architectural-tools

Testimony – From a place of pride

Josiah Ye and his family (parents and younger brother) have been a part of FGA since he was a child.  Josiah serves this church community as a vocalist on the worship team and as a teacher in Sparks ministry. His testimony is one that will resound with many of us who have battled the unnamed idols in our lives. Here is his story. 

 

Significance

When I was younger I was always slightly envious of those who came to church as non-believers. I envied the Damascus Road experience all of them seemed to have gone through; an intimate and transformative experience, coupled with the conscious choice each and every one of them made to follow Jesus. It was a beautiful thing to observe, yet remained elusive to me.

Despite having had the privilege of growing up in this community, I’ve always felt I was missing something these people had. Years of sunday school and youth service had taught me little more than ‘the right answers’ and a set of rules we had to follow.

My social experiences in church had also left me very jaded; my interests and conversations were completely different from most of the people my age, I was always the odd one out socially, never feeling like I really belonged or fit in.

It was in the midst of this that I began my search for significance and meaning. If I wasn’t going to find it it socially, then I was going to find it in achievements. And what better achievement than making the world a better place, and leaving a legacy.

They say that the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and in my search for significance I began to picture the many possible ways I could make the world the better place through my own means. At the end of each scenario, my answer was always the same: I needed more power, and I needed to be in a position of authority.

God wasn’t never in the picture. Unbeknownst to me, significance had become God and pride had taken over.

And what an deceptive animal Pride is. It drove me to want to be better than everyone else, I studied hard for my exams because I needed to do better, because if I were better, perhaps I was more significant, perhaps I could make a bigger difference in the future. I began to try to elevate myself into leadership positions just so I could feel more important.

This stuck with me from secondary education all the way to the first few years of university.

But this year, God brought clarity and focus to my life through a series of events.

Double Crisis

It was my fifth year in my Architecture program and I was nearing the end of my thesis preparation.. As any prudent fresh-grad-to-be would have, I had sent out my resumes hoping to secure a job before I graduated. The only response I got was from the company I had interned at previously, which offered me a position, but at a rate that lower than the industry standard.

So I was in a dilemma; should I take the job, as low as the remuneration was, or should I send out another round of resumes after my thesis was over, which meant competing with the rest of the cohort who would be doing the same.

At this point another company got back to me requesting an interview; this was a company I had never heard of or seriously considered. At this point I was already resigned to accepting the only offer I had, and was on the verge of cancelling the interview, but a voice inside me kept saying, “go for it, even if you fail, it’s a good learning experience.”

So I went for that interview, and during that interview everything just seemed to fall into place; they had specific requirements that they needed met, and I happened to fulfill all of them. And upon hearing that I already had an offer of employment, they offered me a job on the spot. I was completely stunned as I left their office that day, and as I walked out into the late afternoon sun, my heart was filled with another type of warmth, and I just knew I had just received a gift.

But there was more to come.

2 weeks later I did unexpectedly badly for my final thesis presentation. It was so bad I knew that there was a very real possibility of me failing. If I did, not only would it mean repeating the entire year, but my job offer would be rescinded as well. To make matters worse, my results were due at noon the very day I was to start work, which meant that my first day of work could very well be my last.

This uncertainty hounded me for weeks after and I was unable to do anything but wait. I had difficulty thinking about anything else and was living in a state of anxiety and worry.

A Daily Habit

It was around this time in April, that our DE group hit the chapter on Quiet Time. As someone who was taught the importance of Quiet Time the old school way, quiet time to me when I was a young boy was simply a motion we had to go through to appease our mother so we could get her blessing to use the computer.

I guess then it was no surprise that I grew up seeing quiet time as a form of transaction; we ‘spend time’ with God, and in turn, we get his favour and blessing.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that spending time with the Lord daily actually pleased him. Something in me shifted when I began to understand that the God of the universe didn’t just see me as an errant child coming to him every now and then to ask for a favour, but that spending time with an insignificant person such as me actually pleased him.

