Written by John Peh
Psalm 84:10 says, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”
My family and I joined Gethsemane B-P Church in December 1999. Gethsemane was then a very small church (with a congregation of about 40 to 50 worshippers) worshipping in Geylang Lorong 17. At that time, my family had the privilege to spend much time in fellowship with Pastor Koshy. I was having depression then and Pastor was counseling me. I have seen how Pastor ordered his life and family, and that led me to have a desire to serve God full-time. But I know I did not have the capacity to serve Him as a preacher nor the skill to serve in the church office. If the church had a building, I could serve as a caretaker, I thought, with Psalm 84:10 frequently resonating in my mind.
The Bible Witness Bookroom Ministry started in September 2005. Pastor Koshy had been praying for some years to have a bookroom ministry in the town area when by the guidance and provision of God, a place was made available in Hong Lim Complex through a sister who loves the work of the Lord. As I was also praying for an avenue to serve God, when Pastor approached me concerning serving in the bookroom, I readily and happily accepted it as an answer from God. The bookroom is to be a place where like-minded Christians in the town area can gather together to have a time of studying God’s Word and prayer.
The bookroom started with 1,800 books and through the years, that had increased to over 2,200 books. Some FEBC students had made used of the bookroom facilities to do research work for their assignments and thesis. They had found it to be very useful. Many lay persons, in their desire to have a more in-depth knowledge of God’s Word, had also come to the bookroom to read up on the books available. The books in the bookroom cover a wide variety of subjects, like Christian living, parenting, prayer, theology, etc., just to name a few. There was an adjoining computer room, where we had 2 computers that have been installed with Logos programme, which was very good for serious students of God’s Word.
Every Wednesday at 1.30 pm, we would have our mid-week Bible study. The average attendance was about 12 – 20 brothers and sisters. The group consisted mainly of workers from the vicinity and some members of our sister B-P churches. Pastor Koshy led the Bible study. It is very heartening to see that the brothers and sisters were so fervent in their desire to learn God’s Word despite their busy schedule at work. I myself have learnt much from the Bible study.
The live webcast of the Bible study started in Nov 2011, and this provided another avenue for brethren who could not attend the Bible study at the bookroom to learn God’s Word. Despite the fact that we are not operating the bookroom now, the live webcast is still going on. Praise be unto God that many are still tuning in to the webcast!
The Seniors’ Fellowship also met regularly at the bookroom on occasional Thursdays for their weekly meeting. In these meetings, thank God for the faithful preaching of Preacher Jeremiah, Preacher Daniel and Elder Mah. The fellowship of the seniors was also very sweet.
I am very thankful to God for allowing me to serve in the Bible Witness Bookroom. In those years at the bookroom, I was especially encouraged to see brothers and sisters who were very fervent in studying God’s Word. They came almost without fail every week for the lunch-time Bible study. I was also most uplifted when a sister, through attending the Bible study, saw the need to attend church regularly and eventually settled in Gethsemane B-P Church. Even when there are no Bible studies or fellowship meetings, I thank God for the time to read books in Pastor’s collection and also for the time to pray. I can still remember some of such times, like when I fasted and prayed when Preacher Dominino and a sister in the church (Sis Clarissa) were diagnosed with cancer, as well as when the church was raising funds for GMC.
It was also during my service in the bookroom that I saw how Pastor Koshy laboured tirelessly to feed the flock. Despite his busy schedule and health issues, he would not pass away any chance to feed his flock. I have much to learn from his example of faithfulness and commitment to God’s Word.
While I was very happy to serve in the bookroom, God has other plans. Pastor Koshy approached me sometime in December 2016 to take over Bro Roy (who was leaving) in the printing ministry of The Gethsemane Care Ministry (TGCM). I was initially very apprehensive because I do not have experience or technical skills in printing, design or sales / marketing, not to mention leading TGCM brethren in this aspect. Nevertheless, after praying and realising it is God that is leading the way, I accepted it. The initial arrangement is that I will spend half a day in the bookroom and half a day in Gordon Industrial Building (which houses the printing ministry). The initial period was a trying time for me because many brethren who had volunteered to help in the printing ministry left TGCM. There was a time when only Bro Arnold and I worked in the printing ministry. At times I felt helpless and overwhelmed. Designing, sales and leading brethren are not the talents God has given to me, I thought to myself.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (Isa 55:8). But in the grand scheme of God, He has a purpose for all things. With the purchase (sometime in 2018) and the completion of the renovations (in 2019) of GMC at 33 Ubi Crescent, Pastor moved his books in the bookroom to the library on the 4th storey of GMC. This is to enable Pastor and the preachers to gain access to the books more readily. The printing ministry was also moved to GMC which helped to save the cost of having to pay rent in Gordon. With the moving of the library to GMC, there is no longer a need to operate the bookroom in Hong Lim.
When we first moved to GMC, Bro Arnold and some brethren from the church helped with the designing aspect of the ministry. I still feel very inadequate because I struggle very much with sales and marketing. But praise be unto God, all things worked for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. In His time, God brought Bro Jordan into the ministry. Bro Jordan is gifted not only in design, but also in sales and marketing. With the help of Sis Dorcas, they have done a very good work. Thank God for Bro Jordan and Sis Dorcas, as well as for Bro Cayson for his unwavering support in the printing ministry. I have much to learn from his humbleness, truthfulness and fervency. God has given all of us different talents to serve Him. With Bro Jordan, Sis Dorcas and TGCM brethren, I pray that the printing ministry will grow and prosper – for the praise and glory of God.