“We are bruised but not defeated”: Ps Wilson Teo, in first Grace AOG service since two-week shutdown
by Tan Huey Ying // March 1, 2020, 6:25 pm
"God told me: Watch and pray," said Ps Wilson, senior pastor of Grace Assembly of God. Screengrab of online messages in Mandarin and English, posted by Grace Assembly Of God this morning (March 1).
“What a way to start to start our 70th anniversary celebrations,” said Ps Wilson Teo, senior pastor of Grace Assembly Of God, in his address to the church via two pre-recorded video messages which were released in lieu of physical worship services this morning, March 1, 2020.
The partial resumption of church services comes after a two-week shutdown of church-wide operations after the first cases of COVID-19 infections surfaced within the staff team, including Case 48 and the senior pastor himself.
The shutdown is unprecedented in Grace Assembly’s 70-year history.
Ps Wilson told Salt&Light it was “only right” for him to “give an account” to members and to share “what God had spoken to me while I was in the National Centre for Infectious Diseases(NCID)”.
“We hope that this episode will not just make us stronger as a church, but in our faith in Jesus Christ as well,” he said.
The senior pastors of The Life Church and Missions Singapore and Grace Assembly of God met yesterday (Feb 29), and shared their unique experiences of being cast in the COVID-19 limelight. Pastors Vincent Choo and Wilson Teo prayed together, and agreed to stand united as a body of Christ, and to use this experience to testify to God’s steadfast faithfulness to His Church and His people.
“Watch and pray”
Grace Assembly, whose staff and their families were put on home quarantine for two weeks, restarted operations on Wednesday (Feb 26) with a “skeletal staff on a split team arrangement”.
“We hope this episode will not just make us stronger as a church, but in our faith in Jesus Christ as well.”
Releasing pre-recorded videos of Ps Wilson’s sermon was the “most viable option” given the current situation and their experience with videos and live-streams, said Selina Lim, the spokesperson for Grace Assembly. The messages were in Mandarin as well as English.
Official church activities are still suspended until further notice but small gatherings are at the congregants’ “personal discretion” because these are “no different” from meetings with friends.
“We understand that there are those who can’t wait to be back in church while there are others who may be hesitant,” said Lim who added that they hope to resume physical services soon.
In the two videos, which have garnered over *8,000 views since they were posted this morning, Ps Wilson apologised to the church for the many “inconveniences” and “difficulties” which they had gone through by virtue of association.
One staff member nearly missed his own daughter’s wedding because of the quarantine order. The wedding was eventually postponed.
Discharged on Feb 20 after 10 days of isolation in the NCID, Ps Wilson recounted how everything unfolded and shared about his struggles in this morning’s videos.
The first four days were the hardest – and he cried often at the news he received, he said.
“I could not see what God was doing right in the beginning,” he said. Then God spoke – very clearly, Ps Wilson emphasised. “He told me, ‘Watch and pray.’
The verses in Jeremiah, especially, “spoke right into my heart and brought me much strength”.
“But I didn’t understand this word of the Lord.”
Until a few days later when God reminded him of his most recent sermon at the launch of their church’s anniversary celebrations on Feb 8 and 9.
That message was about the biblical significance of the number ’70’ – God’s word to the Israelites through the prophet Jeremiah of their 70-year captivity in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10-11,14); Moses’ appointment of 70 elders and the God-initiated change in leadership model (Numbers 11:16-17); the 70 direct descendants of Jacob who moved into Egypt (Genesis 46:26-27).
Each point was a prophetic word in season for Grace Assembly, Ps Wilson said.
“Scattered” from their two centres in Tanglin and Bukit Batok, Ps Wilson said he watched God raise the symbolic “70 leaders” who started prayer chains and initiated acts of love and service and faith.
“To all of our leaders, young and old, thank you. Thank you for being our hands and feet, for reaching out to Gracians when all the pastors and ministers were under quarantine,” said Ps Wilson.
“A memorial stone” for the church
The verses in Jeremiah, especially, “spoke right into my heart and brought me much strength” because he had a better appreciation of the situation the Israelites were in.
Ps Wilson prayed that this experience would be a “memorial stone” that would “anchor” the church.
“And in these three weeks, God has shown us that Gracians did not live in fear. We arose in faith and lived in God’s presence and provision.”
This is why Ps Wilson believes, just as Jacob’s journey to Egypt marked the beginning of a new nation that trusted in God’s presence and provision, the same will hold true for them.
When he closed in prayer, Ps Wilson prayed that this experience would be a “memorial stone” that would “anchor” the church.
Ps Wilson said: “Yes, we are bruised, but we are not defeated. And together, as a church, we will rise again in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
*Numbers correct at press time.
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