Written by Sharon dela Cruz
Lamentations 3:22-25 declare, “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
I praise and thank the Lord for His grace and goodness, mercy and faithfulness in my life, and for the wonderful privilege to serve Him. Indeed, there is no greater joy than to serve our faithful and loving Shepherd. Through the many changing scenes of life, the Lord has been my Guide and Strength. In times of sorrow and trial, He has been my Comfort and Friend. As I learn to trust Him more and more, my prayer is that I may continually submit to His will for my life.
By God’s providence, I was led to study design and animation during my polytechnic studies. When I first started my course, it was my prayer that I could use these skills to develop children’s teaching materials in the future. I desired and prayed that I may use my talents for the Lord, though I did not know how or where I could serve Him in the future. During that period of studies, I was also searching for a youth fellowship to attend; by God’s wonderful working, I came to know of Gethsemane Youth Bible Hour (GYBH), and thereafter started regularly attending GYBH and services at Gethsemane BP Church.
Upon my graduation in 2004, the Lord answered my prayer and guided me to render some months of service to the Lord. I started as a volunteer in Bible Witness Media Ministry (BWMM) and was later employed as a full-time staff in this ministry. I was convinced in my heart that I should put my skills, energy and time fully to serve the Lord, rather than serving worldly companies and be vexed in my heart doing secular projects that promote worldly ideologies. I was exhorted through the Word of God, in 1 Corinthians 15:58, that I should give my best efforts for the Lord: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
I started with doing illustrations for various children’s materials and the Bible Witness magazine, in particular the series of comics on the life of Jonathan Goforth for the Children’s Page. Subsequently, I worked on the animation and graphics for the first production of “The Scripture in Song” DVD. With each new project for the children through BWMM, whether through DVDs, CDs, online and printed materials, I learned the importance and priceless value of teaching God’s Word, especially to the young ones, for there is no greater knowledge than that found in the Bible. “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life. 5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:4-6).
I also thank God for the opportunity given to me to study some courses in FEBC. When I joined BWMM, Pastor Koshy encouraged us to take the Systematic Theology course so that we would be better equipped and grounded in the doctrines of the Bible, which I found to be a truly helpful and needful study. Praise God that He has enabled me to continue studying part-time courses online. I have been greatly blessed and have learnt many spiritual lessons under the guidance of Pastor and fellow labourers. Through the years, I have seen the Lord’s marvellous work in providing for our church. I particularly recall how our Bible Witness magazine used to be printed only in dual tone-two colours, but now the Lord has provided us with the means to print in full colour. Over the years, I have also witnessed how the Lord has always provided new brethren to serve when many left. Truly, the Lord is faithful.
In 2008, some months after the inauguration of Gethsemane Mission Church in Bogo, the Lord moved Pr Dominino to ask me to serve with him in the mission field. At first, I struggled with the thought of leaving my family and friends in Singapore to go to a foreign land, but I remember Pastor telling me to have the courageous spirit of Esther, that “If I perish, I perish.” The Lord rebuked me and convicted my heart with Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:37 – “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me”. And so in March 2009, we were married in the Philippines and we laboured together in northern Cebu, in Bogo and San Antonio. By God’s grace, He enabled me to serve Him and I found much joy in teaching the children in both Bogo and San Antonio, as well as the various children’s ministries in Gairan and Binabag. The Lord also blessed us with our son, Nehemiah, in 2010.
However, in 2011, Domy was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer – Pseudomyxoma peritonei, a rare malignant growth characterised by the progressive accumulation of mucus-secreting (mucinous) tumour cells within the abdomen and pelvis. Though he went for many rounds of chemotherapy and tried various treatments, even coming to Singapore for surgery, the Lord took him home in July 2013. Through all the struggles, I thank God for His grace and strength, comfort and guidance, and for the love, prayers and generous giving of the brethren to aid us in our time of need. We truly experienced the Lord’s goodness and providence through the body of believers.
I would like to share 2 blessings that came through Domy’s sickness. Firstly, when Domy felt unwell in the beginning, a doctor misdiagnosed him with TB of the intestines, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Nehemiah had been suffering from a persistent cough that would not go away. His paediatrician, upon knowing Domy’s condition, decided to test Nehemiah for TB. The test came back positive, and Nehemiah was put onmedication for 6 months! Looking back, I see the Lord’s sovereign Hand working in all these events. Secondly, I recall the day after we received the news of Domy’s cancer, when we went home with heavy hearts and minds. It was a Saturday, and there was to be Youth Fellowship that afternoon. Domy decided to bring the youths to do evangelism in the Binabag and Libjo area. Through this effort, a senior gentleman, Bro Toto, was brought back to Christ after years of backsliding. He offered a small shelter next to his house for a children’s ministry – and there, the Libjo children’s ministry was born, which continues till today.
At that time, I did not understand why the Lord made me a widow at the age of 29, with a 3-year-old son to care for, but I took comfort in that the Lord knows the end of each path that I take, and when I am tried and purified, I shall come forth as gold (cf. Job 23:10). Indeed, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). When I moved back to Singapore in September 2014, I desired to serve the Lord in any area that He would lead me to. However, I also had a duty to fulfil as a mother. I struggled for some time, facing criticism from some that I was neglecting my service to look after my child. But I thank God that I could still do little (but no less important) things for the Lord, even from home. I praise the Lord for every opportunity given to me to be part of this great work of spreading the Gospel and providing godly materials for children to be nourished up in the faith. I thank God I could finish the “Growing in Christ” animated Bible lessons (which are now on YouTube) for children to watch. I thank God also for enabling me to help in the packing and distribution of the Bible Witness magazine, and for Dn Lok’s patience in guiding and teaching me in these matters.
I also praise God that I can now have the privilege to work part-time in GMC, doing designing and coming up with illustrations for various projects, such as the activity book for the Genesis lessons, story-boarding and videoediting for the scripts being recorded for WebTV. Praise the Lord that I am also involved in transcribing some of Pastor’s messages, mixing of songs, as well as editing and compiling the weekly “Women of Virtue” segment for BWWR (Bible Witness Web Radio). I am particularly thankful for Sis Melissa, who patiently taught me how to use the software and do the mixing / editing. This became especially useful during the “circuit-breaker” period, when the choir had to do remote recordings from home. Praise the Lord for His enablement and grace each day.
Though I have faced some criticism for not working full-time and supporting my parents and child, and for not upgrading myself so that I could get a secular job and secure better prospects for the future, I thank the Lord for strengthening my resolve to still take care of Nehemiah and serve the Lord where He places me, trusting Him to provide. “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?... But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:26, 33).
I pray the Lord will continue to use me in BWMM, and/or in other areas of service in Gethsemane – for His glory and for the edification of the saints, and that I may serve Him in humility and faithfulness.