A Bright Little Red Dot

‘Every Christian is commissioned, for every Christian is a missionary. It has been said that the gospel is not merely something to come to church to hear but something to go from church to tell.’ Dr Vance Havner

The last words of Jesus to his disciples before his ascension were “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” They were called to witness both at home and abroad. Not here or there but both here and there.

It is with this understanding that the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS), a young and small church of about three thousand members seeks to make Singapore (often referred to as a little red dot) a bright little red dot that faithfully shines for Jesus. We seek to maintain a healthy balance between the church’s missionary programs and the programs of the congregations.

Thailand missions…At the church level, our mission engagement commenced with our becoming a member of the Lutheran Missions in Thailand (LMT) in 1988, and in cooperation with partners of this mission we started the Thai Good News Centre in Singapore in 1989.

This centre has since provided language and computer courses, counselling, outings, worship services and gospel camps to Thais living in Singapore.

In 1994, we had the joy of sending our first missionaries, the Rev Rickson Leong and his family, to Thailand. The Rev Terry Kee and his wife Sally followed in 1996 and Ms Rosanna Hutagalung in 2004.

In partnership with LMT, we have planted congregations, trained workers and participated in the lives and ministries of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Thailand.

International Lutheran Seafarers’ Mission…The Bavaria Lutheran Church contacted us in 1990 about a possible cooperation to bring the gospel to international seafarers coming through the port in Singapore. We entered into an agreement, and in 1991 the Rev Werner Strauss arrived with his wife Liesel to head the newly formed International Lutheran Seafarers’ Mission in Singapore. Under his leadership, and later with new local staff added, this ministry has faithfully served the seafarers to this day.

They have provided reading materials, counselling, practical help and Bible studies to seafarers who have needed them. They have also been instrumental in bringing to Jesus many seafarers from mainland China. Many of these new believers were ferried from the port to Jurong Christian (Lutheran) Church for worship, and some were even baptised at the church.

Mongolian missions…In 1998 the Lutheran Church in Singapore was contacted to provide support for a Lutheran theological student from Mongolia for his studies in Singapore Bible College (SBC) in Singapore.

The student had his field education with the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer during his studies with SBC. A relationship was established, and when he graduated in 2002, the congregation continued to support his ministry in Mongolia. As his ministry in Mongolia expanded, the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer then applied to have the work adopted at the church level. This was approved, and the LCS is now supporting the church in Mongolia, with members of the Redeemer congregation as the core supporters.

We now send at least two teams of mission travellers a year, who participate in medical and dental mission work, children’s outreach and youth training. The Rev Terry Kee is conducting lay training during their Summer Camp as well as a Leaders Retreat on an annual basis.

Cambodian missions…Challenged by the LWF-Mekong Missions Forum, the LCS accepted the challenge to enter Cambodia with the gospel. Under the leadership of Rev Dr William Chang, the Love Cambodia Mission was established in 2006. Since then, more than a hundred mission travellers from Singapore have participated in the work there, and in January 2008 we even had 17 people from the Lutheran Church of Australia joining the teams.

By the provision of the Lord, we were able to purchase a piece of land for our proposed Social Centre, which we also intend to use as a place of worship on Sunday. We are awaiting approval from the relevant authorities and hope to build the centre by the end of this year.

China teaching missions…Through a theological student from Zhenzhou, Henan, the Chinese-speaking pastors of our church had the opportunity to be involved in the teaching ministry at the Xuchang Bible Seminary in Zhenzhou. Then, in 2003, through an unexpected turn of events, we were put in contact with Pastor Ma, of the ZhouKou Bible Training Institute. Since then we have been sending two teams of Chinese-speaking pastors to teach there on an annual basis.

Other congregational incentives…In addition to the various church-endorsed ministries already mentioned, several congregations have other missions which they support and participate in. For example, the Lutheran Church of our Redeemer actively supports the Christian orphanage in Nias, Indonesia. They also support one of their members serving with the OMF in Cambodia and send teams to Myanmar and Mongolia on a regular basis. The Queenstown Lutheran Church has provided support for one of their members who reaches out to students in Japan and another member serving in a Christian orphanage in Cambodia, as well as for a church planting project in Nepal.

“Reverse” missions…As more and more foreign friends started coming to Singapore to study or work, God began to show us the great opportunity we have to reach out to them with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Bedok Lutheran Church established a Christian Fellowship for Filipinas, Jurong Christian (Lutheran) Church is actively involved in outreach to Chinese seafarers who come to the port of Singapore. Queenstown Lutheran Church is reaching out to nursing students from China and is making plans to reach out to nursing students from Myanmar. The Lutheran Church of our Redeemer has the opportunity to intentionally reach out to foreign students residing in the International Students’ Hostel across the street from their church.

We are thankful to God for giving us the opportunity to participate in what he is doing in reaching the lost both in Singapore and also in other parts of the world.

This story was also published in the July 2008 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner church in Singapore at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/singapore/