by Eddy Yew
I remember several years ago, Raj (our former pastor) told me “Eddy, come help me to carry some stuff from the food bank and send it to KAWAN”. Not knowing what I was getting into, I thought, “since I’ve got the muscles, why not make good use of it!”
KAWAN was a drop-in center for the needy located in Pudu. It was a place for the homeless to rest, bathe and wash their clothes. Every Wednesday evening, there will be a service there followed by food distribution. Who goes to KAWAN? The jobless, the homeless, drug addicts or even lonely individuals who just want hang out. Apart from getting a wash and a meal it is also a place for these ones to get a little bit of comfort from their daily struggles.
Ever since then, we kept going back to KAWAN – starting with few friends, to our life fellowship group, to combining with other life fellowships. First, we started with just visiting and serving food, then we were asked to lead the service. We learnt how to preach in Cantonese, translate sermons into BM, act bible skits, sing hokkien worship songs, make instruments for worship and prayed in languages that we are not familiar with. We served the people and chatted with them with our limited Cantonese vocabulary. It was a great experience to able to serve there.
“When He went ashore he saw a great crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick” (Matt 14:14). He ministered to them by healing them, teaching them (Mark 6:34), and speaking to them about the Kingdom of God (Luke 9:11).
The word “compassion” comes from the Latin word “compati” meaning suffering with or feeling another. When Jesus saw that they were lost and in need of hope, He felt for them and ministered to them. We are privileged in a way that we do not lack basic necessity (food, water, shelter and clothing) and we have the greatest gift which is the relationship with God the Father. Jesus inspired me to feel like He feels – the least we can do for the poor and destitute is be there, meet their needs and be their friend.
Well, the story doesn’t end here, when it came to evening, the disciples realized that the people had not eaten. Yes, Jesus wanted to minister to them yet He knew their very basic need, which to fill the tummy. Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” They said to him, “We have only five loaves here and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to me.” Matt 14:16-18.
In the end, everybody ate and was satisfied. Not only that, they gathered another twelve baskets of extras. Often, we feel small about ourselves, “what do we have that we can bless others?” When there is a need, my first reaction is “I’m just a normal church member, let the leaders deal with it. After all they are gifted and trained to do that.” We see our own limitations, but God sees our potential.
Today, there are so many ways we can be involved in His mission to save the world. Yes, we may not be certified preachers, interpreters or performers but we do know some bible stories, we can pray with simple words, we can teach and we can be humourous in our acting to bring laughter to the community. We can contribute to the food bank or find other ways to serve the needy.
Like Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give. In the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Act 3:6. It’s not about how much we have, but the willingness to submit ourselves to God.