On Saturday, 20 October 2018, 22 of us from NTU ISCF volunteered in Project HomeWorks, an initiative of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Singapore. This project aims to provide safe sanitary homes for the vulnerable elderly and persons of low income, with disabilities or with social issues living alone in one or two-room rental flats.
We cleaned five units in North Bridge Road, in which four of them were bed-bug infested. It was an eye-opener for most of us who have not done voluntary work before! We were split into five groups to do general cleaning, dispose bed-bug infested items (mattress, frame, pillows and bolsters), and replacing them with new ones. Finally, we sealed the gaps between electrical cases to prevent the bed bugs from hiding and breeding in the dark corners
This project is part of our Shalom Project, a follow-up initiative after the FES National Conference, which encourages us to be God’s channel of blessing, in this case to the marginalised elderly (1 Jn. 3:17-18). We also hope that this exposure would contribute towards our spiritual growth – developing our compassion and empathy towards the poor and needy around us.
The week prior to this volunteering event, we invited Pastor Yong Teck Meng, the National Director of HFH Singapore to our fellowship to equip our participants. He shared about “The Hole in The Gospel,” which challenged us to look at our faith, whether it is just about going to church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most gravely sins. His sharing about our calling as Christians to help the poor and needy (Deut. 15:1-11) and his experiences that made him pioneer HFH Singapore was very inspiring. He repeatedly emphasised that we cannot let a person, who is made in the image of God, live like an animal.
Although tiring, all of us were grateful for the whole experience to be able to help the elderly. Some of us felt sad when we saw first-hand their plight and living conditions. It reminded us on how privileged and fortunate we are. Through the group reflections, some of us learnt the importance of serving God and others wholeheartedly. Many also felt sad to think what it would be like if their parents or grandparents were to be in such a situation. This made us resolve to make an effort to be more concerned for the elderly. Some of the concrete actions that some of us committed to are to be more caring and sensitive towards the needs of other people around us, beginning with our family members and friends, and to volunteer more frequently in the near future.
Jason Hans Widjaja (NTU ISCF, Material Science Engineering, Year 3) &
Nicholas Stefanus Wongsodihardjo (NTU ISCF, Civil Engineering , Year 2)