Esther and Elvin Foong, with their children Nathan and Phoebe. The Foongs, who founded The Treasure Box SG, encourage their children to ask questions about their faith. Out of that came a new video series called "I Have A Question". All photos courtesy of the Foongs.

The questions run the gamut.

Some are downright charming: Why do we close our eyes, clasp our hands and bow our heads when we pray? If Jesus is coming back again, why do I have to go to school?

“We want to make sure ‘sparks’ of doubt can be extinguished before they rage out of control.”

Some are questions everyone has asked before: Where is God? Why can’t I see Him?

Some touch on deep apologetic issues: If God is full of love, how can He send people to hell? How do we know that the Bible is true?

All of them come from children.

This is part of a new series started by The Treasure Box SG (TTB) called I Have A Question and it makes for great conversation starters for families during the Easter break when there is plenty of time and Christ is already the topic of the day.

“I Have A Question” is a series of TTB videos adults can use to answer burning questions kids have about their faith.

“We hope that this series will be able to spark faith discussions at home. Parents can start with watching the weekly video together and having a conversation,” said Esther, who co-founded TTB with husband Elvin Foong.

Ask and we will answer

It started with their own children, Nathan, 12, and Phoebe, 10, who had “a million and one questions all the time” about God, Jesus and their faith.

The Foongs have always encouraged their children to have a healthy curiosity about Christianity.

Phoebe and Nathan Foong were the inspiration for the video series because they had plenty of questions about their faith.

Said Esther: “The best ‘doubt extinguisher’ is the good discipline of finding the answers to our doubts, especially when these questions may balloon into doubts that shake our faith.

“Just like a tiny spark can set off a giant forest fire, we want to make sure these ‘sparks’ of doubt can be extinguished before they rage out of control.”

But as they interacted with children while running programmes for churches, they realised that theirs were not the only children who had questions.

Interacting with children through the programmes they run, the Foongs realised that many children have deep questions about their faith.

Said Elvin: “Kids do have questions. They wonder about the state of the world, and the apparent disconnect between God’s goodness and power, and why bad things still happen.

“They’re also especially interested in what happens after we die, especially when loved ones such as grandparents pass on.

“The best ‘doubt extinguisher’ is the good discipline of finding the answers to our doubts.”

“We realised how important it is to give kids space to ask questions so that they can find answers, though imperfect, to truly grow in authentic faith, so that they know and understand why they believe what they believe rather than just regurgitating what their parents or pastors say.” 

Added Esther: “I’m learning from these young ones that if I want to know someone better, I should ask and find out more.

“That innocence is untainted by others’ perspective about them when they ask questions – ‘What will others think about me?’ – or the self-doubt about their faith – ‘Does that mean I don’t trust God or have faith in Him?’

“Children go to God ‘as-is’. I find that so precious.” 

Faith arising   

Each question is tackled in a video fronted by Elvin, Esther or their mentor, David Leong, a veteran children and families educator.

David and Cynthia Leong, who have decades of experience in the children’s ministry, are mentors to the Foongs.

Each video provides bite-size information in child-friendly vocabulary complete with analogies, animation and lots of energy. (In one video, Elvin tackles the question of God as Spirit while riding a roller coaster!)

An episode of “I Have A Question” filmed on a roller coaster.

Preparing the videos has been faith-affirming for the couple as well. One question that resonated with Elvin was: If God is full of love, why would He send people to hell?

“It was something I had trouble reconciling within myself for the longest time. Answering that question helped me see things from a radically different perspective that has greatly strengthened my faith.

“We need a strong faith that stands up under scrutiny, that is defensible, a faith that is rational and grounded.”

“God doesn’t send anyone to hell. Our own sin condemns us. But precisely because God is love, He offers a way out via Jesus’s perfect sacrifice.

“I realise that there are many things that I take for granted. Certain aspects of what I simply believe and how I behave had no real intellectual ‘legs’ to stand on, like a house of cards.

“I was always taught that faith is to just trust in the absence of evidence. But I’ve found that this is actually dangerous. We need a strong faith that stands up under scrutiny, that is defensible, a faith that is rational and grounded.”

Studying at Singapore Bible College has helped Elvin as well because it has given him the opportunity to wrestle with the same questions and discuss them with his lecturers and classmates as well as tap on resources there.

Growing the next generation   

The videos are meant to be resources for the family.

Said Esther: “We cannot assume that parents should and are ready to answer questions when their children approach them.

“By offering these topics and content, we hope that parents can feel more equipped and confident to have faith discussions at home, together as a family.”

The Foongs hope that the videos can draw families together as they explore their faith.

The Foongs also hope the videos can demonstrate to parents how content can be presented in a way children can understand – in short, clear language with relatable scenarios and examples.

Said Elvin: “When it comes to faith, it’s important that children are Christ-followers, not just parent-followers.

“We should put in effort to help children come to a place of authentic, personal faith.”

Watch the “I Have a Question” video series on YouTube, including the latest Easter edition: “I Have A Question: Why did Jesus have to die?”


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About the author

Christine Leow

Christine believes there is always a story waiting to be told, which led to a career in MediaCorp News. Her idea of a perfect day involves a big mug of tea, a bigger muffin and a good book.