And so I made a decision. I decided that if spending time with God everyday would make him glad, it would be 20 minutes well spent. So I began a very basic daily routine reading the Daily Bread Devotionals every day, and to make up for my terrible memory I decided to start journaling as well.

The very first week I started, God sent verses of encouragement every time I read. I begin to enjoy these everyday meetings with God, and ended each time feeling a little more joyful and excited. It was an incredible experience and gradually I began to let go of my anxiety and worry to focus on the upcoming Cool Camp preparations.

Work

Cool Camp came and went, and it was an incredible experience for all involved – from the teachers to the volunteers to the children and even the parents, I believe each and every one of them took home a little something special from God that camp.

And now, I was about to enter a new season; one that would likely occupy me for the next 30 years – work. To my great relief, God was merciful and I found out eventually that I was had been given a borderline grade for my thesis, which thankfully meant I still had my job.

The first two months of work was tough but enriching. Architecture was very demanding in both time and mental capacity, and this was an opportunity for me to begin to focus and prioritise what really mattered to me. But the one thing that I wasn’t willing to compromise was my daily meetings with God; on especially trying days, these daily meetings were what got me through.

Wisdom & Direction

As God began to minister to me slowly but surely, I began to ask for wisdom. In a era of post truth and rampant subjectivism I wanted to be able to make right choices that would please and give glory to God.

God honored my request, responded with a verse (Psalms 90: 12) and also began to gradually reveal to me what I needed to do this season. He made me realise that effective change wasn’t the result forcing policies or statues onto people, but that it begins through loving, caring and building deep relationships with others.

This was such a revelation to me I had to take a week to completely realign my thinking. “Now you know what you need to do, so go do it.” God said.

Never having to do it so intentionally before, it was a really really difficult thing to start; it became so evident to me how much pride had seeped into my life; I was so unaware that so much of what I did I treated as a transaction or to appear better/smarter than everyone else. But pride has no place in a healthy relationship and I had to continually assess my heart and every action to determine if I was doing something out of love, or out of a self-serving motive. I had to learn a heart of humility – the key to every successful relationship.

It was a challenge every single day. Some days my mind gets so caught up with whether or I’m truly doing what I do out of that same love that Jesus to die for us, or if I was just going through the motions. What does it even mean to love? Do I need to feel it before I do it?

I found the answers in several books. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman for instance. In other books, certain quotes stuck in my mind.

“Do not waste time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. – Philippians 2: 3

So this is where I am today, and I daresay I still have quite a ways to go before I can call myself pride-free. I think the one biggest takeaway I’ve learned along the way, is that God cares more about who you are than what you can do or where you’re positioned. God can use anyone, as long as they are teachable and willing to be led, and real, effective change can only be had when you are willing to humble yourself to accept it.

That’s the only way we can become who we’re meant to be. And the day we all become who God has meant for us to be. Well, I daresay the world will definitely be a better place then.

 

MargaretBaptism

Baptism Testimony by Margaret Lim

My name is Margaret Lim and I had recently been baptised in water, thanks to the wonderful FGA team that made it possible. So full is my heart that I am compelled to share my story.

My first encounter with Christianity was in Junior College. Someone came to share the good news with me and I gladly accepted. I had a history of back problems since 12 years old when I fell the wrong way during a school sport’s event and fractured my spine. I went through a major spinal cord surgery and recovered fully after a long period of hospitalisation. From then on, going in and out of hospital was part and parcel of my life, so I knew how fragile life was and felt the need to find my faith.

In my early 20s, coming home after a posting in the US, unfortunately, my back problem came back to haunt me and it changed my life forever. This time round, after several surgeries, I gradually lost the ability to walk. My world was thrown into chaos. Many years of pain, suffering, disappointment and anger followed. No matter what I did, there was little improvement in my condition. From the waist down, I have absolutely no control of my body. I was bitter and angry and for the longest time struggled to make sense why did all this happen. Why did God permit all this suffering? Is He even there?

