Saturday 5th October
Today, the team travelled to the Damansara Utama Methodist Church to perform at their Saturday afternoon Children's programme. Children in the church were urged to bring a non-Christian friend and about 400 attended with about 50 children being first time attenders. After some awesome P & W, the team came on stage and performed their Maori cultural items, the "Jesus is Alright" dance and two puppet shows which were again very well received by the children and the many mothers and fathers in attendance. The drama was then put on which was followed by a short wrap-up. About 40 children came foward at the alter call - all first time decisions. Praise the Lord!
After a dinner at KFC, the team travelled to the church's auditorium to take part in their mission weekend. The Hebron team were given front seats and during the service were publicly honoured and given a huge applause. The guest speaker, Jim Yost, an American missionary to the Irian Jaya cannibals spoke of he and his wife's experience living with and evangelising a previously unreached people (The book Peace Child was based on the same people group). Some of his experiences included: a full-on tribal war breaking out during their welcome celebrations, catching malaria 12x and nearly dying, crashing into a river in a float plane and just managing to escape before it sunk, seeing 100 of his converts die of cholera in just a few weeks, etc. Jim challenged the audience to take risks for God...don't play safe...nothing ventured, nothing gained. A huge number of our team responded to call for rededication to missions and service for God, along with the rest of the church.
This will be the last update for the mission. We spend most of Sunday packing up, flying down to Singapore, then heading back to Auckland overnight. Thank you for all your support and prayers. God bless you. See you back in Auckland. Will we need to wear jerseys and raincoats when we get off the plane???
Friday 3rd October
Today, we worked with two separate ministries of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church, a growing and very much "alive" church in the suburbs of Petaling Jaya. Our 1996 Outreach Team previously worked with this church and it has expanded a great deal since then. Their church services are now held in a converted picture theatre. Team 1 performed to about 50 non-Christian elderly people and a number responded to an altar call. As this group was mainly ethnic Chinese and the presentation and message had to be translated, the response was a cause of great joy. Afterwards, a shared meal and a time of fellowship and singing was enjoyed by all.
Team 2 visited the DUMC Christian Kindergarten which caters for 3 - 7 year old children from the surrounding area. Approx. 300 children dressed in pink, green and blue uniforms (see photo)welcomed our team and watched them perform our National Anthem. After this Mr Terangi Allen taught them "The Whale Song" in Maori, which they thoroughly enjoyed. The team then performed "The Conflict" drama and this was followed by an altar appeal by the kindergarten leader. Approx 150 children expressed their desire to invite Jesus into their lives and live for Him. Praise the Lord!
After lunch, the combined teams travelled to the church's "Drop In Centre" across town to perform to a mixed audience of locals. This was only the second time their church had worked in this very poor area. The outreach was focussed on younger people and included puppetry, singing, the "Conflict" drama (including a Cantonese commentary by local church staff) and an appeal. 25 young people came forward for salvation and were prayed for by the team.
Dinner was quickly gobbled down at the local McDonalds and then we travelled into KL and visited the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower, one of the tallest concrete towers in the world at 421m. The night views were stunning, particularly of the Petrona Towers (that featured in the recent James Bond film). We arrived back at our hotel at 9:30pm very tired but elated in all that was achieved throughout the day.
Thursday 2nd October
We are now in Malaysia and staying at the Mona Lisa Hotel (sounds a bit seedy doesn't it). We spent the morning cleaning up the hostel quarters, packing suitcases and saying farewells to all the people we had come to know. The girls from the Girls Home came across and gave each of the girls a teddy bear and a card. We gave the girls a framed photo of the school with the text "We bring Gods love and blessing to you" and they plan to hang that on their wall. Our girls have also exchanged email addresses and plan to keep in touch. Even the Hostel caretaker gave us gifts; he remembered the Hebron team from 2001 and was looking forward to our return.
The plane trip up to KL was uneventful and took about 55mins. We were met at the airport by the DUMC Children's Church pastor, Jennifer, who showed us to our bus after which we drove down to Petaling Jaya, 18km south of Kuala Lumpur. After dumping our gear, we headed over the road to a Chinese restaurant for our dinner (see photo).
Tomorrow we will be performing in two seperate groups to about 40 elderly people who have been coming along to the church friendship programme. We are praying that many of them will become Christians at tomorrow's service. The other team will be performing to 3-6 year olds. In the evening, we plan to look around Kuala Lumpur and travel to the top of the KL Tower, the tallest building in the world.
