By Poh Ee and Joyce
Hi Hope Family! We’ve been leading Ablaze KL for almost 10 years now. When we talk about discipleship or mentorship, the first people that come to mind would be the leaders under us but we’ll be primarily talking about the 6 that we’ve been spending the most years with, which are, Ian and Sean, Brian, Joel, Abigail and Minyi.
So the journey actually began about 15 years ago when I was 12, when my dad brought me to Hope Singapore for the first time and I joined their Hope Singapore camp. It was the first time that I’ve ever seen 900 youths together in one hall praising and worshipping God, coming together to just hear from the Word of God and wanting to lead their friends and reach out to them. I was inspired of course by the number of people in the hall but also by the age of the life group leaders that they had there. Some of the life group leaders were 14, 15 or 16 and they were leading life groups of 10+ people and they were doing Bible study together with their friends. They had a goal of at least having 1 life group in each of the schools in Singapore and I was very inspired by that.
But that inspiration had to incubate for another 5+ years before anything happened because there was no youth group happening in Hope KL at that time. Only 5 years later, did I bring Joyce and another leader to Hope Singapore for a similar camp and I think the inspiration was contagious?
I went there at 15 I think, and the life group I was placed in, the life group leader was 16. I was very inspired by them, that high school students can lead high school students. At Hope KL, it was the working adults leading the youth. So, it was something very new for us but at the same time we were like, “We want to do this back in Hope KL.” But coming back to Hope KL, of course, there was almost no structure, and nothing prepared but we also took a bit of time to sift through and get a direction on what it is we should be heading towards. I think we were most firm on wanting to see teenagers really own their faith and walk with God.
So that’s what we set out to do with the leaders that we have now or the members that were there then. So, these 6 were with us and that’s where the discipleship for them started. These 6, at least for the guys, were regular, religious players of the mobile game called Clash of Clans, where every Sunday they would gather together. Our church at that time was a three-storey building. The top was the main hall and the first floor would be the Youth Den where we would all gather and they would regularly spend time playing together and strategizing. They would play before the service and after the service. Annoyingly, they would also be playing during the service. They would escape the sermon time and go sneakily play downstairs or run to the mamak (Tamil Muslim eatery) and eat and just not attend the rest of the service. It took quite a fair bit of rebuking, scolding, warning and encouraging and other things to get them on the right track. What did you do with the girls?
When I started first with Abigail, it was very awkward. We would just be in a room, and we would do Bible study together.
We had a lot of awkward conversations but we’ve gone a long way from there. We continue to mentor them through the years, continue to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort with them. I remember many crazy things we do when we mentor them. For Christmas, I remember we were in college, and we would save up money so that at the end of the year, we would be able to give them something very special for Christmas. We would give them basketball, basketball shoes, a new Bible that they needed, a book, something that was very meaningful to them. I remember their faces, I remember how shocked and surprised they truly were by all these gestures that we give. They would ask me many times, “Why would you do this? Why would you and Poh Ee spend your money, time and effort to do this kind of thing that people outside won’t really do?”
We wanted to show them God’s love. I would tell them, “God loves us and our response, if we truly love God and we truly know His love, would be to love His people. And I hope one day, when it is your turn, you will love others too. You will mentor and you will care for others.” We are very privileged and grateful, very thankful to God that after so many years, we have 15 life groups. We have Brian leading 3 life groups. We have Joel leading 1 life group. We have Abigail being a Unit Leader, leading 5 life groups. We have Ian, also a Unit Leader, leading 5 life groups. We have Minyi, leading 1 life group. And Sean is leading 2 life groups and very involved in the church’s Praise & Worship Ministry. That’s just a few of them. We have so many other testimonies of what God has done through their lives.
The most amazing thing is that they are the ones mentoring now. They are the ones saving up money to bless people. They are the ones driving to people’s houses. They are the ones loving people, caring for them, going the extra mile. Every time we hear of what they do, we are very thankful and in awe of what God is doing in their lives. We continue to pray and hope that there will be more testimonies about mentoring.
We think that as long as you stay faithful, as long as you put your trust in God and not in your own abilities, God grants the opportunities, God grants the resources and He develops the disciples that will follow Him. We’re right there with you. Mentorship is a long process but trust the process and trust the God that’s handling the process as well. So, keep at it Hope Family!