It’s also through those darkest moments in my life, that I could feel God slowly changing my heart. It was a time of ploughing, sowing, watering and waiting in my life. Even though externally my condition stayed the same, God had instilled in me a deep desire to seek Him, to go to Him in full dependence – every day, every moment. He sent people to journey with me as I cope through the period of pain – physically, mentally and emotionally.

There are days that I wake up and I tell God I cannot do this. I just don’t have the strength to face the day. God reminded me of His word in 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. I choose to walk in faith every day knowing that God will see me through all the challenges. And many times, the more challenging the situation, the more I learn to simply trust Him, the more God shows me His perfect plan and his perfect power.

I had certainly taken a long time to decide on baptism, but after all the trials and tribulations, I had finally come to understand that I am also very blessed. With this water baptism, I want to commit to the Lord and declare to everyone that I am His.

I know God wants me to share this message. Life is never perfect and sometimes things happen that make us question our faith and our existence. Don’t give up, stay the course. And let God in. Although I cannot walk, God has sustained everything and make everything I can ever imagine good – a loving family, a wonderful husband, supportive friends, a job that I love, and I trust that He will use this broken vessel to water.

I am proud to be a disciple of Christ and proud to be part of this FGA family!

Dee

Opened Eyes, Open Hearts

Dee Sherwin is a new believer and a part of the FGA family. She went on her first mission trip to Bethesda Batam in July, and she shares her experience here. She hopes this testimony will encourages more of us to obey the call to be sent out, like Dee and her friends did. 

It was a wonderful and amazing weekend for some of us on 21-22 July 2018, but especially for me, because this short mission trip has opened up my heart to hear God and clarify certain doubts about who He is and how He works through broken vessels like us. 

 I have only been saved by the Lord recently, on the 21st of February, and since then my journey of knowing and understanding the Lord’s work has been quite an interesting one, with mountains and valleys.

 The trip to Batam, Indonesia was definitely a mountaintop moment, where we were given a chance to serve together and show God’s love to the children at the Bethesda Children’s Orphanage. There were about 42 children living there.

On our first day of the trip, we were divided into 3 teams – the kitchen team, the children team and the youth team. We were all allocated different tasks to speak God’s word & demonstrate His love to them. We were given an opportunity to tell stories, share our testimonies and talk about God’s great love to his children. We also had an amazing dinner cooked by our team and we were able to spend some time just in warm fellowship, and got to know the children better. 

I had an amazing time, filled with awe at our great God for giving me this opportunity to serve these kids with His unfailing love. Being born into another faith, it was a difficult journey for me especially when I accepted Christ as my saviour. Being on this mission trip has also taught me to open up my heart to embrace the identity issues I faced with my new faith. In Batam, I felt more accepted as we all looked the same and no stereotypes were forced on us just because we were of another faith.  This is something that I’ve always struggled with in Singapore, often having to face the judgment of others. I was thankful that I got to experience God and His love without those stereotypes laid on me. 

 On the second day, we had the opportunity to experience Sunday service at a wonderful church in Batam. The atmosphere during  worship was incredible. And you can sense God’s love surrounding us as we worshipped loudly with incredible energy.

 We then headed for a Sunday school for youth, where Elder Woon conducted a small class for the youths, addressing the impact walking with Jesus can have on their  life choices. I was really glad that I was able to join in for this class! My biggest takeaway was that in life, we have choices to make and those choices are better if it comes from the Father, and fits in within His will.

Although I was sad when the mission trip had ended, I know it won’t be the last. I was honoured that I’d been given this chance by the Lord to share the Word and for showing me what my life actually means.

 I‘ve also learnt during this trip, that we should always trust God no matter what kind of situation we are in, as He knows the best for us. I thank God for opening up my heart and answering the questions I had, allaying my doubts and uncertainty. I thank God for my wonderful team mates who were constantly encouraging me during this journey to know the Lord better. And lastly, thank you FGA for sending us to do the work of the Lord!