Wednesday 1st October
(More photos at the bottom of the page)
Today was "Children's Day" in Singapore and all primary children had a holiday. Team 2 was chosen to travel out to "Lakeside Before and After School Care Centre" (run by the Methodist Church)and perform to two different groups, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The performances were very well received by both groups (see photo) even though the students were very wearied by the afternoon.
Upon returning to the Hostel, a game of basketball was organised with the girls at the Grace Girls Home. At the end of the game, some of the girls taught them our DC Talk dance "Jesus is Alright". The students then gave gifts to every girl in the home and they were visibly touched by this act of kindness.
For our last meal in Singapore, we invited over all the Youth for Christ workers who have assisted us in various ways throughout our stay (see photo). After speeches and gifts being handed out, the students performed their Maori songs and haka then went downstairs to try some Durian, a vile smelling fruit that some say smells like hell and tastes like heaven.
We head off to Malaysia midday tomorrow. Please pray with us for openings to preach the Good News in this Muslim country.
Tuesday 31st September
Tuesday began with devotions followed by a return visit to MacPherson Primary School. This time a full presentation was made to the entire school assembly, some 1000 plus students, in the school hall. We were give a full forty-five minutes of the school assembly as today is "Childrens Day" in Singapore. As the school had asked for something on the theme of friendship the full group worked on, and then a smaller group produced, two short dramas in addition to the normal items. The entire offering was very well received and the team was treated to lunch and the staff to seeing the computer suite in action. MacPherson, like most Singapore schools, uses and teaches advanced computer skills. A group of twenty students, none older than ten, were learning how to animate objects using Macromedia Flash software.
After a brief visit to Chinatown the group returned to the Navigators hostel to prepare for the evening event. The evening saw a visit to our site of the Grace Girls Home (from next door) that we had met previously. Some forty girls plus staff joined us for the evening. Together all enjoyed a number of our performance items, the dramas, a story and a time of worship and prayer. Some good relationships have formed between our girls and some of the girls from next door.
Monday 30th September
Today's main activity was a full performance at a Mission school called CHIJ Kellock. The school has 1050 girls of primary age. Our link to this school is two fold - Mrs Seah is a good friend of the principal whom she taught with in another school some years back. Also Mrs Seah's granddaughter Gaby attends the school.
The team performed all their Maori Christian songs and haka, sang the NZ national anthem and performed their dance to the DC Talk song "Jesus Is Alright". Being a Christian school, we were able to give out our tracts with a photo of the team on the front. The girls were very appreciative of the performance and the principal and staff were also thankful we came.
We have all been amazed at the amount of money the Singapore Government pours into education. All schools state and private, are demolished as soon as they are 20 years old and are entirely rebuilt, hence all schools we visited were very new. Today's school was only two years old and would have cost about $30 million to build. Every class had a digital data projector, there were computers everywhere, the gymnasium was almost Olympic standard and amount of room for office staff, resource storage, etc was phenomenal.
The afternoon was spent practising dramas for our visit to McPherson Primary School tomorrow where we will be the main event for their "Childrens Day" and also playing basketball with the girls from the Grace Girls Home next door to our hostel. Tomorrow night, the girls will be joining us for praise and worship and we are believing God will minister to each girl in a mighty way.
Sunday 29th September
Today, being Sunday, started early with Team 1 joining the 9am Youth Service at Orchard Rd Presbyterian. The team presented a full programme including action songs, drama and message. We were excited by the responsiveness of the people with a number coming forward for prayer and two giving their lives to the Lord - a cause for great celebration (see photo). A number of the Singaporean young folk joined the team for lunch afterward. One of the young people even came to visit us later in the day to join us for dinner. One of the best features of the morning was seeing the pro-active ministry of our young people working with the Singaporean youth and the natural and easy friendship that developed in the Lord. Quite a number have exchanged email addresses so the email servers between the two countries will soon be running hot. The afternoon saw the team go to share with a youth cell of the Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church. This was a smaller group that is interested in doing their own mission at some stage in the future so it was primarily a time of fellowship and sharing including the presentation of our cultural items. At the same time Team 2 went to St Margaret's Secondary School and joined in an outreach by Rob George with a combined team from St. John's Chapel and Preteens Outreach. This included participation in face painting.
