“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15-17)
Written by Ignatius Law
As I pen down my testimony on my calling to full-time service, Romans 11:34 comes readily to mind: “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counsellor?”
Being called to give up a career in the secular world to serve God was not what I initially imagined, having come back from my studies in Perth. By God’s grace, I had attended a faithful Bible-believing church over there for 2 years; while there, I had been regularly involved in the church’s activities, from serving in the nursing homes to engaging in city evangelism. The leaders in that church particularly emphasised on cultivating a habit of being active in the Lord’s work. Even something as simple as sweeping the church grounds is also deemed as a service to the Lord. Hence, going to nursing homes and going for evangelism on Sunday were nothing new to me, for these are some of the ways we Christians are expected to remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (cf. Exodus 20:8).
When I came back to Singapore to work after graduation, one of the criteria that I hold on firmly was to forsake not the Sabbath, but to always put worship of God first. Hence, many banking jobs were not available to me as most banks in Singapore are open 7 days a week – all the banks require their interns to work on Sundays to fulfil the quota that is laid out. So, although I have been shortlisted for a number of banking positions, it was very clear to me that this was not God’s will for me. Therefore, I looked elsewhere.
My first job was an insurance agent. At first, I thought this was God’s will for me as it seemed to me that I would be able to attend church services uninterrupted, due to the “flexibility” of the job. However, I quickly found out that it was not so, for my time was not my own but was entirely dependant on my clients’ timing and preferences. Thus not long after, I started the search for a new job. Despite the rather stagnant job market, I thank God that I managed to land an accounting role in a company (situated in the west). However, my job scope requires me to regularly stay back past 6.30pm, so as to balance the accounts. As a result, I skipped a number of prayer meetings to finish my work.
During that time, at the urging of a friend, I signed up for the combined GYF-GYAF retreat held at Pulai Springs, Johor in December 2019. This was despite knowing it would be very hard to request time off from my work (I was still on probation) to attend the retreat. Thank God my request to my boss was granted, and I went ahead cheerfully. At the retreat, a brother “quizzed” me regarding my irregular attendance in prayer meetings. When I shared my difficulties due to my workload, that brother admonished me to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” (Matt 6:33). It dawned on me that missing prayer meetings was becoming much more frequent in my life, and I had better take the initiative to start attending prayer meeting regularly!
For the past few months, Pastor Koshy had been preaching regularly on the burden of the church to have more full-time workers, to have more young adults stepping up to the great responsibility of consecrating their lives to serve God. Being intrigued, I started asking a brother (who is a church staff) about the struggle and difficulties that he faced. He shared with me that serving God was not a mere simple task, but requires one to be committed till the very end of one’s life. For Jesus said unto the people who desired to follow him but was distracted by their own burdens in life, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
To discern whether I have the calling, that brother advised me to pray for God to show me His will. He also shared with me the important presence of two key things: there must be a sincere desire to serve, and there must be a position that is available. By God’s providence, it was around about the same time, I heard of a sister who would be leaving the ministry due to her upcoming marriage and her new responsibilities as a wife.
Now, those who are thinking of following Christ are expected to put in serious thought and consideration. “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish” (Luke 14:28-30). The same principles must be applied to full-time service. So, I sat there and did a spreadsheet, writing each of my concerns down and prayed about them. However, the Lord reminded me that since even the fowls of the air are fed, how much more God will do so to me? I was able to see God’s sovereign Hand working at each point of my life, from providing an internship in Perth even when chances seemed bleak (because of Australia’s protectionist policies) to even providing a second job (which involves accounts) for me.
However, the decision to enter into full-time ministry wasn’t easy. At that time, a shipping company expressed interest in my resume which I had sent out during my job-hunting earlier. I was sorely tempted to gain more experience outside first, before stepping foot into the ministry. Thankfully, I spoke with Pastor, who advised me that there’s no place for double-mindedness in the ministry. Being in the ministry, one has to be steadfast and not wavering in decision-making.
Not long after, when Covid-19 pandemic hits, I was quite fearful that it might be much more difficult even to resign from the company – for instead of the traditional way of personally handing the resignation letter over to my director, I had to do so over an email, not knowing how the other side would react! Thank God that when I explained my decision to want to serve God by serving in my church, she relented and even told me that I did not have to serve my two weeks’ resignation notice!
The first few weeks in the office wasn’t easy because of the need to adapt quickly to the church’s daily operations, and also to handle the impending audit. (Thank God for Sis Joey’s assistance in replying to the auditor’s queries, and also in preparing the documents for submission.)
I would like to end off by sharing a couple of verses from the hymn, ‘Give of your best to the Master’, written by Howard B. Grose:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give Him first place in your heart;
Give Him first place in your service;
Consecrate every part.
Give, and to you will be given;
God His beloved Son gave;
Gratefully seeking to serve Him,
Give Him the best that you have.
May this hymn remind me to constantly give my best to God and do my best for His glory!
Written by Norefel Resuma
“Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6). God is sovereign! When I first came to Singapore in 2008, it was merely for economic reasons, but little did I know that the sovereign God has brought me to this “foreign” land for a greater purpose. It never occurred to me that one day I will be working full-time in His vineyard, for I know that I will never be worthy to serve Him. Yet despite my sins and weaknesses, the Lord has been graciously preparing me for the work ahead. Here’s a brief recollection of God’s leading and directing in my life in the past 12 years.
I came to Singapore during the 2008 economic recession, and for the first time I had to experience how difficult it is to find a work. Still looking for a job, I was first brought to Gethsemane by Pr Donald dela Cruz (at that time he was still working as an engineer), to join the Gethsemane Filipino Fellowship (GFF). Thank God for the faithful preaching of God’s Word by Pr Dennis Kabingue and because I was blessed by the biblical teachings I received, I sincerely prayed that the Lord may grant me a pass to stay in Singapore, not so much to earn a living but to learn more of His Word, and grow in my spiritual walk. Though I was then already a believer (having accepted the Lord Jesus during my university days), yet I was struggling with worldliness and sin, and desperately longing for faithful and deep teaching of God’s Word. Thank God for answered prayer after 4 months. As I stayed in Gethsemane, I started joining the Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting and the English Worship Service on top of the GFF and the Kababayan Bible Study (KBS). I received abundant blessings from the Lord both spiritually and physically. The Lord provided me a wife through the GFF. Who could have thought I will marry a person whom I only got to know for less than a year? Undaunted, I made that momentous decision, having learned and been convicted of the Lord through the faithful preaching of God’s Word by Pastor Koshy.
Fast forward to 2017. Being zealous in the service of the Lord in GFF and continuously growing in the knowledge of Christ and His word with my wife and 3 children through the numerous preaching of God’s Word by Pastor and other preachers, I felt the increasing burden to serve the Lord more but not full-time. I prayed that if it is God’s will for me to serve, the Lord may make it clear. It was also during this time that I started to entertain the idea of exploring opportunities overseas or even returning to the Philippines as living in Singapore for foreigners with families is getting more difficult, especially financially. But all the plans of leaving Singapore did not come to fruition because every time I tried to take one step forward, the Word of God through Pastor always ministered to me, and I ended up staying on. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). I learned through the years, in Gethsemane, to humbly accept and submit to God’s Word for it is our guide for Christian living. And to obey God’s appointed under-shepherd in Pastor, having observed how he practised what he preached which is the same example I want to inculcate in my children. These are the main reasons why I remain in Singapore, and Gethsemane in particular, in spite of many other opportunities overseas. But even then, I never planned to stay in Singapore this long.