2 Thessalonians 1:11
To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 

 

Amen.

 

waterimage

Healing Revealed In A Dream – A testimony

Rebecca Hum is a partner of FG and attends a life group for young women. This is her testimony of God’s miraculous healing power and His comforting love for us.

I was struck with a strange ailment on the 3rd day of CNY (19th of Feb). My left ankle started swelling and I had tremendous difficulty walking with a swollen ankle, barely able to exert pressure on my foot. It was my first time experiencing such swelling that occurred without any trauma or stress to the ankle.
Prior to the swelling, I was having rather bad muscle tension at my hip and back which GPs had no concrete answers to. They prescribed muscle relaxants and chalked it up to my rigorous exercise regime.

Right after CNY, I went to see my regular GP and she suspected that it was gout and ran a blood test. For more than a week before the blood test results were out, the swelling did not subside and had started to affect the right ankle. I was in much distress as I could not exercise at all and was eager for a diagnosis to the strange condition of my physical health. I was greatly dependent on anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain.

When the blood test results were out, there was no indication of gout, SLE or Rheumatoid Arthritis. Just a minor sign of infection but there was no indication of the source of infection.
Due to my family’s history of auto-immune related diseases, I was referred to see a rheumatologist in TTSH. Further blood tests was done and, proved inconclusive as the results were normal, just a sign of infection detected. I was then prescribed with a non-steroidal medication that addressed the swelling of my ankles, and the pain and swelling subsided. However there was still an infection detected in my blood test result on the 2nd consult. There are side effects to taking this medication and I had to review on the effect the medication has on my body as I would likely be taking it long term to keep my condition under control.

One night on the 24th of April, 1 week before my 3rd appointment with the doctor to follow up on my condition, I had a dream. In my dream, my back was covered with black leeches. I felt no fear in that dream despite leeches looking black, slimy and kind of disgusting.

When I woke up, I was curious and decided to do an Internet search on what it meant to dream of leeches. My initial search result said it indicated that something was sapping my energy. That didn’t feel quite right, so I decided to share this with a close friend who was journeying with me on this walk with God. She told me to pray about it. One day, as I was just praying to God about this, I felt led to search “the medical use of leeches”. One of the websites revealed that, “Since the time of ancient Egypt, leeches have been used in medicine to treat nervous system abnormalities, dental problems, skin diseases, and infections. Today, they’re mostly used in plastic surgery and other microsurgery.” At that moment, I knew in my spirit that I am completely healed.

At my 3rd consultation with the specialist, my blood test results were fine and there was no sign of infection detected! Hallelujah! God had healed me miraculously.
When I shared this to most believers, their immediate response is “God healed you in your dream!”. Ever since Elder Charles gave his sermon on “I dream a dream” on the 10th of March 2018, God has been giving me dreams.

I hope this testimony will encourage you to have faith in a God who is so personal – yes, he is with each one of us. I was in great distress without an answer to my situation; I had doubts and worries about my health condition as what I was going through was abnormal for a person my age. In my struggles within my inner life and the anxieties, I felt that God comforted me with His peace that this episode will pass., that I will not be under the generational curse of the conditions linked to my predecessors. God is kind and faithful, He forgave my sins and gave me a miracle healing. I hope you are encouraged to seek God for the healing you need regardless of the circumstance you are in, even if it makes no sense rationally, seek the answer in the Almighty one.

Also, may this testimony encourage you to ask God to speak to us through dreams as it says in Job 33:14.
“For God does speak—now one way, now another—though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds”.

11990582_492800687555774_3987550201141937762_n

Preparing For Your First Mission Trip

I took my first missions trip when I was 20 years old. I’d always heard about missionaries and missions trips before but had never been on one myself. The life of a missionary was pretty fascinating to me.

