Here’s food for thought: how can a humdrum activity like boot polishing bring young girls closer to God?
In The Girls’ Brigade (GB) 1st Singapore Company at Methodist Girls’ School (MGS), we polish our boots every time we are in full uniform, and that can be several times in a month. The frequency increases during the season of drill competitions, when we will be in uniform for up to three times a week!
Through polishing our boots, we learn to continually seek excellence in everything that we do. Even as a simple activity that many might come to abhor, polishing boots does a lot in teaching us about perseverance – though those boots may seem dull at first, if you keep at polishing them, they will come to shine.
Is that not what God is constantly doing to us in our daily lives?
Who says God cannot be found in the mundane?
Fortunately, He is also found in other settings, such as our Bible Study sessions – gatherings of a few girls, guided by an adult leader in small, close groups. Sometimes we discuss books of the Bible, or biblical characters such as Jabez and Ruth.
Contrary to popular belief, Bible Study sessions are not boring at all!
We do not drone on and on about ‘musty old people’, but instead, we dig deeper into the Word of God and look at it through fresh eyes in order to catch new insights about it and discuss how biblical lessons are relevant to us.
In these small groups, we are free to share about our worries, our concerns for the day or week, and our joys. We also count our blessings and thank God for them.
As a result, we always come away from each session a little closer to God.
But GB is not all Bible studies and worship.
GB girls follow in the footsteps of Christ by actively serving the community, particularly the LENS – Lonely, Elderly, Needy, and Special Needs people. When we work with the community and various organisations like the Health Promotion Board and Willing Hearts during annual events such as GB Friendship Day, we are able to reach out to more than a thousand LENS and be a witness of Christ’s love for them.
Memorably, in 2012 we played host to 5,000 people, the way Jesus fed the 5,000 centuries ago in Bethsaida. We retain vivid memories of visiting the market to implore vendors to sponsor food, breaking out in our mother tongue to communicate, and even pausing to pray together, that God would supply us.
These experiences we enjoy are the fruit of the faithfulness and zeal that our founder, Mrs Elsie Lyne, had when she first started GB in MGS. She was passionate about inculcating Christian values deeply into each and every member.
It was her determination to help the girls establish and sustain a vigorous relationship with God that the GB is able to continuously make a difference and be a blessing to our surrounding communities.
Recently, The Girls’ Brigade Singapore celebrated 90 fulfilling years of our GB heritage on 8 April with a parade at Singapore Chinese Girls’ School. The Guest of Honour was Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools). He affirmed the all-important role of GB in teaching positive values and moulding young girls to become women of excellence.
At MGS, GB has provided us with an environment, the space, and time to grow in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with both God and Man.
We have come to realise that learning itself does not take place only in a classroom. Likewise, a sustained relationship with God does not only blossom in a church. We must and should continuously learn from one another: from our teachers, officers, senior members, and even our juniors.
So be it through the polishing of our boots, serving the community, sharpening self-discipline at drills, studying the Bible, or learning from one another, we in GB have continuously experienced the goodness of God in our own personal journeys of growth.
How about you? Where do you find the inspiration and drive to learn and grow in the Lord?
Cheryl Lee and Audrey Tan –
are students from Methodist Girls’ School, and members of The Girls’ Brigade 1st Singapore Company.