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Clementi Bible Centre (CBC) Shelter

Week 6: CBC Shelter Closes

As the Circuit Breaker comes to an end, we bring the CBC Shelter to a close. The team looks back with thanksgiving and joy, praising God for weaving every thread of this Shelter together in His perfect wisdom. Ps Thomas Lim, our Shelter I/C, reflects on the experience, shares how we can continue praying for the stayers, and encourages us to venture out with the Lord of the harvest to reach out to the community:

Ps Thomas Lim:
We thank God for His providence over the past 6 weeks in the running of the CBC shelter. Looking back, it has been a journey of faith for both Mount Carmel and The Bible Church as we have never run a shelter before. We are grateful for the volunteers who stepped forward to help out in the different areas – as hosts, logistics coordinators, food coordinators and administrative support. All your contributions have been valuable in making this shelter project possible. As we wrap up the shelter on 1 June, we are amazed at how God has put everything together – the people, resources and also the support from our church leaders and the congregation.

Most of all, we are thankful for the 12 stayers who came and stayed in the shelter. One of the volunteer hosts remarked that we were not running a shelter but a place where stayers are cared for beyond the scope of a shelter as we tried to cater to their individual needs as much as we could. It was also very heartening when one of the stayers expressed his appreciation towards the church for not just providing a shelter, but also for showing interest in his life – something he did not find in other shelters.

Volunteer host Elder Siew Yam chats with a stayer as the latter prepares to transition out of the Shelter.

All of us are very thankful to God for answering our prayers over the past weeks about the fate of the stayers after we close CBC shelter by end of May 2020.  Will they be able to find another accommodation? It was at the beginning of last week that we received the good news that MSF and the social workers have found the next shelter for the stayers. Six of them are moving to HDB blocks in Buangkok housing estate, while another three will be going to another church, Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church along Pasir Panjang Road. The rest have found their own accommodation. From 28 May to 1 June, all of them moved out to their next place of lodging – we are grateful that this is taken care of! This is timely as our Kindergarten will be operational from 2 June.

Sending off 7 stayers on 28 May, Thursday, to their next accommodation.

Moving forward, we covet your prayers for these stayers to be able to settle down in their new accommodation and to find jobs to sustain their daily needs. Pray also for the church to continue to keep in contact with them to encourage them and share God’s love with them. We pray for the seed of love that was planted during their short stay with us to continue to grow, and that one day, they might remember our God who journeyed with them during this challenging time. 

We are also grateful that the opportunity to share God’s love during this period has opened our minds and hearts to these people who were caught in unfortunate situations – some not of their own doing. What we gain, as some have shared, is a deeper understanding and respect for these rough sleepers.  What we can remember most are the conversations they shared about their lives and their struggles.

Above all, this experience has been a wonderful time of working together with our brothers and sisters from The Bible Church – of putting our hands together in the plough.  For us, it is encouragement to dare to do more to reach out to the community, for God is at work all the time, and He invites us to dare to try and see His wondrous work unfold. The question is: do we dare?

1 June 2020

Week 5: Behind The Scenes (Part 2)

Behind the scenes, our Food and Procurement Teams have been faithfully ensuring that the stayers are amply provided for! For Cynthia Wee, who is part of the Procurement Team, this shopping journey has been more of a whirlwind than a breeze from start to end!

Cynthia Wee:
A whirlwind of events spun us into an orbit so unlike our usual ministry in CBC… Like the whizzing of fireworks in the night, the ping of WhatsApp messages, video chats, Zoom meetings were just shooting everywhere… We were going so fast that we must have seemed to [Hock Tee from The Bible Church] like a comedy routine of spinning the plates to keep from falling… It was hilarious – as though we were literally doing a makeover of our classrooms into a home.

The uncertainty of the official start date was nerve-wrecking…So as the joint task force was sitting on the edge of their seat raring to go for 20 April, Monday, we went into hyper mode and began shopping on 16 April. 4 days! 4 very intense non-stop day-and-night shopping to get as much as we could for Monday.

And then pop! The bubble burst! The application for the [government] permit was rejected. What?? One agency gave us the “go ahead” but the other said “no”. It was our circuit breaker!! I, for one, was glad as I needed time to get some of the safety supplies of taping, netted fencing, safety goggles and suits delivered as soon as possible. I was stuck without suppliers that had stock and could deliver, until I stumbled on an industrial supplies site that could do exactly just that. Yes! Thank You Lord! So thankful was I for our own mini Circuit Breaker and while there were thoughts of appealing to powerful connections, we went to the Highest and bowed down in prayer as a team.

Ps Liang Wei gently reminded us that this was yet another time for the team to come before the throne of God! We did, and soon after, we were jumping up and down that all was not in vain. God answered our prayers. The stayers now have a place to call home during the CB…We worked together inside out to bless those in their time of need and in turn were deeply blessed by the fellowship and friendships forged in giving of ourselves away. God is good! It was intense but a fond affection stirs in our hearts for the blessing of serving together for the good of others. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow! Nothing but praise and some steam was let out as I deflated with thanksgiving on my floor to see how God has worked all things through everyone together for His glory!!

24 May 2020

Week 5: Behind The Scenes (Part 1)

Behind the scenes, our Food and Procurement Teams have been faithfully ensuring that the stayers are amply provided for! This week, Tan Mui Hong, who is part of the Food Team, shares how God has blessed not only the stayers, but also the hawkers at West Coast Market through this initiative!

