by David Chan, MMS Country Director of Timor-Leste and the Principal of St Paul Methodist School (Timor-Leste).
When the lock-down was implemented to manage the COVID-19 situation in Timor-Leste, St Paul Methodist School (SPMS) was forced to close yet again. The students could not go to school and we were forced to conduct our lessons online. Unfortunately, the students did not have mobile devices for online classes. And even if they had the devices, not many students could afford buying data plans and their internet connection was too unstable.
However, God provided, as usual! God's plan is always the best.
God knew the devices we needed for students to continue their education. Members from Aldersgate Methodist Church, Faith Methodist Church and Holland Village Methodist Church raised S$32000 to support this initiative. God provided the right amount of money for us to purchase the required number of 251 handphones.
God also provided the manpower! Three years ago, my elder son, Isaac, went back to Singapore so that he could serve and complete his National Service earlier than usual. I was overjoyed and thankful when he returned to Timor-Leste last year. He has been very instrumental in rolling out the distribution of 251 handphones. He led and trained the teachers to set up all the phones, and worked with the telco to provide daily data for the students.
God also planted our missionaries, Rudy and Cheryl, back in Singapore. They were unable to return earlier but God used them as advocates for this vision of providing mobile devices for the students. Being physically in Singapore, they were able to garner support and liaise directly with various parties.
There might be challenges in running SPMS in this season. But God’s word reminds us of God’s sovereignty and His promises. A good friend took photos of some birds in Singapore and printed them out as bookmarks with Bible verses. She gave me 400 sets of 10 bookmarks, which I had given out to the students in the one month when there was no school closure. These bookmarks served as weekly encouraging reminders for the students to hide God’s word in their hearts.
Exodus 14:14 - The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.
Psalm 17:8 - Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.
Psalm 34:8 - Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
God reminded me that He had put all the students in SPMS because He had a purpose and reason. He would fight for them. They only needed to be still. And He would go with them and would never leave them nor forsake them. He would keep them as the apple of His eyes and would hide them in the shadow of His wings. Blessed are they who take refuge in Him.
Indeed, we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. Isn't He a God of order in the midst of 'chaos and uncertainties' in the world? Let us raise a hallelujah. Let it grow louder so that the world will know that He alone is God.
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