A young Patrick with Mrs Steve
“Why did you fight for me?”
A 14-year-old Patrick asked his teacher, Mrs Steve. She had vouched for him, preventing his expulsion even after beating someone up.
“I see a spark in you, and I would really hate to see that go to waste. I love you like a son.”
Hearing those words for the first time changed Patrick.
Losing his father at six years old, Patrick grew detached from his family. Labelled a ‘troublemaker’ and filled with bitterness, he became an angry teenager convinced that no one believed in him.
Except for Mrs Steve. What she said that day would propel Patrick on a different path than the one he started on.
A release from darkness and a joy to be shared
Later on, during his polytechnic student days, someone introduced Patrick to the Christian faith. Still struggling with a deep sense of bitterness since his youth, he threw God a challenge:
“If you could remove the hatred and bitterness and the hatred inside me, I will follow you.”
As Patrick read the Bible, he saw in Jesus what he saw in Mrs Steve—an advocate for people like him who just needed grace and love. Instead of judging, Jesus just loved them and offered them a different way of life. This truth deeply resonated within him. That very day, he received Jesus into his life by faith.
“What happened after was, the gloom just lifted immediately, and I was able to forgive the people that had hurt me. For the first time, I was living a life that’s truly joyful,” he shared.
“I knew that there were people like me who need this message of hope, love and forgiveness from God,” Patrick continues.
Impassioned by the cause, Patrick joined Cru Singapore’s music ministry to train and invest in younger musicians, helping them to discover their significance through understanding Jesus’ love.
Discovering the Healing in Art
Taking a much-needed study-leave to pursue a degree at East Asia School of Theology (EAST), Patrick found it difficult to cope with the sudden demands of academics.
As a result, he sunk into depression and sought professional help. That was when he discovered that he had Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Though Patrick’s condition became clearer to him, the darkness of depression amid ADD needed to find light.
Through a friend, he contacted Urban Sketchers Singapore (USkSG), part of a global network of artists who draw—from observation on location, and joined them on one of their regular sketch-walks.
He soon discovered that doing art enabled him to manage the ADD well and eventually brought him out of depression..
“I was surprised at how good it made me feel, because I was able to concentrate. ADD wasn't affecting me when I was doing art, and at the end, I would have a good piece of artwork to cheer myself up with.”
In 2014, Patrick’s artwork helped raise funds for HCSA DaySpring Residential Treatment Centre and was presented to the President of Singapore.
“Looking back at my childhood, it never crossed my mind that I would one day be able to make a difference in people's lives. I have angels in my life, the Mrs Steves and people like that, who believed in me to thank for this.”
“They enabled me today to be in a position where I could be making an impact in people's lives and helping them find significance through the very things that I enjoy and brought me life.”
1. Who has been a “Mrs Steve” in your life? It’s time to drop them a text or meet them up for coffee to appreciate them!
2. Are you facing a mental health situation that you feel lost and helpless about? What are some hurdles stopping you from seeking professional help?
3. Are you in a difficult season of your life? Is there a “safe place” you can seek help at—perhaps someone whom you trust and understands you?
To find out more about Urban Sketchers or and join them on their sketch-walks, you may contact them directly at https://www.facebook.com/usksg/.
For Grace Tan, who serves in Wow Mom, it started with the simple desire to know God more.
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