As time passed by, being convicted of prioritising the Lord, His church and family over work, I started to feel that my work in the company is becoming more and more frivolous. I became less interested with all the technology advancements, and just tried to do whatever is necessary. By God’s grace and strength, we strove as a family to join all the church fellowship meetings on Saturdays and even Bible Witness retreats; never did we miss a church camp since we started joining in 2009! Come 2018, when Pastor announced the Turkey-Israel Bible Study Tour, we prayed that we could join. Everyone, especially the children, was very excited. Not knowing the costs, we kept praying and started saving up. Weeks passed, and after knowing the estimated costs for a family of five, we agreed to drop the idea of joining. But just a little more than a month before the team’s departure, there was a severance package that was offered in the company which I am eligible to take. At that time, it seemed like the Lord was leading us to go back to Philippines for good, so I took it. The amount was more than sufficient to even join the Turkey-Israel Bible Study Tour (though the timing was quite tight). Again by God’s providence, there were only 5 seats left and so we did a last minute sign-up. Before our trip to Turkey and Israel, Pastor and Sis Carolyn visited and encouraged us, and that resulted in the change of our earlier plan of going back to Philippines for good.
2019 became an exciting year because we had no idea what was to come. Thank God for granting our desire to get a rented home near the church; I was hoping and praying for a new job nearby as well. When Bro Dennis went back to Philippines for good, I was all the more burdened to stay on for the GFF. I prayed that the Lord may call me to serve Him full-time, but deep down I thought the Lord has other plans for me. So I continued applying for work according to my field and experience, while I patiently waited in prayer. Though I had a handful of interviews, yet deep inside I know it’s going to be difficult to get one that would allow me to remain active in my service to the Lord. I’m very convicted that work is only secondary to church and family, and I wanted to be honest in all my interviews when being asked how committed I would be if I were given the position I was applying for. I trusted the Lord that if it is His will for us to stay in Singapore, His providence will prove it – I just need to make sure that I’m doing His will.
Months passed and still no work. Then one day, I got a call from Pastor asking me about my situation. He shared to me about a possible position in the church, but emphasised that I won’t be paid as much as I was getting previously and just told me to pray about it. Though I wanted to serve the Lord right then, I did not want to jump in because I was not sure. I understood that the Lord must call. In my mind, being a foreigner in Singapore, God’s calling for me is to work outside and serve the Lord part-time in the church. So I did not follow up with Pastor, and just continued with all my applications while at the same time serving the Lord in the GFF. Then one day, the Lord tested me – I was about to go for a final interview and a possible contract signing. But as that was scheduled on a Tuesday afternoon, I declined because I may have to miss the prayer meeting. It was moved to Thursday that week but a day before, that company announced a hiring freeze. Coincidence? No, God’s providence!
Even then, I was still hesitating to serve the Lord full-time – to the point of literally asking the Lord to allow me to find work before Pastor comes to me again. Around this time, I was also preparing my family if in case the Lord will finally open that opportunity for me. I tried to encouraged them to be ready and willing to sacrifice and go through suffering, if the Lord requires.
Then one night, Pastor called and shared that wonderful opportunity being offered to me, backed by the unanimous decision of the Elders. When he then asked for my response, I replied him, “What else can I say? It is God answering my prayer and confirming it through my Pastor and Elders!” I thank the Lord that in God’s appointed time, He allowed me to serve Him full-time.
I started serving the Lord full-time in May 2019. It was a mixed feeling of excitement and anxiety. Even until today, I still feel the same way every now and then. I was excited because serving the Lord full time is a privilege and only available to those whom God has called. And having that understanding is more than enough to motivate me to give my all as the Lord enables me day by day. Yet at the same time I do feel anxious, for I was responsible for the effective and efficient functioning of the office of GBWL, covering a range of administrative, financial, accounting, systems and managerial tasks. Furthermore, being an engineer by profession, I did not have any prior experience with regard to the office requirements of the church; but thank God for His grace and wisdom. The Lord has sustained me thus far. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
On top of my office-related tasks in GBWL, I continue to coordinate the activities of the GFF, and assist Pastor, the Elders and Deacons, preachers, co-labourers and church members on matters relating to the church. I am convicted that as a full-time worker, I must be willing and ready to do whatever is needed for the day. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Praise the Lord that there is so much work in the Lord’s vineyard – it is indeed toil and labour! I earnestly pray that somehow in the course of doing the work, I may be a blessing to Pastor and my co-labourers, and at the same time maintaining a life of holiness as a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. My greatest fear is not that I may not be able to accomplish the work, but that I may be doing it with unclean hands and an impure heart. God forbid!
Brethren, I seek your prayer that I may be faithful and unwavering in the Lord’s calling for me, sanctifying myself daily to be holy and blameless, serving the Lord for His glory.
Written by Matthew Peh
I thank the Lord for this opportunity to recollect God’s calling in my life, and how He used my circumstances to call me to be His labourer.
The greatest sin that has been plaguing me—a struggle which I continue to face even today—is pride. From my primary school days to university, I did relatively well in my studies. I remember in university, I had lecturers, professors, and friends asking if I were going to do a PhD in linguistics. I entertained such thoughts in my mind, with aspirations of doing well in the academic arena. Alas, man proposes, God disposes. God used three main incidents in my university life to redirect me into His vineyard.
First, failing to get a scholarship with MOE after my ‘A’ levels. Friends who did not do as well as me could get the scholarship, but I couldn’t. I was disheartened, but I ‘comforted’ myself by saying at least I wasn’t tied down to MOE. Second, not doing well for my honours thesis (HT). My HT was cross-disciplinary, combining insights from linguistics (my major), geography and sociology. I was so proud of it, for few undergraduates would attempt such an ambitious topic. I thought I would do well, but I did not do as well as I had expected. Third, the struggle with unemployment for half a year upon graduating in 2016. I was very sure that my good results would yield many job offers. Yet, I wasn’t even called up for interviews. I only managed to land a job through a friend’s recommendation.
Yet, with hindsight, I see God’s providence at work. If I had a scholarship, I would be bonded and wouldn’t be able to serve God immediately at His call. If I had done well in my thesis, I would have furthered my studies. As for the job that I had, because of the amount of free time during my office hours, I took the time to learn website building.
In November 2017, I had quit my job and did some freelance work. As I had more free time, I helped out in the church office. Specifically, I offered to revamp the BW website. During such time, I had the opportunity to review some of the older issues of the BW magazine. Volume 15, Issue 5 (‘Redeeming the Time’) was one that caught my attention. It contains sermons preached by Rev. Reggor during the 2009 church camp, which I was unable to attend due to National Service. An article, ‘The Brevity of Time’, reminded me about the shortness of life. It struck me that I had spent most of my life doing things that were unprofitable.
The Lord then reminded me of Ecclesiastes 12:1, where Solomon tells the reader to “remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth”. In addition, during one of my devotions, I read from Psalm 100:2a—“Serve the LORD with gladness”. Psalm 100 exhorts the congregation to praise the LORD for His goodness and everlasting mercies upon His people. After reading that devotion by Spurgeon, I was moved by the Spirit to read Matthew Henry’s commentary on the same psalm. In it, the commentary mentioned that “we should serve the Lord, [that we] should devote ourselves to his service and employ ourselves in it”. Through Psalm 100, God reminded me that there is great joy to be found in serving Him. Indeed, the joylessness I felt in my previous job is a stark contrast with joy in serving in His vineyard. On a personal note, I must not forget that the greatest joy, next to having the privilege to serve God, is meeting my wife while labouring for Him.