The memories are foggy, but I can vaguely remember jumping on a bus with my church on a 7 hour road trip to serve an orphanage in Tecate, Mexico for one week. Our mission? To do something as simple as supporting the long term missionaries there, helping them build a new roof over their kitchen, praying for the sick and inviting those in the community for a special Jesus Film night. What we did seemed insignificant at time…but looking back now, the power of a group of people sacrificing their summer vacations to serve those in need was priceless.

Nothing really could prepare me for the experience I was about to have though. The amount of poverty I was exposed to was alarming, and an environment of great need was not something I had ever seen before in all my years of growing up in my comfortable American suburban life. The trip grew my heart for those less privileged, and drew me closer to God’s heart for the nations. I remember a group of us praying for a blind man to be healed and seeing Jesus touch his life. I remember seeing one of my backslidden teammates have a powerful encounter with Jesus on the trip, leading him to radically rededicate his life to Jesus. The trip was an eye opening trip for me, and showed me that the world was greater than my own, and its needs far greater reaching than what any well meaning group of people could ever provide for. While some of the most meaningful moments were the simplest moments, the trip left me wondering if I could do more.

Since this trip the Lord has grown my heart for missions tremendously and called my husband and I to a lifelong calling to missions. Throughout the years I’ve been on various “missions” trips (long and short) and each one has been different from the last. Each trip has taught me something new each time.  “Christian mission” is the act of going into a different culture other than our own, and sharing the good news of Jesus with others.  It was modelled to us through His very life: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God sent Jesus into our world so that we could hear the good news.

Missions is not something we do because it’s sounds like a nice thing to do. As one of the last things Jesus said while here on earth, Jesus actually commands us to go into all the world to make disciples of the nations. (Matthew 28:19, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”)

So if you’re planning on going on a missions trip soon, what are some good ways to prepare for a missions trip?

1) Prayer: It’s important to root everything we do in prayer. Our goal as Christians on this earth is to be extensions of Jesus, to be His hands and feet to those around us. This is no less true when we go on missions trips. We want to reflect Jesus. As short term missionaries, we are representatives of Jesus…so it’s a good idea to represent Him well.

How do we represent Him if we don’t communicate with Him first about what He wants to do on the trip and what He wants reflected?  John 5:19 says “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” If we want to be like Jesus to the people we are reaching, we have to tune into His wavelength.

Spend time preparing your heart, and hearing His heart. Ask God what He wants to do on this trip. How does He see this trip? Ask for His eyes. Is there a word He’s given you about what this trip means for you, or a word you will be sharing with the people you will be meeting? Is there a name, or a face He’s highlighting to you of someone you are to meet? Matthew 7:11 says “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” If we ask the Lord to speak to us and whisper His desires and plans to us, His desire is to come through and speak to us.

2) Go with a humble, teachable heart:

Learn about the culture: We don’t have to be able to speak the same language to communicate with others of a different culture, but we can certainly take time to learn about their culture before embarking on our journey. Over the years I’ve found that one of the best ways to connect with locals is to show them we are genuinely interested in their culture and that we want to respect it. Nothing is more off putting than having foreigners come in to your culture with a proud “we know better than you” or “our culture is better than yours” mindset. I’ve noticed this instantly close doors to peoples’ hearts. In order for people to want to receive anything you have to say, build bridges, not islands.

Before we can embrace any culture, we have to learn about it. Take some time to read up about the culture you will be visiting in advance. Just because something is okay to do in our culture, doesn’t mean we can assume it is okay to do in the next culture we will be visiting. For example, while women wearing shorts and tank tops might be acceptable in this country, in another country, wearing these same clothes may give off the wrong impression to men. Women going out past a certain time period at night may be misconstrued as impious. Handing money to a cashier with the left hand instead of the right hand may be acceptable in this country, but totally offensive in the next. Taking time to learn basic customs, basic words, and proper behaviour/greetings can go a long way. It can reveal your desire to want embrace their culture, which in turn, can open up amazing doors to share the gospel.