Saturday 28th September
Today's main activity involved the whole team performing to approx. 1000 secondary students at the finale of the Singapore Youth for Christ "You Are The One" outreach performed at the Singapore Polytechnic. The Hebron team were invited onto the stage soon after the event begun and they gave it their best shot by far. Their singing was the loudest ever, their actions were well co-ordinated and the boys' haka was the fiercest ever. At the end of each item, the huge crowd gave the team a thunderous applause. The team staff and I were in complete agreement...it was a mighty performance, their best performance to date and a great credit to themselves and the Lord.
The evening was spent eating out at the local shopping centre then indulging in some shopping ministry...yielding to the need to spend money!
Friday 27th September
Friday was another amazing day in the life of the mission.
Once again we split into two separate teams with one team pserforming at Yu Hua Primary School and another at Fengshan Primary School. Both performances went off very well and the children that viewed the programme enjoyed what they saw and heard and were keen to get to know our students. Team 1 went on to perform at the Singapore Youth for Christ Junior College and returned to the hostel at about 8pm. Team 2 stayed on longer at their first performance and decided to abandon the visit to the zoo in the late afternoon and return to the air conditioned hostel (temperature around 29 degrees and humid).
The team had a quick dinner then headed over to the Grace Girls Home. After saying "Hi" to the 25 girls, we launched into our songs and drama. The girls were very attentive and particularly enjoyed Terangi Allen teaching them some Maori action songs. His Gospel message was well received and he prayed the salvation prayer at the end of his talk.
The boys headed back to the hostel while our girls talked with the hostel girls one-on-two for about half an hour. They enjoyed this interaction very much and insisted we come back and have more discussion, games, etc.
Thank you for your prayers...the evening programme was very successful and Craig Scott is feeling very much better and is back on his feet.
Thursday 25th September
Thursday got off to a great start with a devotional time taken by one of God's sain
ts...Mr Roy Robertson, a 82 year old still-active missionary who was the founder of Navigators in Singapore, China, Taiwan, Japan & Indonesia. He encouraged the students to put Christ first in their lives and live totally for Him, reading the Bible daily (Quote: "No quiet time..no breakfast!"), memorising scripture and gaining victory over sinful habits.
Half the team then travelled to McPhearson Primary School to support the YFC "Friendship Club" while the other half visited the Singapore Zoo. McPhearson primary School is 30% Muslim and is situated in a poorer area of Singapore. The students performed songs and the New Zealand National Athem then spent time sharing with the children (see photo).
In the late afternoon, both teams travelled to Orchard Rd, the shopping centre of Singapore where they purchased items to take home to NZ.We all arrived back at the hostel at around 9:00pm for some freetime then bed.
God's blessing on a full day of performances (4 sessions in 3 different schools)tomorrow with two separate teams
Planning & preparation for our first performance at the neighbouring girls home tomorrow night (Friday).
Health for Craig Scott who experienced sickness today
Colin Marshall's sermon to senior school students from SYFC Junior College (7th formers)
Wednesday 24th September
The Mission continues to go well. After morning devotions, the team split into two with a sm
all group of 5 students (Kate Dransfield, Chantelle Subritzky, Kathlene Soo, Andrew Ridler and Jason Turner) travelling to Radin Mas Primary School where they worked with Youth for Christ workers running a "Friendship Club". These five students sang our Maori Christian songs, sang our National Anthem then ran a series of games which were thoroughly enjoyed by the 30 or so children who attended.
The rest of the team performed all their items at Fairfield Methodist Primary School, to about half the school, 500 students, This school was the former school of Junia Tan, one of our team members. Junia gave her testimony after the performances and was then greeted by the Principal and former teachers. The performance went off very well and the school asked us to come back again to perform to the other 500 children.
The Navigators Hostel where we are staying is situated right next to a Presbyterian hostel. The buildings at the back of our quarters now has a unit ministering to "rebellious" teenagers. Colin Marshall and I visited the unit today and met with the director, Pastor Andrew, a Presbyterian minister. He told us he had 50 girls, ages ranging from 13 to 17 years. The girls had come to the attention of the authorities for rebellious behaviour, stealing, drug taking, etc and they had been "offered" places at the home instead of facing harsher penalties and/or confinement. He and his team care for the daily needs of the girls and through love and Christian kindness, bring them through to salvation and a commitment to live a productive and fruitful life. We offered to have our team perform to the girls one night and interact with them in sport, one-on-one discussion, etc. Pastor Andrew jumped at this suggestion and said it would be an answer to a prayer that was prayed the night before â€¦. A Christian school helping his work and interacting with his girls!!! Aren't God's ways just amazing. I'll keep you inform on this amazing development.