While I had entered the Lord’s vineyard thinking that my main role would be a graphic designer, God chose to add more to my plate. The additional work includes the Bible Witness Web Radio (BWWR) maintenance, church websites’ maintenance, and the running of the video systems in Gethsemane Media Centre (GMC).
For BWWR, while Sis. Melissa does the recording work of the radio programmes, the everyday running of BWWR is handled by me. When the BWWR had to go through a revamp, I had to spend days trying to figure out the new system. Thank God for the grace to do so. As to the day-to-day running of the radio, queuing the monthly devotions and the weekly programmes become a part of my work routine as well.
Additionally, during the renovation phase of GMC, the Board of Elders appointed me to be part of the technical team. I had to source for video equipment for the new building. While I had some knowledge about audio-visual systems, this was a mammoth undertaking. I thank God for wisdom to help in the video system planning for GMC. There were a lot of oversights during this project, but I thank God that the video system works for most of our purposes.
With the completion of GMC, it seems as though a little bit more was “piled onto the plate”. I now have to help run the video systems. I have to admit that I actually have very limited knowledge on our video system, and a lot of what I do is simply through trial and error (of course, led by God’s unseen Hand of guidance). Much testing and re-testing is still required today to run the system. Thank God for the wisdom to do so. I thank the Lord for the wisdom to figure out a way to use our studio to hold Zoom conferences. We held a Pastors’ Conference prior to the “circuit breaker” period with this set-up. Now, this same set-up is used on Mondays, during Pastor Koshy’s GBI “pastoral training” sessions (with Bro. Cornelius, Pr Xin Kai, Pr Sujith, and Pr Kelvin).
Indeed, it would seem like these days, my originally-slated primary role as a graphic designer and doing layouts is overshadowed by all the other work. Thank God for grace and strength to plod on and to accomplish all these work.
During this time of pandemic, I see how God has used the work we do to help people continue to worship God—albeit in a less-than-ideal manner. Thank God for grace given to Pastor, Sis. Melissa, and myself in running the Sunday services and Tuesday Night prayer meetings from the studio level, during the circuit breaker and post-circuit breaker periods. Thank God also for Bro. Arnold who helped with the Chinese worship service YouTube videos, as well as for Bro. Andronicus and Sis. Dorcas who ran the live broadcasts from Pastor’s home for a few weeks. There’s much to thank God for, including the provision of equipment, and the wisdom to do the work.
When the government mandated that all had to work from home during the circuit breaker and Phase 1 periods, I thank the Lord that the work that I had been allotted to did not suffer. From my home, I could continue to work on the Bible Witness magazine, update the church websites and also the programmes on BWWR. Thank God for the ability to work remotely.
Right now, a number of BW publications are in the works: the next issue of Bible Witness, the Chinese translation of Pastor’s 365 Daily Exhortations, the children’s devotionals (My Soul’s Delight Volumes 2 and 3), the calendar for next year. All of these have to be done in the short span of less than a month, as much time has to be given to the printers to prepare all these materials. Please pray for God’s strength and mercy to be upon me as I endeavor to finish these.
In more recent weeks, when we held services in groups of 50 at GMC, the audio-visual set-up had to once again be changed. Thank God for the wisdom and ability to adapt to the changes quickly. Though we are back in SingPost for services, things are still not completely ‘back to normal’, for the audio set-up is different from pre-coronavirus days. Again, we have to pray for God’s wisdom in trying out this new Sunday set-up. May the brethren bear with the audio-visual team during this teething phase.
Indeed, God’s work can only be done with His sustaining grace. May God continue to help us.
Written by Arnold Diaz
I came to know of Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church in 2005, through an invitation from a friend during our Saudi Arabia days. He said to me, “Come to church, we have a good pastor from India.” So I attended and after going through my catechism classes every Sunday, I was baptised that same year in December.
Coming from Catholic and Charismatic backgrounds, I thank God for Pastor Koshy’s uncompromising preaching against sin, in particular against liquor and drinking. Sadly, my friend left the church because he cannot give up his drinking. Some years later, he “unfriended” me on Facebook because I didn’t buy him duty-free liquor as he requested me. How sad – liquor in exchange for friendship and Lord’s counsel. No wonder Pastor lamented that people leave the church for their own convenience. “But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: and they walked in their own counsels” (Psalm 81:11-12).
I also learn about the need to give tithes and honour the Lord on Sundays. Once, I tried not to give my tithe one Sunday (of $100) as I wanted to buy something. On Monday, I went back to work and made a mistake, which cost a cut of $300 from my salary! “Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6).
I am also struck by Pastor’s teachings on family life. Pastor has repeatedly preached that a mother should stay at home for the sake of a godly family. I realise this the hard way. My mother was a nurse and a workaholic. During the 1970’s, my mother could take home at least S$1,000 a month. But there were consequences. As my father was working, so we were left alone with maids and learn the ways of the maid. When I reached secondary school, I learned to smoke, drink and even drive without license – even my father cannot control me anymore. My mother would just give money whenever I need it, just to compensate for her absence from home. She didn’t know me very well because she only spent very few hours with me. Many local families didn’t realise that what children need from young is for their mother to understand them and guide them while growing up. This is because of lack of knowledge of the Gospel and shallow preaching from the pulpit in our place – “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6).
In the light of my situations I experienced in Philippines, the more I listen to Pastor Koshy’s preaching, the more it gave me hope and understanding of the Lord’s ways – including topics like suicide, eating of blood, celebrating valentines, tithing, drinking, smoking, stay-at-home mothers, etc. Truly, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education” (Theodore Roosevelt).
In hindsight, my love for photography, photo-manipulation and photo-shop was a preparation for me to enter into full-time ministry. When Pastor asked me if I may consider to work full-time as videographer, I said I didn’t have any formal training or experience. His reply was, “You’ll learn as the Lord leads you.” Despite financial uncertainties and objections from some relatives, I didn’t want to waste the opportunity to serve the Lord. Because of my love of photography, I still did freelance photography outside with my friends. One day during the Lunch Hour Bible Study, 2 of the brethren rebuked me. Though theirs were simple words only, the Lord gave me understanding: “…for them that honour me I will honour” (1 Samuel 2:30). Pastor in one of his messages said, “You cannot serve the Lord if you don’t repent.” My past had been spent in much worldliness growing up in Philippines, working in Saudi Arabia and Singapore. But now working as a full-time staff, I need to repent everyday, and ask for the Lord’s wisdom, and not to do things in my old, unspiritual ways. May God help me to embrace the instruction of Proverbs 1:5-7, “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Thank God that in video-recording the messages, it’s really a great blessing that I can access any messages of Pastor and listen again and take note of some of Pastor’s quotes and Scripture verses dear to my heart. I am grateful to realise that what I have recorded, rendered and uploaded on our website can reach many homes who are craving for the Word of God. It really amazes me how the Lord works in the heart of Pastor. Again, I’ve seen how the Lord used Gethsemane during this pandemic through “Zoom” meetings and recorded messages. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
As I serve according to God’s calling, I realise there’s no quitting in the service of the Lord. I used to plan to settle down and stay in Pangasinan and help Pr Donald in the ministry. But this is my plan, not the Lord’s plan. I also missed my children when they were growing up. I left them since 2005, when they were 9 and 10 years old. So they practically grew up with my in-laws. I am not with them. My Lord knows my heart very well, I really missed being together with my family and maybe attend church service together with them, but we are very far from each other. I just pray and wait for the Lord, for “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
In working as a full-time staff, I try not to limit my availability only when others need me. I am not perfect, but the Lord gave me an opportunity to serve Him and learn from Him. I have my weakness, but He teaches me to be humble and repent from sin. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14). May the Lord be praised!
