James & Shermaine
Missionaries to Bible College of East Africa (BCEA), Kenya
“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13–14)
We thank the Lord for His provision towards us, especially through many that have given, as we finally complete the borehole project. The longest part of it was the months spent applying and waiting for the permit. We have been rationing our supply carefully, and spending about $200 USD weekly throughout the year to fill all our water tanks in the compound through water tankers. The drilling process took a few days to reach the depth of 250 meters, and we thank God for a good supply, with even better quality than our previous borehole. We have installed the pumps and solar systems, and with good sunlight, we are able to have the pump running well. In Singapore, while water is also a precious resource, we take it easily for granted, where at the turn of a tap, we get a seemingly endless supply of drinkable clean water.
During this whole process, it provides a good illustration for us and the students. The Samaritan woman in John 4 drew water from the well, a daily necessity for survival, and likewise, we have to pump water daily, filling all our water towers and tanks that our compound of a hundred people relies upon. It requires constant monitoring, and even our old borehole of over 30 years would fail to sustain us. While we might have a fresh supply of water (which might last for another decade or two), our daily thirst remains.
In contrast, there is a limitless, abundant, and divine source of life drawn from Christ, and it should quench the thirst of our souls. It should make any worldly pursuit dull and lifeless in comparison. It is sad to find professing Christians having an unquenchable thirst for food, travel, and a lifestyle of the world, but having little desire for Christ. Our hope is that the students would grow to draw upon the living waters of Christ, and to have their churches supplied with the living Word. It is all too often that a church is seen as “lively” and “energetic” because of its contemporary music, activities, and the personality of the pastor that entertains and satisfies the congregation, instead of having Christ.
During a term break in July, the Sunday school organised a one-day programme for the children, with the theme of Psalm 23 “The Lord is My Shepherd”. We thank God for the children who came to learn of the Gospel and the Word. It is our constant prayer that they would come to believe in Christ and learn to walk in the Lord’s way at a young age. A good number of them do not stay in good areas, and left to their own devices, it is easy for them to pick up all kinds of sin even from a young age. While we can do little to change society, culture and their environment, the Lord can change, and keep their souls.
In the past months, due to world events, and inflation, the cost of living has risen significantly, with the basic prices of flour and oil almost doubling. While the church has exercised charity in distributing some supplies to the families and helping with some medical bills these are only short-term aids. We can only pray for the economy to improve and for the government. Thankfully, the government has implemented some price controls for a month, and we can only pray that the elections will be smooth, and for the new administration to come.
God willing, as the effects of the pandemic fade, we hope to resume evangelism, weekly visitations, and also our “chai” or tea fellowship after the service. Despite the hard situation, we thank God still for new faces added to the church, and both young and old who continue to come.
[James Tan and his wife Shermaine are missionaries sent by Tabernacle BPC.]
REST AND RE-CREATION
“And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31).
Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC) held a retreat at the Resort Lautan Biru (RLB) in Mersing a second time this year, from September 5 to 7. Usually, the College would have a retreat just once a year right after the graduation service. But since we did not go for any retreat during the 2020–2021 COVID period, and since this year is the College’s Diamond Jubilee year, the Principal thought it good to have another three-day retreat to celebrate this occasion and enjoy a double blessing.
There were a total of 41 participants comprising faculty, students, alumni and friends. We had worship and fellowship time in the mornings and evenings. On Monday night, the Principal delivered the first message on “Biblical Rest and Re-creation” (Mark 6:30–32). On Tuesday morning, the Rev Dr Koa Keng Woo spoke on “The Good Shepherd and His Sheep” (Ps 23) and in the evening, the Rev Dr Jose Lagapa spoke on “For Such a Time as This” (Esth 4:13–16). On Wednesday morning, Pr Khoo Peng Keong spoke on “The Word of God in Our Hearts” (Prov 3:1–4) and the Rev Lee Kim Shong spoke on “The Holy Spirit’s Direction in Missions” (Acts 16:6–15). We had a blessed time of spiritual feeding from God’s Word.
We also watched two video movies—“God’s Outlaw: The Story of William Tyndale” and “Beyond the Night” which is the story of John and Bettie Dreisbach, medical missionaries to West Africa. Our sister Jovena Choo of True Life BPC conducted a workshop on academic writing on Tuesday afternoon.
We thank the Lord for the RLB which was God’s answer to the prayers of the Rev Dr Timothy Tow—the founding father of the Bible-Presbyterian Church in Singapore and Malaysia and of FEBC. It was truly a “home away from home” for all of us, a most scenic and serene place for our physical and spiritual respite. We thank the Lord also for Mr and Mrs Raymond Tan who continue to serve faithfully in managing the Resort since it opened in the year 2000. Now that COVID restrictions have been lifted and borders are opened, four or five groups have already booked to hold their camps and retreats there at the year-end holidays. The Young People’s Fellowship will be having their camp there during the Christmas week. May the Lord bless all who camp at the RLB. For enquiries or bookings, email email@example.com. JK
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