RETIRED Methodist missionary Rev J. Harry Haines (picture above) passed away at the age of 89 on March 29, 2007 in Eugene, Oregon, leaving behind his wife, Loma Housley and two surviving sons.
His missionary service spanned a total of 38 years, beginning in west China in the 1940s, then in the division of inter-church aid, refugees and world service of the World Council of Churches. From 1950 to 1959, he was appointed to Malaya. Following a period of advanced study at Princeton Theological Seminary for his doctorate, he was appointed Director of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) from 1966 to 1983.
His appointments in Malaya were exclusively centred on Ipoh Wesley (1951-55), then Kuala Lumpur Wesley (1956-59) and concurrently Selangor District Superintendent from 1958 to 1960. His ministry in Ipoh saw the membership of the church increasing from144 to 303 in 1954.
IT HAS taken time and effort during the past decade for St Francis Methodist School to grow and to give relatively disadvantaged students an opportunity to develop their potential, often unfulfilled elsewhere.
With no external sources of funding, staff and students have been challenged to put in really extra effort, and in the last four years, the school was awarded the highly-esteemed SQC Certificates of Recognition for Private Educational Organisations, the ISO 9001 and the People Developer award. Together with a Christian education programme that introduces to many for the first time, the Christian Gospel, the school has begun to achieve some excellent results, and this has helped to put it on the educational map of Southeast Asia.
Students have excelled in various non-academic skills like acting and singing in musical plays, an especially challenging experience for those who come from non English-speaking environments.
Methodist Message highlights four students, three from abroad, who have done well this past year and are a proud achievement for the school as well as for themselves.
YOU WEIQI hailed from China two years ago, hoping to get a good education and join a reputable university.
A very bright boy with an inquisitive mind, he enjoyed the challenges of academic discipline, exploring outside the required syllabus.
An excellent mathematician, he won a Silver Medal in the Singapore Math Olympiad in 2006, and when the “A” level results were announced he was delighted to have scored four distinctions, with a B4 in the General Paper, more than enough to attain his hope of enrolling in a “reputable university”, perhaps becoming an outstanding mathematician.
FROM Vietnam, JOHN LY HONG NGUYEN would never have dreamt of coming to Singapore were it not for his skills in chess. The son of a provision shop owner in Ho Chi Minh City, he became one of the youngest national chess players in Vietnam, winning local and international competitions, thereby winning a scholarship from the Chess Department of Ho Chi Minh City to study at St Francis Methodist School.
Though he found it difficult at first to adapt to the Singapore education system, he persevered, juggling school work with his passion for chess. Thanks to his teachers who often went the second mile, he took part in chess competitions even in the midst of school examinations, and came out with two “A” level distinctions, hoping to study accounting at one of our tertiary institutions.
KEN CHOW was a different type before he enrolled at St Francis Methodist School. In Kuala Lumpur, he dropped out of school at age 14, was kicked out of his home, and became involved in various gang clashes and vices, until he got into trouble with the law and spent a number of years behind bars.
The amazing change came when he became a Christian, converted at a youth centre, and getting to know God whose grace changed his life for the better.
Quitting his bad habits he was reconciled with his parents, and his pastor introduced him to St Francis Methodist School where he completed his “O” and “A” levels with the help of the teachers who supported him, despite his unpromising past. Now, with two “A” level distinctions, he hopes to enrol at the National University of Singapore to read for a political science degree.
A LOCAL LAD, MARK SANJAY D’CRUZ, seemed to have a promising future with good “O” level results, but at junior college, things did not work out, and being unable to cope, left for a polytechnic course. Here again, he was disillusioned and unable to cope.
He enlisted in the Singapore Police Force as a regular, studying for his “A” levels during his National Service. But finding it difficult to juggle his work shifts and studying, he decided to enrol at St Francis Methodist School full time, but was already considerably older than the rest of the students.
Here, with teachers willing to go the extra mile, his confidence improved, and making full use of the resources available, he “never felt for one moment that I was learning less than what was being taught in junior colleges”.
Gaining a full “A” level certificate which included two distinctions – in the General Paper and the Management of Business – he intends to enrol at the National University of Singapore to pursue a degree.