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.
Written by Melissa Mah
I thank God for the gracious call to serve Him in the fulltime ministry. Not only is the Lord merciful to save me from my sinful, self-pleasing ways, He has also granted me a part in His Gospel ministry. That I have an opportunity to serve Him – what a blessed privilege the eternal King has bestowed upon an undeserving sinner as I! Just as the apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy…” (1 Timothy 1:15b-16a).
In my late teens and early adulthood, I lived a life that was attracted by the glittering allurements of this world, seeking its pleasures and comforts, just like the worldly-wise-but-spiritually-foolish unbelieving people, forsaking the spiritual instructions and counsels in God’s Word despite learning them from a young age. Those were foolish paths that would only lead to a soul’s perilous end. However, the tender Shepherd showed great mercy not to forsake me in condemnation, but to lovingly bring me back to the fold, and even opened the door to service in His glorious Gospel work. The response, in the words of one hymn-writer, was: “love so amazing so divine, demands my love my life my all.”
But how does one know he or she is called to serve God full-time? That question lingered in my mind for a considerable length of time, until the Lord Himself showed the answer. I prayed to the Lord that if it was His will for me to serve Him with my life, He would help me know it without a doubt. Isaiah 65:24 says, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Truly, the assurance of God through prayer is the promise that every seeking soul can hope and rejoice in.
Thus in July 2006, through various circumstances in life and God’s providential leading, the Lord convicted my heart to surrender my life to serve Him, through the words and ministry of the apostle Paul who wrote: “For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:9). The apostle Paul’s attitude in the service of God was one of “labour and travail”. Instead of being anxious or fearful at the testimony of the hard labour required, I knew God was speaking to me through His Word and the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart. I took these words as God’s call and command for the days ahead, and set aside all worldly ambition to serve the Lord. The Lord had clearly laid out His expectations of my service.
I am mindful of how God had called me to serve Him, and am learning to fulfil the call to serve Him each day. None of us, with our gross sins and weak wills, truly deserve to serve so holy and awesome a Master. Yet He has sanctified us and counted us worthy of the call through the cleansing blood of Christ His Son. For this reason, we humbly labour to be accepted of Him when He comes (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9), remembering that the measure of our work is not done by us, but by God who sees every thought, motive and deed, “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Corinthians 10:18).
From the first day God called me, the instruction He gave to me was that the life of service would mean arduous toil, requiring whole-hearted commitment and love for His work, to which I have strived to fulfil by God’s strength and by keeping close to Him in submission to His Word and will. Through the past 14 years, the Lord has granted joy, peace and His abiding presence as I serve Him. He also gives daily strength and resolve to be faithful in spite of human weaknesses. Without His help, we are unable to fulfil any calling in life, for He, being in possession of everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4), is the Supply of our strength.
It is a daily task to unburden myself from every load that binds me to this world, in order to be approved as a faithful worker. As Scripture instructs us, we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). The Lord’s work needs all of our devotion, and it must be done with God-given wisdom and haste. Jesus commanded us to follow His example, to work “while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). The Master has allowed me entrance to His vineyard, so I must labour whole-heartedly. Christ, who has called us, strengthens us by His might to go through the course He has set before us. The difficulties along the path are joyous and not burdensome, if we look unto Him, for He has promised, “my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).
The Lord is our great Resource in all the work we do for Him. He supplies and sustains His work. I am neither IT savvy, nor do I possess a natural liking for technical things. So, I praise God for His gracious enablement to learn the skills needed to manage the audio recording system that our church has invested in over the past 14 years, and thereby to do my part in the propagation of the Gospel throughout the world.
Much skills and resources are needed to effectively carry out the work of God in a church like ours. In Bible Witness Media Ministry (BWMM), and Bible Witness Web Radio (BWWR), there is so much that we desire to accomplish but often the labourers are few. It is an on-going struggle to create and maintain good, spiritually edifying content to be broadcast on BWWR, and this often brings frustration and disappointment to me. Nonetheless, I praise and thank God that the Lord has preserved the ministries He has led us into, and while some abandon the work, others see its value and offer sacrificial service. I thank God for bringing Sis Sharon dela Cruz back to assist in BWMM this year, and for her labours to edit audio content for BWWR. Similarly, the Lord has recently granted us another extra pair of hands in Sis Dorcas Koshy, who has joyfully contributed much content for BWWR in the recent month.
These are God’s provisions for His own work, but there is still a great need for skilled young minds with vigour to serve Him without delay, having understood the great worth of the things of eternity. Many times we have undertaken mammoth tasks, which I worried we could not fulfil, but the Lord has always been a gracious Provider of all the resources and spiritual mettle we needed to complete each project. With every work, I have experienced the blessed Hand of the Master who has proven Himself to be the One that unfailingly guides and accomplishes His work.
In 1 Corinthians 14:34, women are instructed to “be under obedience” to the authorities God has placed in the church. Over the years, the Lord has also helped me to understand the role of a woman serving in the ministry. Serving mostly among brothers-in-Christ, I am acutely aware that fulfilling my calling requires me to follow the leadership of godly men – namely the (faithful) pastor, preachers and church leaders – as I serve in areas as the Lord would direct. My duty is to support their attempts to preach the Gospel and edify God’s people. Through the caring and upright ways of my co-labourers, I have learnt how a woman ought to serve and conduct herself in the work of the Lord. By obeying the Biblical patterns for women in service and learning from the mistakes of others, I have received much blessings serving in this church office, which has been a special and wonderful place to work in. Having a place where we are of the same mind towards God, His work and one another, is indeed God’s favour upon our ministry.
The sovereign Lord plants our footsteps, not we ourselves. He has been good to show many ways in which I could be a part of His glorious Gospel work, for which I am thankful and humbled. He has taught me patience, meekness and submission to His will. He also granted the joy of serving Him. I do not know what other areas of service or appointments in this life the Lord would set for me, but I pray I would be faithful in every task, great or small, labouring daily to be accepted of Him and to please Him. For this, I rest on the promise of God in 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” I am made a useful vessel only because of His abounding grace each day. Trusting in the Lord, I am greatly assured that He will fulfil His purposes in me.
Finally, I am aware that the greatest battle in the service of God is the battle against self – not only dealing with my own weaknesses, but also struggling against sin, distracting thoughts and ‘feeble’ emotions, yet desiring to fear the Lord, to walk in His ways, to love and serve Him with all my heart and all my soul (cf. Deuteronomy 10:12). Certainly, much daily labour is needed in order to be able to fulfil God’s call and be counted faithful – labour to be holy, labour to flee sinful enticements, labour to be rid of pride and selfishness, labour to see our own weaknesses, labour to resist being discouraged and dejected, labour to bring everything to God in prayer. Daily self-examination and repentance is necessary, with God’s gracious help, in order to prove one’s calling. We must deny self – not squandering the time, life and opportunities He has given, in trivial pursuits. Let us cast aside things that do not count for eternity, to serve Him with our all, before life is past. To the Lord be all glory and praise.
Written by Lok Kwok Wah
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Ephesians 6:6-7). Thank God for granting me much grace and strength to serve in His vineyard. Despite having to face many challenges and endure many trials in serving the Lord, I know that nothing gives me greater joy than serving Him in the midst of His people. As a worker of the Lord, I desire to do whatever He calls me to do, and constantly remind myself (as the apostle Paul admonishes in the above verse) that it is God whom I serve and please above all else.
