“It starts with me”: Love Singapore block by block this National Day
by Tan Huey Ying // August 7, 2020, 9:35 pm
Chee Keong found that distributing snack packs and fruit allowed him to get to know some neighbours “beyond ‘hi’ and ‘bye’”. Screenshot from LoveSingapore Day Of His Power.
This National Day, how do we love Singapore in ways that matter?
It is the Gospel, which we are bearers of, that defines our “unique contribution” to this nation as Christians, said Hope Church’s Senior Pastor Jeff Chong in the third and final segment of LoveSingapore’s online Day Of His Power held on Friday, August 7, 2020.
“Wherever you are, you represent Christ.”
Sharing the Gospel surpasses other “good and important” ways – such as paying our taxes, wearing our masks, loving outcasts and speaking up for the voiceless – because only God’s love “truly” transforms nations and lives for all of eternity.
It starts with the simple act of getting to know your neighbours, he stressed.
With over 95% of Singapore’s population living in HDBs and condominiums, Pastor Jeff said that if Christians would take responsibility for every HDB and condominium block, then 95% of the entire population would have had the chance to hear about Christ.
“Wherever you are, you represent Christ,” said Pastor Jeff. “Christ placed you there to know, love and serve the people living in your block. This is how we intentionally love Singapore, block by block.”
Chee Keong, who has lived in his HDB apartment in Ang Mo Kio for four years, distributed snack packs and fruits accompanied by handwritten notes to all 130 units in his block.
This has allowed him to get to know some neighbours “beyond ‘hi’ and ‘bye’” when he received over 13 thank-you texts and several snack packs in return.
Another believer, Daniel, who stays in a condominium in Upper East Coast even started a block chatgroup with 10 neighbours after they responded to his small gestures of love.
“Block by block starts with me,” he said.
One church has proven this theory as tried-and-true.
In 1997, Living Sanctuary Brethren Church (LSBC) was a small church of 200 in Hougang, amongst a cluster of 22 HDB blocks with over 2,100 households.
Senior Pastor Lawrence Chua recalled: “The church was not accepted by the local community and we were viewed with suspicion and prejudice.”
He realised that community outreach was the key and mobilised his entire church.
Split into 20 cell groups which one block assigned to each group, members were told to reach out to every unit, establish friendships and make a long-term commitment.
“We had to get out of the comfort of the church,” said Pastor Lawrence.
As time went by and acts of service and kindness stacked up, Pastor Lawrence realised a shift in sentiment: “Friendship replaced suspicion and prejudice. From open doors, we progressed to open homes, and finally to open hearts.”
The late Pastor Rick Seaward witnessed many lives touched by neighbourly love shown by Christians.
There was freedom to connect on the basis of friendship and LSBC started running programs from English classes to sports clubs. Apart from the usual evangelistic events, they also started a church kindergarten.
“It reminded me of the early church, recorded in Acts 5, where a lot of conversions took place,” said Ps Lawrence. “Many also did not believe, but they esteemed the church highly.”
LSBC now has a membership of over 2,000 people, with more than five worship services.
Senior Pastor Jeremy Seaward of Victory Family Centre, whose late father Pastor Rick Seaward was one of the founders of LoveSingapore, has been living out this model. He has witnessed many lives that have been touched by neighbourly love shown by Christians.
“This is not a vision for yesterday,” he said. “It is a vision for today.”
Ps Jeremy closed the segment with a call to believers to internalise the vision and take up the challenge to love: “I believe that this is the hour for the church to rise up, this is the moment that God desires to move in our land, and to see the love of God poured out upon every part of our nation, as we love it block by block.”