Take time to sit with the locals, smile at them, share a meal together and allow Jesus’ heart to shine through you.

Submit to leadership. No matter how much you think you might know better, always choose a posture of humility and yield to your team leaders or long term missions team on the ground. After all, they have gone through the training necessary to prepare them for this trip, or lifestyle of missions if they are long terms. They may be more familiar with the people group you are visiting from the training received or their extensive time they have spent there, and may be aware of issues with the locals or government you may not be aware of. This is for your own safety, and also so that the mission is not compromised. I have seen compromised missions come in various forms…but ultimately some of these can be avoided just by simply submitting to leadership.

3) Have healthy expectations: Sometimes it’s easy to have big expectations for the entire village to get delivered, healed and saved, after a 1-week trip. I pray that these kinds of breakthroughs happen every trip, but the reality is, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes God just wants to use us to be the seed sower. From John 4:38, “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor…” we see that God sends some to be sowers, and some to be reapers. It’s okay if your trip isn’t a reaping trip. Sowers are just as important as reapers are!

It’s a really good thing to desire and pray for transformational things to happen in a community, but oftentimes, these kinds of things take time. That’s why our church strategically partners up with long term missionaries who can carry on the fire our missions trips have helped catalyse. It’s good to keep our expectations in check so that when grand things don’t seem to be happening, our worlds are not “wrecked.” I’ve been on trips where I went with low expectations – because I had no grid for what “should” happen on a missions trip – and came out sweetly surprised. I’ve also been on a trip where I expected grand things to happen and was sorely disappointed when those things did not work out as planned. No matter what happens in the end, God works beyond our human limitations. God’s story for the people you will be reaching is so much grander than what you could ever hope and imagine. He just asks us to be obedient and “go!”

As we go on missions, let’s be prayerful, humble, teachable, expectant people who reflect the love of Jesus!

IMG_0869

#iamadisciple – Pastor Dodi Togatorol

FGA Surabaya Life Group - the ongoing journey, by Pastor Dodi:

About the Life Group: "My Life Group comprises students who come from different tribes in Indonesia such as Irian Jaya [PAPUA], Ambon, Flofes, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Java, Roger, and Sumba. These students are always busy with their assignments, and so I have to constantly adjust meeting times to suit them in such a way that our meetings do not disrupt their study times."

The biggest challenge about starting a church plant: "Teaching them the Bible in a simple way, because they have not much knowledge of the Bible despite coming from Christian families. Next would be enlightening them on the importance of discipleship and how to evangelise to the community around them."

What I love most about my work: "This opportunity gives me a chance to mix with a different culture and age group from my own, and the biggest challenge in my relationship with them is to learn to recognise their needs in spite of the difference. Through this opportunity, God shapes my character too." How God shapes my character: "God shows me that how to love people who are different from who I am, and to guide them as disciples. Discipleship does not mean that God sends us people who are exactly like us. Also, God has taught me how to be a good shepherd, just like He is to me."
FGAworship

THROWBACK: 5 Worship Songs From The Pre-21st Century Era That We Still Love

We live in an age of worship jams that comprise elements of contemporary rock, indie, and EDM. Worship lyrics can range from the deeply introspective and laced with story-telling, to the simple yet personal and filled with free worship that ministers to our hearts so directly that makes us go, “Oh wow, that’s how I feel!”.

But hey, millennials; did you know that there was an era of music that existed before the days of Hillsong, Taya Smith, Kim Walker-Smith, and Kari Jobe? Sure, they might sound vastly different from the types of songs we sing at church today, but they are equally meaningful and easy to sing along to - which is the point, right? Have a listen - perhaps you might find some of these familiar from Sunday School days…

If you’re from a generation that finds these tunes nostalgic, good news: you’ll be able to worship to some of them this Sunday at our Generations Weekend service! That’s right, our worship team has been practicing an amazing set for the service that will honour all generations, especially the ones that have led us through the years.