Many years ago, as a young believer in Christ, the Lord put a great desire in my heart to serve Him full-time. At that point in time, I had no inkling as to how God would ever call me to serve Him. Praise be to God, God has His way of leading and preparing those whom He has chosen to serve Him. In the intervening years, He had allowed me to work as a shipping coordinator, as well as a Christian bookroom manager. With hindsight, these experiences had helped to prepare me for my full-time ministry in terms of exposure to administrative duties and Christian literature.
By God’s providence in the 1990’s, I met Pastor Koshy on several occasions while I was worshipping in my previous church and when I visited Gethsemane B-P Church on occasion. Pastor Koshy shared with me his burden to start a Christian literature ministry in Gethsemane, which would entail someone to serve alongside him full-time! Indeed, as Ecclesiastes 3:1 says: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” God has, in His perfect time, called me to serve in Gethsemane as a full-time support staff in January 2001. Having put my hand to the plough, there is no turning back. As Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
That year (2001) also witnessed the launch of the first publication of the Bible Witness magazine (which was a brainchild of Pastor Koshy) under the Bible Witness Literature Ministry. Thank God for Pastor’s hard work and commitment, which saw his burden for sound Christian literature come to fruition. Over the years, his written works have also included the following: “365 Daily Exhortations from God’s Word”, “My Soul’s Delight” and Gospel tracts. In the same spirit of William Carey, Pastor believes that one should expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. It has been a privilege since then to co-labour with Pastor, who is always focused on spreading the Gospel and edifying the saints through the written word, both locally and in faraway lands. This desire of his to propagate the Gospel is founded on the basis of Acts 1:8, where the Lord says: “…ye shall be witnesses unto me”.
In the early stage of production, we faced challenges in sourcing for articles, editing them, planning the layout, right down to the final printing and distribution. Oftentimes, we had difficulties looking for committed writers, as well as printing companies that could meet our requirements. However, the Lord has never failed to strengthen His faithful servant, our Pastor, who had to cope with much work in the church, on top of his many preaching engagements. Despite this, he frequently wrote articles for the Bible Witness magazine and continues to do so today. By God’s grace, Pastor eventually managed to assemble a regular team of writers, proofreaders, as well as layout and illustration artists. Praise the Lord also that my wife Jenny is able to serve together with me (from home) as one of the proofreaders. This has stood me in good stead, particularly in the early stage of the editorial work (before Pr Ho Kee How joins the ministry as assistant editor). To me, it is most crucial that Jenny, as a housewife, is committed to being a keeper at home (Titus 2:5), so that I may focus on my ministry work.
In 2004, the Bible Witness Literature Ministry was renamed “Bible Witness Media Ministry” (BWMM) to include modern media such as CD, VCD, DVD, Internet, etc. In 2005, the Lunch Hour Bible Study was set up to provide an avenue for like-minded brethren who work in the Central Business District to gather for a time of studying God’s Word and prayer. The following year in 2006, the Bible Witness Web Radio (the first Christian Internet Web Radio in Singapore) went on air (24/7), and has since been in operation till today. Thank God that His continual blessings upon BWMM have also led to the launch of GBI-Online in 2015.
In line with my work in BWMM, I also assist Pastor in organising Bible Witness Retreats and Holy Land Bible Study Tours. Besides these, my responsibilities also include the upkeep of the church vans and any administrative matter that requires attention, from time to time. Being in the fulltime ministry and having served with Pastor thus far, I am often reminded that “whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23).
Since 2007, I have served as a deacon in the Session of Gethsemane BPC – in various roles, including Assistant Treasurer (counting of offerings and depositing the collections in the bank) and Assistant Clerk-of-Session. Thank God also for the opportunity to be leading the Ushers’ Ministry (2009-2016).
In 2019, when the church acquired a B1 industrial building – Gethsemane Media Centre (GMC) – and started renovations, I was given a new responsibility as Operations Manager, which includes handling the maintenance of the building and its daily operations. To date, I am still learning the ropes of keeping the GMC running. Certainly, I have many struggles in understanding the technical aspects of the operation work. Nevertheless, I pray that the Lord will be gracious and merciful to help me to work more efficiently for His glory. As Jesus has said in John 9:4, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” May Christ’s wonderful example help me to stay focused in my service for Him. All glory be unto God.
Written by Samson Hutagalung
I am thankful to the Lord for saving me in my teens while I was still in high school. I realise that I was a destitute sinner, deserving nothing but judgment. Though I was brought up in a Christian family and lived in a Christian community, that did not make me a Christian. It was the Word of God preached, that caused me to realise that I was a condemned sinner who needed God’s mercy and grace for all my sins to be forgiven me.
Upon completion of my high school, I came to Batam to search for a job. For several months, I was searching for a church which could help me to grow spiritually. I attended different churches for that purpose. By God’s providence, in the midst of searching for a room to stay, I met a brother who was also searching for a place like me, and we rented a room together. He subsequently invited me to join him for an evening Bible study in the shipyard dormitory, which I did – though reluctantly at first, as it was quite a distance away, and travelling there would require passing through a rural area in the night. There I met a FEBC graduate conducting the Bible Study.
When I attended the Bible study, I loved the way the Word of God was expounded and felt being blessed and encouraged to follow and love the Lord. I continued to join the meeting and the church in town. After some time, I got involved in various ministries of the church. Joining the preacher in various ministries every Sunday, from morning to evening, was a joy for me!
As I continued to worship and serve the Lord in whatever area I could, I felt the call of the Lord when I first heard Matthew 9:37-38 preached during a Sunday service. I continued to meditate on that passage when I got home. I felt the call and a burden to serve the Lord, and to preach the Gospel to unsaved ones. “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
Then, Romans 10:14-15 was another passage that spoke to me in the same period of time. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
I knew that the Lord had called me and laid a burden in my heart to serve Him, but I dared not speak to anyone. I felt that I was unworthy for such a holy ministry. Often, I tried to forget the burden by telling myself that I still had to fulfil my responsibility towards my parents and to support my siblings’ education. In my heart was a great struggle, and at the same time I lost interest to continue my job in a company as I was thinking about serving the Lord.
It took me more than a year to finally make a decision. Matthew 6:33 was used by the Lord to comfort and strengthen me in making a decision when the Lord said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” I entrusted all things unto God, trusting that the Lord would help my parents in their needs.
With the strength and comfort from the Lord, on October 1994, I resigned from my work and stayed in the church in preparation for my theological study. On 2nd January 1995, I came to Far Eastern Bible College.
I thank the Lord for His grace and mercy in seeing me through my studies. After 5½ years, I completed my studies and went back to serve the Lord at Calvary Batam as a preacher, as well as a librarian and academic dean in the Bible College there. What a joy I had, as at last I could serve the Lord and God’s people! I was grateful to the Lord for His enabling grace in all the ministries I had for 6 years in serving the Lord in the church and Bible College.
In July 2006, I came back to FEBC for further studies, which I completed in 2007 (pending completion of my thesis). Upon my return, however, I felt that I did not have a place to serve. So, I started a service in my home, attended by my family, a maid, a friend and his wife. In 2009, upon the invitation of Gethsemane BPC (Batam), I joined the church – until November 2012.
In December 2012, my family and I came over to Singapore for the purpose of my daughter’s primary school education. We started attending Gethsemane BPC (Singapore) for the first time. In August 2013, by the grace of God, Pastor Koshy, together with the Board of Elders, accepted me as a missionary preacher, designated with the main task of establishing GBI Online.
It has been 7 years since I have become part of the ministry of Gethsemane BPC. During this period of time, the Lord has been so good and gracious in guiding me to serve Him in GBI Online. Being new to the Learning Management System, and without any background or pre-knowledge and experience in the internet field, I leaned upon the Lord’s guidance. I believed the Lord has directed me to this ministry and He would help me through all the challenges.
