedlock.

When Eric first went in to FEBC, I was not ready for a life of full-time service. But God has been good to our family to slowly and yet surely guide and strengthen our hearts. Now, after many years, I can say that we are ready to let Eric finish the theological study he started and that we will wait on God to send us wherever he wants us if the Lord tarries.

We do not know what will be ahead of us, all we know is God prepares and leads the way for us. Jan 2013 will be my 11th year in Singapore; time flies so fast… the children grow so fast and I will pray everyday that they will serve the Lord and dedicate their lives to the Lord’s work. I hope and pray that they would not waste their years in worldly matters.

Thank you, Pastor, thank you for you have been very supportive of us and I thank God for your patience and kindness. Thanks also to Elder Ng, Aunty Dorothy and family who continually extend their blessings to our family. Thank you everyone—to all our elders and deacons, to all the members of this church, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you for your support and prayers. May the Lord bless and keep us always.

We were supposed to sing a short melodious song during the watchnight service but we were all sick and did not practise. So we greet you all a Blessed New Year 2013 and we thank you for accepting and supporting us in kind and in prayers.

As Christians, our greatest hope and joy will be the coming of our Saviour to take us home and live with Him. So while we still can, we want to dedicate the rest of our life in the service of the king… This is our life verse as a family: Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

Rowena Delina