Happenings

Reaching out to someone in need starts with a smile

Mar 2020    
Eat Share Connect

A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.1

When reaching out to the underprivileged in the community, many of us tend to feel nervous and uncertain. For Emmanuella Cheng, who worships at Faith Methodist Church, her experience befriending an underserved group in the community showed her that sometimes, a smile is all you need!

When the Faith Methodist Church building was undergoing renovations, a group of young adults took the opportunity to bless the migrant workers involved in the construction works. Emmanuella was part of the committee that arranged a dinner for the workers.

“I thought it was a really cool movement,” she recounted. “It was heart-warming because, despite their tiredness, the workers were so willing to open up to us.”

Emmanuella admitted that she was initially apprehensive due to the language barrier and potential awkwardness. She was also worried that she would not know what to talk to them about. But despite her fears, as the young adults started serving the dinner, the migrant workers quickly warmed up to them.

The conversations over a shared meal gave Emmanuella the chance to get to know the migrant workers beyond their occupation. “For most of them,” she said, “it really wasn’t easy leaving their families behind to come to a foreign land. I’ve come to learn and understand that they have their stories too.”

Reflecting on her befriending journey, Emmanuella was moved by how open and appreciative people can be when you make the effort to get to know them.

This is also the inspiration behind the Eat Share Connect movement—a communal dining outreach organised by Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) to mark MCS 135, the 135th Anniversary of The Methodist Church in Singapore. Eat Share Connect is a platform to connect with low-income groups in our midst—such as families or individuals, both locals and foreigners—over a meal. When the Methodist community engages in such an intentional manner to truly understand others and their circumstances, it shows that we genuinely care and respect their needs and challenges.

Drawing from her experience, it would seem that breaking the ice is not so difficult after all. “A smile is all you need, and a ‘how are you?’ is sufficient for people to open up and know that you care,” said Emmanuella.

As a member of the Methodist family, how about taking the first step to build a more inclusive community by getting involved in Eat Share Connect today?


1Original quote widely attributed to William Butler Yeats

TIPS ON BEFRIENDING

Body language and interaction

  • Sit at a comfortable angle and distance
  • Lean slightly towards the other person, maintaining a relaxed but attentive posture
  • Listen attentively
  • Maintain eye contact
  • Allow time for responses

Respect and trust

  • Practise empathybe non-judgmental
  • Avoid imposing your views on their decisions and actions
  • Ask instead of assume—give them respect and control over the environment
  • Be sensitive to the impact of your response
  • Provide others with an opportunity to share their stories

Engagement

  • Share your hobbies/interests

Avoid asking personal questions such as those about family history, financial background or marital status

By the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Communications Team / Photo courtesy of Methodist Welfare Services

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