to my prayer'
Kum Yan MC leader was struggling
with work pressure and
thoughts of early retirement
Mr Voon (right): "God had given me a second life and I would like to spend more time in the ministries that I am already involved in to reach out to more senior citizens."
By CHEN YI RENG
SIXTY-FOUR-YEAR-OLD Voon Yan
Seong of Cantonese Kum Yan Methodist Church said that he had no
special gift and could not speak very well, yet he readily availed
himself to be used by God.
Why? "Because He has extended my life," he said.
Having survived three heart attacks since 1991, with the third nearly taking his life, he recounted his experience with thanksgiving to God.
"It was an answer to my prayer as I wanted to get out of the bank where I was working, and the job was giving me a lot of pressure. I was struggling with the thought of an early retirement as I knew I would have to forego the retirement pension and benefits.
"But I felt God had given me a second life and I would like to spend more time in the ministries that I am already involved in to reach out to more senior citizens."
Mr Voon retired at the age of 52 and was appointed Chairman of Kum Yan Methodist Church Senior Citizens Fellowship eight years ago by the Rev Fong Mow Hee, the pastor then, who initiated the ministry.
"I became a Christian at the age of 30. I came from a poor family and knew that there is a God. But I was too busy to seek him out in the earlier days of my life," he said.
He is grateful to the pastors who encouraged him and set good examples to him.
He described Kum Yan Senior Citizens Fellowship as an outreach arm to the older folk. Apart from the weekly outreach to Christalite Home for the destitute and beggars, it has also set up an Abundant Life Fellowship for the senior citizens to meet every Thursday for a time of fellowship.
"We have been visiting Christalite Home for the past four years. Basically we befriend the residents and share the Gospel with them. This is not a one-man ministry. I have received support from fellow sisters and brothers," he said.
The ministry has seen much progress since its inception. From the initial need for co-ordination and providing transport to members of the fellowship, the senior citizens now visit Christalite Home on their own accord.
A WILLING HEART
'You do not need any special skills.
All you need is to have compassion and a willing heart for the
Just be a friend to them.'
"Now I understand what it means not to depend on my own understanding. The members not only have learnt to give of their time, they have also given of their finances, like giving hong bao to the elderly."
One of the struggles he faces in this ministry is the "murmurings" among the members themselves. He related the effects of the tongue, which had hurt many who were eager to serve. In the worst cases, some have stopped serving and others have left the church.
He has this piece of advice for those in the ministry: "You know Who you are serving. You are serving only God. What others say do not mean much. We do not look for people's praises because we know it is God who rewards us. We are accountable to Him."
Mr Voon hopes to see more senior citizens stepping out to serve and be more involved in this outreach. He also hopes that "more young people will join us, as they are more vibrant and energetic to go on trips with us".
"We work hand-in-hand with the youth in the Youth Connection that reaches out to the younger ones."
He believes that everyone should be given a chance to receive the Gospel despite his or her age. "An elderly person can also receive God and be baptised," he said.
Although there seems to be a generation gap and a language barrier between the younger ones and the older generation, Mr Voon finds no grounds for these concerns.
What are the skills that both the young and the old need in order to be involved in the senior citizens ministry?
"You do not need any special skills. All you need is to have compassion and a willing heart for the under-privileged people. Learn as you go along," he encouraged. "Just be a friend to them. The old people will tell you stories such as World War II and you will learn."
Remembering Proverb 3:5-6 as his favourite verses, he said: "I know God's hand, God's provision and God's leading in every ministry. I put my trust in Him.
"Every day is a bonus to me. I conclude my prayer every morning thus: God, I am willing; use me, teach me, guide me and protect me."
Chen Yi Reng is a part-time correspondent for Methodist Message.