Tonight we buses to Marine Parade Mall and had a beautiful Chinese meal for the sum of $3 each! The students then had a time of shopping before returning to the hostel. At 8pm, we had a lovely time of Praise and Worship, prayer and communion. At 9:30pm we were blessed with the arrival of Mrs Scott and her son David who had travelled up from Auckland today. The team were thrilled to see her and gave her a hearty applause.
Tomorrow (Thursday) we will be performing at MacPherson Primary School.
Thank you for your emails of support and news from NZ. We hear the weather has picked up to 20 degrees - just 9 degrees below Singapore. Our students are enjoying the technology of air conditioning and are more appreciative of NZ's mild climate!
Tuesday 23rd September
The day started with devotions and a guest speaker Mr. Jim Chew, a founding member of
navigators, Singapore. Jim spoke to the team about the challenges of taking the gospel to Singapore. He shared from 1st Peter 3:15 on the manner in which the gospel is to be shared, with courtesy and confidence in Christ. The gentle, positive encouragement from this elder statesman of God was a gift. We then met two members of Singapore YFC. They shared some of the challenge we will face in the coming days - some schools are very diffident about the gospel being shared openly. We have to be careful about what and how we present our message. This was followed by a solid period of practising the songs and drama.
After a lunch of chicken-rice from a local shop the afternoon was another opportunity to sample the wonders of Singapore. This began with a trip to the Jurong Bird Park. We managed to take in two shows, one of marvellous birds doing tricks of all kinds including one bird that could say altogether too much in a number of different languages and the other an exciting display of the power of the birds of prey. From there we travelled to the Night Safari Park stopping along the way to eat at a local plaza (checking out some prices in the shops that were often comparable to NZ). At the Safari Park we found that we had an hour to spare before we could go in. The young people decided it was a good opportunity to put all of their training into practice and gave the waiting public a free concert of some of their items. These were very well received by an appreciative public, some of the local chefs even left their work to come and stand and watch. It gave an opportunity to speak and share with some of the people there about what the team was about, with very positive feedback.
Monday 22nd September
The Mission is going extremely well. We're all safe and healthy and in good spirit. The trip up to Singapore did not get away to a good start however. We were held up at Auckland Airport for 6 hours while they repaired some malfunction on the plane. We were given a meal ticket and had our dinner at the airport before boarding the plane around 8pm. The 9½hour flight meant we landed in Singapore at 5:30am NZ time or 1:30am Singapore time (4 hours behind). Some got a little sleep on the flight but most watched talked, watched movies or played video games (about 20 films to chose from). We arrived at the Navigators Hostel at about 2:30am and got everyone off to sleep by about 3:00am. Most of the team were awake by 7:00am so were definitely running on a sleep deficit during the day.
After breakfast, devotions and team talk, we headed off to Sentosa Park for the day where we visited the Underwater World (very similar to Kelly Tarltons), Fort Siloso (armaments prepared for the Japanese invasion), Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom (see photo of actual live scorpions on Helen Shadbolt's arm), a swim at Palawan Beach, the Dolphin Show (David Hogg had a dolphin kiss him) then watched the Musical Fountain which was absolutely stunning with water jets, laser lights and flame throwers all co-ordinated to music. We arrived back at the Navigators Hostel and got everyone in bed and asleep by 10pm. I think there will be a lot of snoring tonight!
Tomorrow we will be visiting the Singapore Zoo, the Jurong Bird Park and the Night Safari. This will finish off our sightseeing and then its into performances non-stop. The local Youth for Christ Headquarters has been planning a programme for the team and this will start proper tomorrow (Wednesday).
The students have been outstanding and their good behaviour and camaraderie has been very noticeable. An air hostess commented to one of the adults that our students were extremely nice and obliging. The Lord's blessing is obviously on the team and we are believing for great things.
Julie among the flamingoes Helen with live scorpions on her arm
Night Safari train ride Jason with falcons
Team 2 performing Andrew talking to Singapore boy
Performing to 1000+ students at the Jurong polytechnic
Orchard Rd Presbyterian Youth Service Ministry
Mission Staff Girls at CHIJ Kellock