IN OCTOBER 2006, while on our first mission trip to Myanmar to teach English as a foreign language, a participant tossed the idea of organising a workshop for single parents by connect@ brmc.
After praying over it for several months, we held the first workshop on July 21, 2007. We were encouraged by the number of registrations for our series of workshops known as “Sailing Solo” and after five months we closed the workshop on Nov 17, with testimonies by Mdm Joyce Tan and Dr Tan Soo Inn.
Mdm Tan shared about dying to self before God could give her new beginnings through the different twists and turns in her life. She used the acronym DIE to illustrate the three storms which she went through. She began by saying that she was reluctant to share the story of her life but if one person in the audience was touched, it would have been worth every effort.
Eighteen years ago on Nov 17, 1989, she faced the Deaths of her husband and only daughter in a car accident during a holiday in New Zealand. It happened suddenly and she was not prepared for it. However, God gave her new beginnings at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) where she served as a Children’s leader and grew in her love for God and His word.
Two years after the tragedy, she faced the prospect of Illness when she was diagnosed with tumour in her liver that might result in death. The thought of leaving her 10-year-old son an orphan became very real and she felt very sad. Before the surgery she was encouraged by the life of Jesus who surrendered Himself to God’s will even if it meant death. She surrendered herself to God’s will and the surgery was a success.
She was reluctant to share about the Entanglement in her life as the people involved are still alive. However, as God has healed her to the point of she being able to visit her step-mother and father and even take a family holiday with them, she shared about the joy of forgiveness and how it has liberated her from the family entanglement.
She encouraged the audience to shed the pain of the past and move on with life like an eagle who has to shed its feathers if it wants to soar to a greater height.
She ended her testimony by singing solo “Something beautiful, something good.”
The next person to give his testimony was Dr Tan Soo Inn, who shared the 4Ds in his life: Death of his first wife from cancer, Divorce from his second marriage, the Depression he went through as a result of the hurts and pain in his life, and finally the Deliverance when God began to rebuild his life.
He summed up the things he went through as different chapters of a life that are still being written by God. Some chapters are hard chapters, he said, but if we put our lives in God’s hands He will ensure that the last chapter is a good one. He said that God is bigger than the fumbles we make.
He ended his testimony by singing “All the way my Saviour leads me …”
After tea, Dr Tan had a meeting with the men who are single parents. He shared that from his experience, men are generally lost following the loss of a wife. It was heartening to hear that the men were all very open with their pain. They plan to meet for support and prayer in the future The workshop ended with a “Celebration of New Beginnings” as new friendships were made and new insights were given with God at the helm. The meeting ended with everyone rising to sing “To God be the glory”.
Those who are interested in the ministry for singles aged 35 years and above can email connectatbrmc@yahoo. com.sg with your name and telephone number. For enquiries, please contact Eric Chia at 9100 8200.
Grace Ong is the Chairman of connect@ brmc, the ministry for singles at Barker Road Methodist Church.