Report From Singapore

Greetings to our beloved churches in the U.S.A. who have called us and support us continually in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ on the mission field. It is our joy to report to you again of how the Lord has blessed His church here and added unto her such as must be saved. The Lord continues to reward all those who have given and supported this cause. As your missionaries we daily give thanks that the Lord has given to us the great privilege of being involved in the work of missions and witnessing how the Lord prospers this work in Singapore. All the glory belongs unto the Lord alone Who performs great and wonderful deeds in our midst. 

In our last report in the Standard Bearer we told you about all the weddings we were having in the church. These are now history and we are experiencing the blessings of all the new Christian homes in our midst. The highlight of all these weddings was the triple wedding on June 25. This was a very large wedding. There were more than 700 people in attendance. Pastor Lau officiated. I was asked to preach a short sermon on Joshua 24. It was quite an experience preaching from this passage where Joshua exhorts Israel to put away their idol gods and worship the only true God of heaven and earth. As I was standing there preaching I was profoundly aware of the fact that a large majority of the audience was heathen and idol worshiping. Before this audience the three couples were vowing together with Joshua to serve the Lord the true and living God. 

Another very great event took place in our church on July 9. On that day nine young people made confession of their faith and received Adult Baptism. Besides these nine another six young people, who came to us from other churches in Singapore, also joined our church by making public confession of their faith. In the midst of this we were all reminded of how the young people here have to stand for their faith in face of severe persecution in their own homes. One of the sisters, a university student, who had earnestly desired to be baptized on that day was locked up by her parents in her room to prevent her from being baptized. Her mother came to her in tears urging her not to be baptized. Her father threatened to disown her entirely if she went ahead with baptism. Another one of the sisters who was baptized has ever since suffered severe persecution in her home. Her father has pressed her very hard, trying to make her promise never to go to church again. By the grace of God she has refused to do this. Whenever she comes to church now she must do this without her parents knowledge or she will get into trouble. How precious the Lord makes faith in Him in situations such as these. 

The Lord continues to add to His church here in a wonderful way. On July 31 we started another pre-baptism and membership class. I was asked to teach this class again, something which fills me with great joy and excitement. We were very thankful to the Lord and excited when 16 young people signed up for this class. Most of these are seeking baptism in the church. The others are coming to us from other churches in Singapore and are seeking to become members of our church. As usual this class will continue for about 20 to 25 weeks. We are meeting every Lord’s Day afternoon at our apartment. 

During the month of June the church had its annual Bible camp similar to our young people’s convention in the U.S.A. Pastor Lau was the key speaker for the camp. He gave five messages on the theme, “Be Thou My Vision Lord.” It was again a blessed camp that served very much for the spiritual enrichment of the lives of those who attended. I was asked to give one message at one of the evening meetings as well as be involved in a number of the other activities of the camp.

On July 28 and 29 the University students in our midst sponsored two lectures especially for University students at a place near to the campus. We had these last year too. Pastor Lau was asked to speak on the Reformed Faith. His theme for the first evening was, “Why Does God Save Some and Not Others?” The theme for the second evening was, “Today’s Gospel, Authentic or Synthetic?” It never ceases to amaze me how many people come out for events such as this in Singapore. We were happy to see quite a number of new university students at both meetings. These meetings also serve as the beginning of a new school year and of another year of weekly Bible study meetings for the University students. Over the years the Lord has brought a number of students into our church through these activities. 

The church here is excited about the fact that they have another young man from here training to become a minister. This is another very significant development for the future of the church here. We ought also to rejoice that the Lord uses our Protestant Reformed Theological School in this manner. 

There have been in the last months some very interesting developments with our contacts with brethren in Trengganu Malaysia. In the month of May we were invited to come up to preach for the church there. There is a group of brethren there who love the Reformed Faith and desire earnestly to see the Reformed Faith established in the church there. We had an opportunity to preach in a church there and also to have a blessed time of fellowship with the brethren. One of the brothers, Joseph Tan, has for a number of years been getting books and materials from our P.R. churches. He is really zealous for the Reformed faith and has his own bookstore where he sells Reformed books. Another couple who has become very dear to us is earnestly trying to promote the Reformed Faith in the Baptist Church where they belong. These brethren really need our prayers. Since the time of our visit up there the brethren have earnestly requested more help. Last month one of our elders and his family went up there to give spiritual counsel and encouragement. There is much talk about future involvement in the work there. We are waiting for the Lord’s direction as to how we can help those saints. 

At the end of October the church is planning once again to have two meetings in connection with the celebration of Reformation Day. I have been asked to speak on a subject related to the Reformed Faith. We will be renting a Presbyterian Church for the meetings. Much work is already being done to publicize these meetings. These meetings have also become yearly affairs for the church and the Lord has blessed them greatly in past years. 

The church here continues to face great problems as far as obtaining a new building is concerned. In the past months, building in Singapore has been a little slower because of the recession. Presently it is picking up again. This means that our present place in River Valley could soon be demolished to make room for re-development. We are urgently in need of another place. Besides this, our present meeting place is again filled to capacity. Recently we were able to expand the seating capacity a little again. But that is all filled up again and there is no more possibility of expansion. We face many great problems in connection with obtaining a new worship place. The greatest problem is of course coming up with the huge sum of money necessary. It is very unlikely that we will be able to get any bank loans. Then too there are really very few places available in overcrowded Singapore. It is very unlikely that we would ever be able to purchase a place big enough to hold our present congregation. We would have to get a place that would have seating capacity for at least two hundred already now. We are therefore looking for an old house that could be converted to be used as a church meeting place. Then we would probably have to have at least two or more services in the morning to accommodate the people and another service in the evening. Even such a place would cost a very great deal more money than we can afford presently. Besides this, we are presently in grave danger of losing the place we are now using for our Toa Payoh Mission services. There is a question about the legality of holding our services there. This may mean that we will have to stop our Toa Payoh Mission services, which would be very sad indeed. To find another place will be very difficult if not impossible. We trust, however, that the Lord knows our need and that even as He has always done in the past so He will provide for our future needs. The Lord is able to do things beyond our knowledge and expectation. 

Today I am giving personal catechism instruction to a young girl. This has been going on for several weeks. She is from a Buddhist home that is strongly against her being a Christian. She is able to come secretly to the worship services on most of the Lord’s Days. However, she cannot manage to come to the pre-baptism and membership class. She earnestly desires to join our church. She formerly was attached to a cult. The Lord brought her away from this cult and to our church through one of the members of our church. 

As you can gather from the above there is still much work for us to do as your missionary in Singapore. Even though the church here has its own Pastor there is enough work for two Pastors to keep very busy. Besides all of the above, there is much visitation and pastoral work. Both of us are involved in leading Bible Study groups and speaking regularly for such meetings as Adult Fellowship and Youth Fellowship and the many special meetings. Both Pastors are giving special instruction to the young man who is also a full-time worker in the church. We have session meetings almost every week. Some of these meetings last till the early hours of the morning. There are very few evenings ever when both Pastors are not involved in church work. We are thankful that the Lord has given us so much work to do and continues to use our churches for the work of missions here in Singapore. Continue to pray for us and for the church of Jesus Christ here in Singapore.