With a tap on his phone screen, Marcus signed up for a night out with the homeless. This unusual opportunity came through the *8-Day Challenge – a series of email devotions that Marcus had received from a friend. This devotional series produced by Cru Singapore is based on Ephesians 2:10, highlighting how we are masterfully created for God’s purpose to help and bless others.
In the same vein, it aims to inspire and encourage participants to do something different in their everyday lives. Reaching out to the homeless – who are often overlooked, unseen and forgotten by society – was one of the events organised to challenge participants to venture out in faith.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect.” Marcus quipped, about his decision to spend his Saturday night out with the homeless. “But I wanted to contribute back to God’s kingdom and society.” Having recently returned to church, being involved in ministry was a natural outflow of experiencing God’s faithfulness in his life.
For Alessandrya, a staff nurse at a government hospital, going through the 8-Day Challenge and taking part in this outreach was something out of her comfort zone and a first step towards exploring missions. It turned out to be a timely challenge for her from God.
Armed with herbal drinks and bright smiles, the new volunteers joined regulars from Homeless Hearts of Singapore (HHOS) who have been making fortnightly rounds on the streets to befriend the homeless. Much to her surprise, Alessandrya could not tell that it was a homeless woman who came forward to chat with them. “She was cheerful and outspoken. It made me realise that they are ordinary people just like you and I.”
Marcus agreed. “Some are homeless by choice, and others not. Through this experience, I discovered that they are like us in many ways, desiring friendship and fellowship. They are actually very approachable.” In fact, the man whom Marcus interacted with readily shared his personal story and was open to hearing about God, and be prayed for.
Winnie, another participant in this outreach recollected, “It surprised me when the man we approached started to ask me questions about Christianity in Mandarin. I thought I was there just to befriend him.” Having the chance to share the gospel encouraged Winnie greatly, who had been involved in Cru Singapore as a student. Since the outreach, she has been thinking about how churches can be involved in meeting the needs of the homeless in Singapore.
The experiences of these participants reflect poignantly what Abraham Yeo, founder of HHOS, had in mind. “What I really want to highlight is that these are people, and but for the grace of God, we could be in the same position as them. We want others to see who they really are as human beings with backstories, beauty, dignity and worth.”
For Eliza, a Cru Singapore staff and coordinator for this outreach, the greatest encouragement is in knowing that many of the participants were stepping out of their comfort zone simply because God nudged their hearts. “No (Cru) staff ‘challenged’ them!”
Partnering with HHOS has been a fruitful opportunity to gather like-hearted participants to *L.I.V.E a life redeemed and destined for His purposes. Going forward, there will be monthly outreaches to the homeless. If you would like to join us, do drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*8-Day Challenge is an email devotional series that is a part of LiveSg, a Cru Singapore initiative to encourage people to L-ove God and others, I-gnite Your Passion, V-enture out in faith and E-ncourage someone today.
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