Day and night, I came to the Lord and surrendered everything to Him, that He might direct me to the right source and information as I tried to learn everything needed to start GBI Online. He guided me step by step to learn MOODLE (the platform which is used to run GBI Online), to the end that GBI Online may be a useful ministry for His kingdom (cf. Psalm 32:8). He granted me patience to learn, and wisdom to understand things that were needed.
Setting up a course in the GBI Online website and framing up quizzes for every subject is challenging. Praise be to God, GBI Online has been running well since we launched it on January 2015. My heart is thankful and joyful when I see God’s people from different parts of the world learning God’s Word through GBI Online! To date, 166 students are learning God’s Word online, and more would join us when we let the world know about this ministry (cf. Matthew 28:19).
In June 2015, I was involved for the first time in the editing of video lectures taught by Pastor Koshy. The aim was to enhance the presentation of the video lectures for students’ greater spiritual enjoyment. It took hours to edit each lecture. However, it is a double blessing for me as I listened to each lecture again and again. It gave me a better understanding when I spent time in editing all the video lectures.
On Friday, 13th May 2016, I had my first ministry to Calvary Kuching, attended by Bro. Jeremy Teo and family. It was basically a Bible Study on a Friday evening. In December 2016, I spent (for the first time) two weeks ministering in Kuching – for prayer meeting, Sunday service, Christmas Eve service and New Year service. Since then, I have been staying there for about two weeks every time I was scheduled to go there – until the disruption caused by the global pandemic.
During this global pandemic, I was given an opportunity to serve the Lord at Calvary Kuching via Skype for prayer meeting, youth fellowship and Sunday service. By God’s grace, our services were never interrupted hitherto.
Truly, the Lord is gracious and merciful to His people. May the Lord continue to help and use me for the ministry. All praise be to the Lord. Amen.
Written by Kelvin Lim
By the grace of God working in my life, I see God’s calling in my life as under three aspects: God’s calling, God’s training and serving God.
Serving the Lord is a lifelong struggle on earth in learning to submit to His blessed will. Often we have to say, “not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Yet, one cannot resist God’s call when he hears it! For me, the call to serve the Lord came in the year 2002. I was reading Paul’s epistle to the Romans when those rhetorical questions in Romans 10:14 “jumped out” at me. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”
Indeed, how will the unbelievers call on Jesus whom they do not believe, and how can they believe on Jesus whom they have not heard? That is, how can they hear the Gospel of Christ unless someone is sent to tell them about it! At that time, I was working in The Helping Hand (THH), a Christian drug-rehabilitation centre, where my fellowship with God was restored and I came to know Pastor Koshy while I was a resident there. Subsequently, THH sent me to join Gethsemane B-P Church (GBPC) for her Sunday activities, and I became a member in December 2000.
As I grew spiritually under the faithful ministry of the Word, I knew that the Lord saved me from my sins to serve Him in the new life He has given. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Furthermore, I recalled Jesus’ charge to Peter: “… and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32). Therefore, there is this burden laid in my heart to strengthen the faith of the brethren in THH and to reach out to those under the bondage of drug addictions with the life-transforming Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
I went to see Pastor Koshy and shared with him the Lord’s call. At that time, I was pursuing a Certificate in Substance Abuse Counselling, which would qualify me as a Substance Abuse counsellor worldwide. Naturally, I was not willing to give it up to answer God’s call into the full-time ministry! But Pastor’s advice was, “If the Lord calls you to serve Him, why bother to obtain any secular qualifications. Obey the Lord, go and study God’s Word in Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC).” Then he added, “Secular counselling can never be as effective as biblical counselling!” However, I begged to differ with him, as in my heart, I was satisfied with just attending the night classes in FEBC for equipping myself in the Word to encourage the brothers in THH, and to evangelise my friends who were addicted to drugs and other substances.
Despite my unwillingness to answer God’s call, He was patient and gracious with me. Over the next two years, He used two incidents to “jolt” me. The first occurred while I was accompanying Pastor Koshy for his overseas speaking engagement. It was my first time there and the local B-P church pastor exhorted me to surrender my life to serve God! I had barely known him and had not told him about my calling. Scarcely could I believe my ears! Still, I refused to submit to the Lord in my heart. I brushed it aside as coincidental, yet deep within I knew it was not!
The second was a minor motor accident which I was involved in. The hairline fracture on my knee confined me indoors for a good number of days. That solitary period of time helped me to relook at my life’s perspectives. If my desire is to serve the Lord, then I must submit to Him and do His will! “Not my will, but thine, be done.” Our church motto kept echoing in my thoughts. Therefore, I submissively went to FEBC on 19th July 2004, to be a full-time student of God’s Word, after struggling over His calling for two years.
In FEBC, I learned many good biblical doctrines and practical lessons. During my first year in FEBC, I was invited by a staff of THH to join them in their prison ministry. Joyfully, I went to see Pastor Koshy and shared with him this wonderful opportunity to serve the Lord. But he was not in favour of it! The reason was that I should be concentrating on the study of God’s Word as a full-time student. He assured me that there will be opportunities in the future to serve the Lord in the prison ministry if God so wills! Yet, I defiantly went ahead to apply for a temporary permit under THH despite a teaching elder’s godly counsel. Though I did receive my temporary permit, somehow I never got to use it! “… ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder” (1 Peter 5:5). This was a most memorable lesson of my theological training. It is one lesson that I will not forget!
Yet another lesson: when God closes a door, He will open a window! In this regard, the Lord paved the way for me to serve Him in the Gethsemane’s Children Ministry (GCM) during my third year in FEBC, even before I completed my theological studies. I believe this “window” of opportunity came upon me because I have been blessed with a “productive” helpmeet. She gave birth to our firstborn son, Joash, and with him, the paternal care towards children in the church started to manifest. Since then, I have been serving the Lord in GCM. Indeed, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
As sinners saved by grace, many parents struggled to bring up their children in the Lord. My observation and biblical insight of the children’s ministry is that though it is a children’s ministry, yet it is the parents that need ministering to! Parents must be exhorted to bring their children for the fellowship meetings. “Children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward” (Psalm 127:3). It has always been a struggle to convince parents who placed secular activities above spiritual blessings, and to bring their children to the house of God!
Hence, let me share some struggles of serving God with you. One of the greatest struggles I had was to write the weekly lesson outlines for Junior Worship Classes. As I laboured to write these lesson outlines week after week, the “intensity of the pen” grew heavier by the day. Often, I stared at the biblical texts from which I was crafting the lesson and cried out to the Lord, “Why is it so difficult to bring out the text, and explain the truth in a simple manner?”
Well, the Lord answered this groan with an astonishing truth: His presence – the presence of God in the lives of His saints is a recurring truth throughout the Scriptures! In Genesis 28:15, God assures Jacob, “behold, I am with thee”; and in Matthew 28:20, our Lord Jesus assures His disciples, “I am with you alway”. How could I miss these truths that are repeatedly mentioned in the Bible to assure God’s children? The discovery of this truth greatly strengthened my hands and enabled me to press on to complete the three-year lesson outlines. Praise the Lord!
The next struggle was about learning to read and speak biblical Chinese! Since the inception of the Chinese service, the Lord has given me opportunities to serve there – as chairman (monthly), as preacher (occasionally) and (sometimes) as interpreter (for the chairman / speaker during combined services and Gethsemane Senior Ministry). Though I did not even pass Chinese in Secondary 1, the Lord was gracious to allow me to serve Him in this aspect.
