AT FIRST CENTRE (2020)
WE ARE NOW
From a YEAH at our Dedication Service in January 2020 to a...
and the church was reset. All normalcy was brought to a screeching halt.
The New Zion began...from home
Families explored the Book of Acts.
MKC went online with Kahoot!
CGs meet online.
Chats-for-dads was initated.
Our ladies gathered online.
And More To Thank God for...
Samuel, Shirley, Emmanuel & Esther
1 Chronicles 16:34 reminds us that we are to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever! In spite of circumstances and difficulties, He remains good, and in control. Since we were last back in Singapore in January 2020, life has been significantly impacted by COVID-19. The challenges have been unrelenting as we deal with uncertainty, though it is at these times that we learn to look upon God as the only certainty. We are thankful for your prayers, that we have been able to keep in good health, and to keep serving here.
When we arrived back in China in February 2020, the atmosphere was very tense with cities in lockdown. On the flight back to Yantai, we had less than 20 people on the flight. I recall the deserted streets while coming back to our apartment from the airport. Major highways were closed and I was stopped three times on the way home for a temperature check. Shirley and the children were able to come back to China two weeks later, just before international travel restrictions were imposed.
By March 2020, the situation had very much improved and life had resumed back to some form of normality in terms of daily living, and it has been this way since. However, with the spread of COVID-19 internationally, this had caused some concerns, and the school was only open to re-open in May
2020. It was difficult getting our teachers to come back due to travel restrictions. However, we witnessed miracle after miracle with every staff member that received approval to return. Through this time, we continue to see God's hand of provision and faithfulness in increased student enrolment.
Besides the difficulty of travel internationally, we have not been able to return home. However, for the most part, it has felt like COVID-19 did not happen in China. We were reminded on August 3, 2021, when we found ourselves suddenly locked in our apartment complex for a week, with city wide COVID testing. In total, about 6.5 million people were tested twice over a week.
We continue to deal with local policy changes almost on a daily basis - what we know to be true today no longer be accurate next week. COVID-19 has significantly accelerated the rate of change around the world, but we put our trust and hope in the unchanging one, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
As Psalm 119:105 reminds us, 'your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path'. We are also reminded that His grace is sufficient for us. We need His grace for just the next step.
A Privileged Stint
in the Holy Land
Eleazar & Pearl Ee
Instead of writing from the Judean Desert, this report is written from our temporary rental apartment in Pasir Ris, Singapore. The past year has been immensely memorable. Having been granted Residency in 2018, our outlook was to live in Israel for the rest of our lives. The difficult part is to get the Residency. The easy part is the renewal. The annual renewal is usually a matter of formality. This was the position of the officer at the Ministry of the Interior in Jerusalem. As it turned out, in Aug 2020 (six months after the anticipated renewal date), we received a letter stating that our Residency will not be renewed. Such is the nature of the Lord's leading. Our response is not to appeal against the Interior Ministry's decision, but to acknowledge that our
season in the Land is up. It's time to pack and head back home to Singapore.
What followed was a frantic rush to get our Ma'ale Adumim apartment listed for sale, close all our accounts, and get a flight out. Local conditions for selling our apartment was unfavourable, as a pandemic was sweeping across the land and livelihood severely compromised with job losses and social lockdowns; flights out of Ben-Gurion Airport were suspended...no one knew when they would be re-instated. To say that there were anxious moments would be an under-statement, but the Lord saw us through all these in fine style. To Him be the glory.
We landed in Israel on 9 Feb 2013. We departed in the early hours of 17 Sep 2020. We had been in the Land 7 years 7 months and 7 days. Eleazar celebrated his 70th birthday the day before our departure. As a young Jewish teenager in our congregation reminded us, 7 is the biblical number for completion.
We left for Israel with no inkling of what we're supposed to do, having only just received a revelation of the importance of Israel in God's agenda. Our belief is that the Lord will make it clear in His time. We turned down invitations to attend big churches in Jerusalem attended mainly by foreigners. Instead, we felt led to attend a small messianic congregation right where we lived in Ma'ale Adumim. We were warmly welcomed there and before long, Eleazar was rostered for the pulpit ministry and to a less frequent extent, the worship ministry. In addition to these, we felt a clear leading to host Rosh Chodesh celebrations in our apartment. This is the monthly new moon celebrations (Isaiah 66:23), which turned out to be well attended and well received by both Jews and Gentiles. Attendance ranged from 40 to peaks exceeding 60. The celebration has now been replicated in many nations, including the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and the Philippines.
The Rosh Chodesh celebrations allowed us to demonstrate the need to follow God's Word as opposed to Jewish traditions. Throughout this time, the sensing of the call was to prepare the ground for the return of Yeshua, principally a people that love Him and obedient to His Word.
We will continue to pursue this call, ever seeking the Lord for His Holy Spirit enabling and open doors, regardless of the fact that we are now based in Singapore. Eleazar is energized by this call, taking comfort that he left Singapore as Winston, and returned as Eleazar (My God will help me).
Beyond doubt, this stint in Israel has been a privilege and an honour for us. Our lives have been enriched and forever changed. We give glory to the Lord for opening our eyes on Israel, calling us to Israel, sustaining us in Israel, and bringing us back safely to Singapore; and seeing to all aspects of our re-location back to Singapore, despite the trying circumstances. Our sincere thanks to our church and friends for the much-needed prayer support over the years.
Our God Reigns!
Church was disrupted but not distracted.
In this unprecedented moment we navigated with our skills, adapted and created new ways to meet, worship and pray. From the regular Onsite Service to online and then to hybrid meetings, we connected. Cell groups meet regularly, if not more. Prayer sessions did not stop and we were zoom-ing (to the point of fatigue). Teachings for the children (MKC) went on creatively. Not forgetting the essential crew (Worship and PA Ministries) who kept the online service running week after week.
We could not travel but we did not stop giving (Missions Budget).
(Jordan House of Prayer)
(The Aliyah Return Centre Family - Vertical Galilee House of Prayer)
God has more than just a pause for us; more than just the ease of access to online service and meetings. He is active and is still in the business of doing a new thing - God is building us for much more. We cannot deny the change and something has shifted.
Let us fix our eyes on Yeshua that our faith continues to grow and discern how God is leading us to arise in the new normal. That we will be the redemptive community, mature and faithful to complete the ministry we received from our Lord Jesus.