Generations Weekend service begins at 9.30am this Sunday, 23 June. Doors open at 9.15am. Be sure to come early because it’s going to be a combined English service. We know it’s gonna be lit!

1. From The Rising Of The Sun -

 2. Come Bless The Lord - 

 3. The Trees of The Field - 

4. He Is The King of Kings - 

5. I Will Celebrate - 

2017-07-05-PHOTO-00000170

Reaching Youth In Surabaya – Mission Trip Report

In June, I joined a small team to visit the home church of Pastor Dody and his family in Surabaya. Pastor Dody was commissioned by our church to lead the FGA Surabaya church plant since 2016. Our purpose for that trip was to help educate and equip the youth attendees of this church with knowledge about God and the Bible, through the Alpha curriculum. These sessions with the youth spanned over 4 nights.

Upon meeting these young people, I was blown away with their wealth of questions about the faith. Most of them had grown up in Christian homes but never really had a personal relationship with God. They are not very different from the youth we know back at home, though – they are smart, well-educated, and career-driven.

During the sessions, our team and Pastor Dody answered as many questions as possible about the faith, who God is, why they should read the Bible as their source for the truth of God’s Word, and why being in a church community is important. We also prayed and worshipped with them – they have such beautiful Indonesian worship songs!

Pastor Dody has done such a great job in being well-versed in Bible knowledge, as well as a deep understanding for the political and religious climate in Indonesia. With what he has, along with his fire for God and to make disciples, he has led this group of young people very well.

However, I believe that they will be further blessed by the guiding examples of other God-fearing, Christ-following young people around them. Though I don’t feel that I came with much to offer on this trip, I did share a bit of my personal testimonies with them over 2 evenings, and I felt prompted by the Spirit that my experiences and God-given lessons from my youth would touch these young people in a special way.

As such, I would encourage more young people (youth and young adults with the age range between 18-35) to join the next Surabaya mission trips on 18-22 August, or 20-24 October. “Let no one look down on [you because of] your youth, but be an example and set a pattern for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in [moral] purity.” 1 Tim 4:12 – Your connection and friendship will be a blessing to them in itself, and plant the seeds for faith to arise amongst that young, intellectual and vivacious community. You are marked to magnify His goodness!

FGA Surabaya is a part of our FGA family, and we can do our part to support and grow our extended family. Hope to see you in August!

Watch the Instagram Stories compilation of the Surabaya Mission Trip here.

Image-1

#iamadisciple – Esther Teo

Faithfulness sets the foundation for fruitfulness. In making disciples, it may seem that our initial efforts to reach out are futile, but as we continue to faithfully sow into their lives, God is also faithful to change both us and them. Esther's story of discipleship is a great example of that!

1. Describe the time when you decided to transition from “regular weekend Christian” to “fully devoted follower of Christ”.

I think it was a just gradual process as I journey with Christ, working to become more and more "fully devoted".

2. When did you become a leader?

9 years ago.

3. As much as you can remember, recollect the initial memories of starting out as a new leader. It must have been an eye-opener! Any funny moments, memorable ones? Any painful memories?

I started as a lifegroup leader in my own lifegroup, DNA with Audrey and Juliana for a very short period of time. Then I stepped down from my own lifegroup and joined the SURGE ministry because I felt God was calling me to reach out to girls who are younger. The initial 3 to 4 years of leading in the youth was tough as my members were either super irregular or didn't want to attend lifegroup at all. Out of lifegroup meetings, it was hard to meet them too. There were a lot of rejections. I struggled a lot and always prayed and asked God, "I've obeyed your call, and did my best, so why no progress? Did I do something wrong? Is it me?" Then God spoke to me and said my focus was wrong, I shouldn't focus on me, but them, because that was His focus and I should still be faithful with what I was called to do. I continued to be faithful and eventually God gave me 4 very teachable girls with regular attendance. That was my highlight then and still is now. 