Mui Hong:
Covid-19 + CB = stay home in the name of Love. So I asked God, “how then do I demonstrate Christ’s love to my neighbours? We are all holed up in our homes!” God replied me in the form of a text from Cynthia Wee asking if I would be keen to join zoom meeting to explore how church can help the homeless. Would I? Of course!

Then God impressed upon my heart – your neighbours besides these homeless are the hawkers in West Coast Market. How do I share Christ’s love? Patronise them, involve them in this good works and let God use these interactions to touch their hearts.

Volunteer hosts collecting the pre-ordered food for the stayers!

Over the weeks, they have become accustomed to our modus operandi (faceless calls to place orders and pre-arranged time for pick up by one of our male volunteers). One of the hawkers even make it a point to give more rice each time we order from her, another lowers his minimum price per packet and yet another even shared the joyous arrival of his new born baby.

Amazed? I am awed! I never thought connectedness could be established this way! When safe distancing is lifted, I intend to visit our hawkers cum partners again and befriend them personally. May I encourage fellow Carmelites to likewise extend our friendship to our neighbours in West Coast and beyond!

24 May 2020

Week 4: Hear From A Volunteer!

What do our hosts actually do at the CBC Shelter? In this 1.5-minute video, Mong Kong gives us a tour of the Shelter and shares his experience serving as a volunteer host!

Watch it here 👇

17 May 2020

Week 3: Full House!

With 12 stayers in the compound, the CBC shelter is now filled! We thank God for the opportunity to bless them!

In this 2-minute video, Rachel Tan and Ps Liang Wei give us 1) the background of homelessness in Singapore, and 2) how we can pray for the stayers.

Watch it here 👇

9 May 2020

Week 2: Hear From A Volunteer!

We now have 9 stayers with us! This week, Rayner Loi, a young adult in Carmel, shares his experience as a volunteer host at the Shelter.

What motivated you to volunteer?
Most of us feel that Covid-19 and the circuit breaker (CB) has disrupted our lives and caused us a lot of inconvenience, but there are actually people in our midst that are more affected by this whole situation. Being part of this safe sound sleeping place (S3P) is one practical way that we, as God’s Church, can serve the needy.

Delivering food to a stayer!

What is your experience as a host so far?
I carry out simple duties like asking them how they are and if they need anything, and deliver food to them.

On Friday, I had a pretty heartwarming conversation with one of the stayers I delivered food to:

Rayner: hey bro here’s your dinner. How is everything? I hope you are well.
Stayer: ya very good thank you I am very thankful for this. God bless you all man. I’m not religious but God bless you all.
R: we’re happy to have you here bro, it’s the least we can do
S: least you can do? Wow..
R: yes bro our belief is we have received so much, we don’t believe in keeping, we believe in giving so we want to bless others like yourself.
S: wow.. you don’t know how much this means to people like us. Thank you for your kindness.
R: don’t worry at all, anything just let us know and we will try to help as much as we can.

I realised such small tasks and acts of delivering food and asking if they need anything can have such a huge huge impact on them… sometimes we think we need do big things for God to advance His Kingdom but actually it’s these small things that are also advancing His Kingdom.

How can the church pray for this effort?
1. Pray for some of the stayers who are looking for jobs.
2. Pray for more sustainable arrangements for them as the S3P only supports these stayers during the CB period.

2 May 2020

Week 1: We’re Open!

This week, CBC opened its compounds to house the homeless who are in need of shelter during the circuit breaker. Our volunteers worked hard to prepare the place for them and have welcomed four stayers since Wednesday.

Here are some photos of the set-up in CBC as well as our volunteers. Please continue to pray for our new friends and for the CBC Shelter team!

Welcome to CBC! We hope our new friends will find their stay here comfortable!

Our Shelter I/C Ps Thomas Lim (middle) with two volunteer hosts Jason Tan (left) and Mong Kong (right) all ready to welcome our stayers with their warm, welcoming smiles! 🤩

During admission, stayers submit the required documents and are briefed on the house rules. These were meticulously prepared by our legal and admissions teams for the smooth running of the Shelter.

Our volunteer hosts then usher the stayers to their respective rooms on level 4. Each room is equipped with sleeping facilities and an electric fan among other provisions.

Besides providing three meals a day, stayers are also given a welcome pack containing toiletries, cleaning supplies, refillable snacks and drinks, and gospel tracts they can read in their free time. 😊

26 April 2020

Dear Carmelites

The present circuit breaker has been a difficult time for us all in Singapore. One group who has been particularly affected is rough sleepers (homeless persons), as they are no longer able to take refuge in their usual outdoor spots.

In response to this need, Mt Carmel BP Church, together with The Bible Church, has been working with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to set up a safe, sound, sleeping place (S3P) in a part of our church premises.

Work is underway to start housing 12 male stayers on Level 4 of CBC from 22 April 2020 until the end of the circuit breaker period.

We also covet your prayers for this endeavour. A project of such a nature is new to many of us, but we feel led to answer this call because this is an excellent opportunity to show hospitality to those in need. Pray for the team that is overseeing this project, to be given wisdom, strength, and courage as they make all the preparations necessary for this shelter. Pray for those whom the Lord will send to us as stayers in this temporary shelter to experience His love through us.

21 April 2020

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