In all these years in SYFC, getting hold of resources, stewarding them wisely and producing youth-relevant packages and programmes are constant challenges. But still, we thank God for providing.
God’s People As God’s Main Source of Provision
In 1981, SYFC implemented the Personal Support Scheme. All staff share in raising finances by writing about our work and needs to Christians and Christian communities. God’s people give and keep giving, proving His faithful provision!
Clarence Chong, who manages our donor base and resources, notes that donors give financially though they “can always choose to give to another organisation also in need or spend on something else”. Some provide in kinds for events while some point to other Christians who in turn, give.
“Challenging times for YFC, Singapore and many people not only have worries about getting sick but also for their jobs and income. I am grateful that I am well and provided for. job still ok. …” – K.C.
In the 80s, while based at Bible House office, he recalls: “Every month, a donor came and handed in his $1.00 pledge. After a few years, he doubled his giving. He gave for the next 25 years! The Lord taught me to be thankful for our donors’ commitment and love for Him.”
“…It’s truly not an easy task. It’s only God’s grace, mercy and strength that has kept you going thus far. May God continue to keep and guide you in all you do for many more years!” -M.O.
Stewarding Resources Wisely
As good stewards, we seek to be frugal and lean in spending when making programmes youth-appealing.
For two years, Hannah Chua and Caroline Cheah from the Polytechnic Ministry, organised ‘Red Box Christmas’, an evangelistic event featuring a one-stop flea market with DIY stations, good food and live music. Finding an attractive, accessible yet cheap venue was often difficult. Searching for appealing and presentable food for a Christmas theme within budget was tough. To keep costs low, the ladies had to think out-of-the-box.
At a church wedding, Hannah saw many glass bottles as decorations along the aisle. When the wedding planner wanted to throw them away, she quickly went up to her to ask for them! For décor, Hannah and Caroline borrowed, re-purposed stray office items or folded paper stars. To ensure good buys, they sourced early for online food and gift items. To avoid wastage, they got the latest dates to confirm orders and adjust numbers with suppliers because sign-ups were unpredictable.
A well-run physical event provides participants a good setting in which conversations leading to the gospel can open up. We desire to use resources wisely while adapting to the youth palette.
New Norm, Same Passion
During Circuit Breaker, face-to-face activities came to a halt. To ensure ongoing connection with young people, we worked hard and fast to make the critical switch to an online mode.Moving away from physical befriending at student centres, Preteens Ministry conducts online sessions. To be interesting and meaningful, simple icebreakers and shorter questions are a must. Suitable adult guardians sit in.
An EDGE Ministry task force came up with an online virtual quest within a week. Called “Global Pandemic Organisation” (GPO), groups of youths enter an immersive environment with sight and sound challenges to accomplish a mission. To be interactive, the game maximised available online functions (e.g. draw, annotate). Music, puzzles and quizzes were used with discernment. Finally, the team formulated an hour of gameplay, leading to group discussion and gospel sharing.
Online activities demand creative or new answers. Besides solving online technical problems, GPO team ensured a satisfying user experience from start to finish. To keep the number small for each slot, the team ran a number of rounds a day. Over-stretched, they found and train replacements.
For Preteens Ministry, going online meant picking up new tools. Nervousness and reservation with unfamiliar technology ebbed away as confidence grew with exposure and practice.
That we could lose connection with young people during this pandemic is one of the strongest challenges to overcome in all our 60 years! But God provided the ideas and a level of know-how to keep our online programmes and meet-ups with young people fun, engaging and meaningful enough. We thank God for the teamwork, ability, energy and speed to re-invent and grab opportunities to reach young people who were staying home. Pray for us to keep learning to do better and to “dare to explore and try.”
From an institutional home after we ran GPO for some residents: ”… the girls enjoyed themselves. The quest brought out the competitive spirit in them and some were super focused on the tasks. The staff could also tell that it took a lot of planning and effort to run it. She was very appreciative of the time and effort to plan and run the quest for the girls.”