Then in 2012, Preacher Jeremiah encouraged me to sign up as a volunteer with Singapore Anti-Narcotics Association (SANA) to serve with him in the Prison ministry. This time, I sought Pastor’s blessings first, and with his approval went to apply for the prison pass. Thanks be unto God, it has been an encouraging ministry! It is wonderful to see brethren willing to reach out to the lost in addictions and crimes, and joyful to see some of those ministered to turning to the Lord and be transformed by the power of His Word!
Lastly, I thank God for the many opportunities to help out among the various ministries of both the English and Chinese congregations of our church. As such, I think I’m not too wrong to call myself ‘gap-filler’. May the Lord give me extra grace to study His Word and grant me humility to continue serving Him submissively till He calls me home! Every day in the ministry is by the grace of God. Thank God for a Bible-believing church to serve in. All glory be unto the Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Saviour and Lord!
Written by Ho Kee How
As a young Christian in the 1980’s, I used to look forward to attending missions rallies and conferences organised by missionary groups (such as Keswick Convention, Overseas Missionary Fellowship) and missions-minded churches (many of which had since gone ecumenical). My heart was stirred whenever I heard reports of the Gospel work in the mission fields, and the oft-repeated refrain that “the harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few” (Lk 10:2). But even at that young age, I understood (through my reading of the Bible and stirring Christian books) that not any eager or zealous fellow can enter into that “labour force” – it’s skilled labour! I knew I didn’t have the calibre to be a pastor. To me, a minister of the Gospel requires some ability. He must have the mental capacity to study, for he needs to be able to expound, to feed the flock! Though I did fairly well in school, it was all in the area of written work, not speaking assignments. Knowing my aversion to public speaking and my rather reserved nature, I realise I’m not cut out to be a minister of the Gospel. But the burden to serve the Lord full-time didn’t leave me – though my uninitiated thinking of full-time ministry referred only to “pastor” or “missionary”.
As secular work didn’t interest me very much, I believe I’d have given up all and serve full-time if I had received a clear call from God. Yet I knew I should not go ahead of the Spirit’s leading in my life. Such biblical discretion has stood me in good stead – for had I gone ahead on my own indiscriminately, I’d probably have gone to study theology at SBC or BTS. These being non-committed against inroads made by charismatism and liberal theology, I’d probably come out having my doctrines tainted and faith subverted! I haven’t heard of FEBC or Life Church then. Well, God has His timing…
In the course of time, another door did open for me – “schoolteacher”. Upon becoming preoccupied with pursuing a career as a schoolteacher, I did not expect God to call me into full-time ministry. I’ve always believed that God, in the normal course of affairs, would call His servants while they are young and still in their prime. (Scriptural examples and godly examples throughout church history attest that God’s choicest servants are plucked out of the world and set apart for His ministry early in life.) In the meantime, God providentially led me to Life BP Church in 1990, where my faith was strengthened by Rev Tow’s faithful, scholarly preaching (and incidentally, where I also got married). Some years later, my wife and I met Pastor Koshy through Newton NBS, where we were further nourished by his impassioned teaching of God’s Word. Over time, we were made aware of the needs of the small church at Gethsemane, and felt led to contribute there with our humble gifts and service. Hence our transfer in 1999, with Rev Tow’s blessings. We were asked to serve in the Gethsemane Adults’ Fellowship committee, and were happy serving the Lord in a small way, giving wholehearted support to the ministry in Gethsemane.
Over the years, however, there was an increasing sense of emptiness as I did not find much fulfilment in my work. I felt as if I was engrossed in things that do not matter to God’s kingdom. This heaviness and unease came to a head when I was confronted by God’s Word in Isa 55:2: “Wherefore do ye spend … your labour for that which satisfieth not?” There came a point when I told my wife that I find no more joy in preparing classroom lessons; I’d rather prepare Bible-lessons! By God’s providence, we hear of Pastor Koshy sharing more and more of his burden for an enhanced literature / publications ministry. I felt I could contribute. I don’t have many skills, but I realise I have a knack for words. My “tools” are the 26 letters of the English alphabet – whereby I’m able, by God’s grace, to use a combination of these and organise words into stirring sentences! It was also around about this time that we heard of the need for an assistant editor to help in Bible Witness ministry – in the wake of the church not being able to get an employment pass for the previously appointed personnel, despite repeated attempts at applying. I felt the urge to step in and help; to continue doing my own thing without due consideration for the Lord’s work is downright disobedience and ingratitude! I shared my inner thoughts and burdens with Pastor some time in early 2010, and with Pastor’s encouragement, I enrolled in FEBC in July 2010 for theological studies.
I thank God for the undreamt-of privilege to have studied theology in a sound Bible College (founded expressly to teach a 100% perfect Bible). Though I had not the privilege of studying at the feet of its late founding principal, Rev Tow, I’m nonetheless thankful to have learnt from some of his eminent students, one of whom is our pastor himself. It has been a privilege to be taught by him, and is now an even greater privilege to “co-labour” with him in the editorial ministry.
And now there is this growing awareness that many long-held biblical truths are being systematically distorted and misrepresented by a proliferation of modern English Bible versions, as well as liberal and ecumenical material flooding the Christian market through the media out there. God’s flock, in order to be protected and nurtured, must have constant access to sound biblical reading (and even study) material. In this age of “information explosion”, having good Christian literature is simply not an option but an indispensable channel for biblical teachings to be disseminated. Thus, the need for our church’s enhanced literature ministry has never been greater.
Indeed, “the gospel must first be published among all nations” (Mk 13:10) before the end comes. One ubiquitous and effective way is through the printed page, for “the pen is mightier than the sword”. Truly, while I never expected God to call me at such a “late” age, I realise that God, in His mysterious outworkings, has somehow set me apart to “labour” in the (written) word, which entails essentially the ministry of writing and editing. I feel unworthy, and yet at the same time, honored. God has granted me the desires of my heart. Having put my hand to the plough, I am not unmindful of my ever lurking tendency to fall back and slide into my old ways. My greatest fear is, in the words of Paul, “lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (or disqualified)” (1 Cor 9:27b). Realising that I cannot do without the prayers, encouragement and even admonition of church leaders and God’s people, my prayer is that the Lord may help me walk worthy of Him, and “establish … the work of [my] hands upon [me]” (Ps 90:17) – for His glory and for the edification of His saints.
Written by Jeremiah Sim
It is solely by the grace and mercy of God that I was delivered and redeemed from the bondage of sins to liberty, and that enable me to bear witness for the Lord Jesus of His glory and His salvation to others.
My calling from God to be a preacher came in April 2004. I was then a volunteer at the newly set-up TGCM (The Gethsemane Care Ministry) under our church. While I was serving there, the Lord laid a heavy burden upon me to be a preacher through two verses from His Word. “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no Saviour” (Isaiah 43:10-11). “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). I was perturbed that there are many lost souls who are without the true shepherd and are still outside the kingdom of God. Some of them are my family members, relatives and friends. Therefore,…”how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
After seeking the Lord in prayer, I approached Pastor Koshy and Rev Paul Cheng (who was then a deacon), and shared with them my calling and the need to further equip myself in studying God’s Word. The Board of Elders interviewed me and I was enrolled at the Far Eastern Bible College (FEBC). I am also thankful to God for a supportive wife who encouraged and supported me spiritually in many ways. Having completed my theology courses at FEBC in June 2010, I was appointed to be a preacher to assist Pastor by helping to lead in the Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry and the Lions Home Ministry.
In the same year, the Lord added another burden for me to reach out to the lost souls among the inmates who are confined within the prison cells due to their heinous crimes. With the blessing of Pastor and much prayer, God opened the door of the Changi Prison Complex for me to visit and minister to the inmates in December 2010.
