The following testimony was written by Lily Chia, a CARE staff who journeyed with Caroline* (pseudonym) upon her admission to Rumah Kepercayaan**.
"Hello good morning! How are you?"
"Good morning! Tired lah but good. You?"
"I am good. Wow, you brought your violin!"
Catching up, cracking jokes, gossiping, sometimes crying... That's how we usually start and continue our day. Personally, it feels like I’m spending time with a close friend rather than serving someone who is in need.
A few weeks ago, Caroline requested for me to play her favourite Tamil worship song. I was finally able to memorize it after listening to it countless times. I then started playing the song casually on my violin that very morning. Trying to figure out the familiar melody, she appeared confused.
" Wow..." She recognized the tune. She slowly followed the notes, humming and singing with teary eyes. In contrast, I was just smiling at her while playing.
I finished the song. And she asked, " Can I just hug you?"
I could feel her tight grip from the hug. " Why? Why so touched?" I asked.
"You, a Chinese who had never really listened to Tamil songs, but intentionally learnt, practised and played one for me. That was too much."
Sitting there, I felt how this cross-cultural action meant so much to her. It quickly taught me to reflect on how Jesus, the glorious Son of God in the heavenly realm, willing to become man, lived like us and died for us. What I did for Caroline was just a tiny bit of what Jesus did for us. His love indeed overcomes all barriers between God and man! How great is He!
As I continue to reflect, I realized how much her appreciation meant to me. It was a big relief. I often stress myself thinking about what to do or the bombastic things I have to say to change her but I’ve learnt that I need to simply show the love of God naturally through my actions and from my heart.
I started to grasp the core of the ministry - it's always the relationship, not so much the programmes, that helps the person in their journey towards recovery. I have heard this from many faithful servants of Christ, “when we serve God by journeying with someone, the focus is not to transform their lives, but ours being transformed.”
Now I know, this is true. And it will always be true.
Name altered to protect identity.
**Rumah Kepercayaan is our women halfway home established 30 years ago and has been a place of refuge where residents are provided with basic needs and shelter on top of living skills and character nurturing.