4. How about the best stories that make you feel like, this is all worth it?

It was when one of my members who constantly "rejected" me and "fly my aeroplane" (Chinese term: the person stood her up) told me, "Thanks for constantly reaching out to me even though I kept avoiding you." I remembered we were at this brunch cafe with all these noisy echoes, and when she said that, my heart dropped and I teared. I realised that this is why God had asked me to be faithful. 

5. What is the biggest challenge for yourself as a leader?

Communication and facilitation. Language is not my forte, and sometimes I find it hard use the right words to ask the right questions at lifegroup. Till today, I'm still learning communicate and facilitate better. 

6. What has God taught you through leadership?

Faithfulness, Love and Patience, and most importantly to lead by example. 

7. Complete this sentence: Discipleship is…

Discipleship is intentionally walking and journeying  alongside others towards maturing in Christ.  (The DE book definition sums it up better! This is just the simple definition I have at the back of my head, haha.) 

8. Enough about you as a leader - let’s talk about you as a disciple. What do you love or appreciate most about your leader(s)?

Auntie Sue and Angie reached out to me when I was a youth. I appreciate most when Angie was there to guide me, teach me about the Bible and show me the way. She was always there, loving me as I am, rejoicing with me through my ups and comforting and encouraging me through my downs. 

Rhordan also, in a way, "disciples" all the youth leaders. Whether it was through the Bible or by giving us tools to facilitate lifegroup, there was never a time in his teaching that we did not go back without gaining a revelation, insight or knowledge.

Group-photo-@-Constantines-1

Love, Laughter And fellowship: The Ilo Ilo Mission Trip Praise Report

A recent mission trip to our church plant in Ilo Ilo had our team experience first hand how God is working in that little corner of The Philippines.

They started with a visit to the Aeta (Aye-ta) village, where the team spent time teaching and ministering to both kids and adults in this indigenous community. Our team was touched by the church’s love and passion for the lost sheep, and for sharing the gospel with them. The members of FGA Ilo Ilo visit the Aeta tribe regularly to evangelize, preach and minister to the adults and children. They also deliver food to the tribe.

The next day, the team took a 30-min trip by motorickshaw to Barangay (Bah-rung-guy) to encourage a sister to start a life group.

Sunday Service was a great time of worship and Douglas Choo preached the word. Allan put his professional cooking skills to good use in preparing a sumptuous feast for all, with ingredients lovingly hand-carried from Singapore.

The church in Ilo Ilo expressed their love for the team in many ways, including planning a surprise birthday party for Bess, complete with cakes and gifts!

Allan and Bess, who were part of the missions team, shared their personal experience about being touched by the community in FGA Ilo Ilo.

“We saw a thirst and love for God amongst the community. Some of the families who attended FGA Ilo Ilo live quite a distance away from church. They live on hills, and must travel through sand and rock trails on a trishaw to get to church. But they attend church faithfully.

Most of all, we were touched by the love the church community had for each other. They fellowship, have their meals, pray, praise and worship, play games and chit chat in the main church hall, as though the church is their home. This showed us the very picture of what the apostles did in the book of Acts.

And in spite of being a tightly-knit family of Christ, they made room for us strangers, welcoming us with open arms. Their warmth was overwhelming, and we felt so much like a part of their family from start to end. We dreaded leaving, and would love to go back again.”

We thank God for what He is doing in FGA Ilo Ilo. Continue to pray for our family there!

15 Playfair Road, FGA@Playfair, Singapore 367987
6339 1317     6334 6694

info@fgasingapore.org

MRT - Tai Seng (circle line), exit at Harper Road

Buses - Tai Seng MRT: 22, 24, 28, 43, 58, 62, 70, 70M, 76, 80, 93, 158

             - Citimac Industrial Complex: 62, 90, 151