In the year 2019, the Lord again moved me to serve in the Kababayan Bible Study (KBS). With Pastor’s blessing, the Board of Elders agreed to my desire to help and lead in the KBS.
The Lord has been my Overseer all these years as I serve Him in the Seniors’ Ministry. Even though much labour and endeavour are required to reach out to some of these seniors due to the infirmities that beset them, I regard it as an enormous blessing bestowed from God as I preach, teach and extend my right hand of fellowship towards them. In addition, His wisdom and charity also enable me to be patient by remembering the Scriptures: “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4). My heart is most exulted when the unbelieving old folks turn to God for salvation! I am thankful to God for my wife Gina who has been a great help in assisting me to coordinate the necessary arrangements in the Seniors’ Ministry.
The objective of the Lions Home Ministry is similar to that of the Seniors’ Ministry, where it is my desire and zeal to reach out to the elderly with the Gospel message and thus to lead them to Jesus Christ, the only Saviour. Having said this, I am aware that many of the old folks in those homes are physically impaired, and some suffer also from dementia. Their afflictions make them weary and sad too. As they often struggle to cope with their physical disabilities, some of them have come to think of life as futile and meaningless. In such a situation, I find it a necessity and privilege to encourage them with the knowledge of God’s truth that strengthens them with the promises of His grace. A team of brethren and I have rejoiced to witness several of them turning to Christ and thereafter looking unto Jesus as the Author and Finisher of their faith (cf. Hebrews 12:2).
Despite the tough demands and challenges of labouring in these ministries, I find immeasurable blessings and comfort to bear witness of God’s Word to those old folks who are overwhelmed by their ill-health and difficulties. The team of brethren and I take comfort and trust in the promises of God that “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29). We served continually among them, Sunday after Sunday (before the Covid-19 “circuit-breaker” was implemented), only because of His power and strength that are abundant towards me and my fellow co-labourers in the Lord.
I consider it a privilege to be involved in meeting the challenges of proclaiming the Gospel to the “hardcore” convicted unsaved souls at Changi Prison since December 2010. The scope of the Prison Ministry is extensive and immense which requires much wisdom, long-suffering and the love of God to reach out to these hardcore criminals by bringing the Good News to them. I thank God for His grace and mercy upon me as I minister and attend to them with much care and love every Tuesday before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Sure, it is tough work in this ministry, trying to engage the inmates who have been entrenched in gangsterism. Nonetheless, “… it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). Through this ministry, many have also believed and received Jesus Christ as their Saviour and some have diligently sought the Lord for direction upon their release. Some of these had also stayed in The Gethsemane Care Ministry and have been attending our church.
I thank the Lord for the opportunity given to me to minister God’s Word to the brethren at the Kababayan Bible Study once a month. In this ministry, I have learned to know them better and forged a close bonding with them. In this regard, through opportunities given to my wife and me in visiting our Filipino brethren to exhort and pray for them, we thank God for the joy and privilege of fellowshipping with our Filipino brethren.
By the grace of God, I am what I am, being able to continue to labour and serve Him in these ministries. By God’s strength, I am also visiting brethren among the seniors and Filipino brethren (in their homes) to have a short devotion of learning God’s Word and praying for them. Occasionally, I also call our brethren to comfort and share God’s love towards them. God’s Word has constantly guided me while I carry out my duty as a preacher. I am always reminded and, at times, rebuked by God’s Word to carry out my duty as a preacher diligently, by always studying and meditating on His Truth and abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). God has never failed to aid me when I cast all my cares upon Him, knowing that He cares for me (cf. 1 Peter 5:7). I am weak, but He is strong. May I continuously seek the Lord to empower me to labour and serve Him.
Lastly, I like to thank the Lord for Pastor, the Session and all of you who have been showering your love, care, and prayers towards me and my wife Gina. I am truly grateful and thankful to God for all of you, who have indeed been a great blessing to both of us in many areas of our lives. May the Lord bless Gethsemane Bible-Presbyterian Church abundantly for His glory.
Written by Daniel Lim
I count myself not worthy to serve the Lord because of my sins and weaknesses. However, the Lord is gracious and merciful to strengthen me by His grace and power daily, especially through His Word and promises thus far. The Lord is good, who often, by His Word, encourage, renew and help me to persevere in His work though my human strength and wisdom are not equal to the task.
Thank the Lord for this sharing which serves as a reminder of how the Lord by His grace and mercy has called me to serve Him in Gethsemane Chinese Service on Sep 01, 2005 – to declare the Gospel of the Lord and to teach His Word, particularly to our Chinese-speaking brethren.
Firstly, let me highlight a couple of verses that the Lord has impressed upon my heart since I was a young Christian to serve the Lord, which often reminded me as I continue to serve the Lord in the Gospel work up till this day.
Initially as a young Christian, I often struggled with the old English word “suffer”, which new converts would most likely find it hard to understand. I always wonder in my heart, why the Almighty God, who is eternal, all sufficient and does all things according to His decree and power, would call me (a mortal man, imperfect, insufficient in wisdom and strength, who needs to be forgiven of his sins), to suffer for His sake.
Thanks to God, eventually the Lord enabled me to correctly understand the meaning of the word “suffer”, which is to serve, to witness, to walk with the Lord, to be a testimony of God’s grace and to do what He wants me to do. I thus resolved to always abide in the Word that the Lord impresses upon my heart. God’s Word commanding me not to love the world, often serves as a reminder and warning to me. I am convinced that to do the will of God is the primary purpose of my life as a Christian.
Since then, the Lord by His grace, has been helping me not only to be equipped in studying the Bible in the Chinese language, but also to preach, teach and even to interpret messages into Chinese when needed. The Lord has guided me to like-minded churches (local and overseas) to do His work of preaching and teaching. Initially it was difficult for me. To speak Mandarin in daily conversation is not so difficult, but to minister God’s Word in Mandarin – which requires me to preach, teach and relate well, using Bible language and terms, as well as to construct good sentences with appropriate words, so as to bring the message in a way others can understand and benefit spiritually from – is always a constant challenge. However, the Lord who calls me is faithful, He has enabled me to do what I have never thought I could do and He has always given me help. And I believe the Lord will continue to keep me in His grace and help me to be prayerful and faithful in serving Him.
During our present situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, many things have changed during these four months. Though we are not allowed to have regular worship, Bible study, prayer meeting, and various fellowship meetings, we thank the Lord that we could continue such gatherings virtually through the streaming of the worship services and fellowship meetings through “Zoom” video-conferencing.
I thank the Lord also that although I am not able to visit Kemaman, I was able to do Bible study with the youth through Zoom virtual meetings. I pray that the brethren will appreciate this means of communication and pray that the Lord be gracious to remove this Covid-19 and to restore us to normal worship, fellowship and work in the Lord. Nevertheless, we thank God for the easing of restrictions whereby we are allowed to gather in smaller groups with some safety measures put in place. I thank the Lord for the prison ministry that is opening slowly, allowing the counsellors to revisit the prison and to minister God’s Word to the inmates in prison.
Undeniably, the present situation is affecting and causing inconvenience to the carrying out of spiritual activities and the Lord’s work. May the Lord preserve me to be watchful and prayerful, and grant me wisdom and opportunity to do what He wants me to. Thank the Lord for brethren in the Chinese service who come together to serve in the Sunday worship and participate in the Tuesday prayer meeting. As we continue being accountable to one another and walking close to the Lord, may the Lord make us profitable for His ministry and be encouragers to one another – and so keep us useful for His glory.