“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim 4:12)
A passionate volunteer with MWS Family Development Programme (FDP) since July 2019, Joanne Chua from Changi Methodist Church shares her journey in volunteerism. Like many others her age, the 22-year-old is busy balancing several commitments on top of school, work and church; but Joanne does not shy away from volunteering.
Cultivating a heart for volunteerism
Joanne went on a two-week Overseas Community Service Project (OSCP) trip to the Thailand with her university and forged a close bond with the children during her time there. Realising she was unlikely to return and continue the good work with the same children, she became inspired to volunteer where she could make a more long-lasting impact. This led Joanne to consider joining her father, an active volunteer with MWS, to work with families in need through the FDP. This is an asset-building intervention scheme targeted at low-income families in the bottom 10 per cent household income group in Singapore. FDP helps the underprivileged break the cycle of poverty through financial planning, debt clearance and savings matching.
Overcoming doubts and fears
“I was initially worried that I could not help meaningfully,” recalls Joanne. “Having come from a privileged and blessed family, I never had to pay for most things myself or worry about the bills. Furthermore, I have not gone through marriage or childbearing. What if the beneficiaries felt short-changed or compared me with other more capable and experienced volunteers?”
But Joanne was reminded through Scripture that God equips His people for His good works, regardless of their age. The community also helped Joanne ease in and gain greater confidence. Many of the volunteers were fellow church members who had known her since she was young, and they have always been very encouraging.
Seeing Christ in volunteering
Since she started, Joanne has completed the volunteer training programme, created a video for FDP, and even hosted the Enrich and Engage session where volunteers share their experiences to enhance their knowledge and skills. While she has certainly learnt much, there are still days when Joanne struggles, especially when other commitments fight for her attention. “I find my conviction to help others anchored in God’s Word. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ To know that whenever I help others, I am actually serving God keeps me going.”
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, most of her work has had to be conducted online over the last few months. Joanne looks forward to having face-to-face interactions and getting to know the beneficiaries better soon.
As we approach International Youth Day on 17 August, may we celebrate our youths and pray that they will use the gifts and talents God has blessed them with to enrich the lives of the vulnerable in our communities.
By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photos courtesy of MWS