29 July 2017 was a day of thanksgiving and rejoicing as PSPC witnessed the
Ordination of Pr Kelvin Chen as Minister of Word and Sacrament and
Installation as Associate Minister.
At the Ordination Service, Rev Kelvin Chen gave
the “Statement by the New Minister” which is reproduced in this bulletin.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you, each one of you, for your years of support, encouragement and prayer – God has used each one of you to speak into my life, and not forgetting family, especially Mum and Dad for your nurturing investment – and also, Stuart, Faith and Joshua. I know you didn’t quite get to vote on whether or not you wanted to come along with us when we went to serve in Nigeria – but mum and I are most encouraged that today you guys are not grumbling about the sacrifices resulting from being part of a family committed to serving in ministry, but instead are joyfully seeking the Lord yourselves!
And thank you, Debbie, my dear wife of exceptional love and endurance – who has been serving with me, and at many times provided the much needed encouragement to press on even in the midst of difficulties. I remember a not-so “memorable occasion” sometime during our service in Nigeria – where some local chaps set up a road-block on the Federal Road to try collect local taxes which we had already paid. But they were high on some sort of drugs, and would not accept any explanations, and perhaps they also sensed a financial opportunity that a helpless foreign family presented. Easy targets, you know, in more ways than one. But that day, I was feeling a deep sense of despair, and a horrible weight on my shoulders, feeling something heavy, like, “Really? Do we have to go through this all over again?” So after we were detained on the edge of the jungle for an hour and a half, with no cellphone coverage to call for help, and yours truly feeling a deep sense of hopelessness in his heart – when Deb gathered us to pray: the children, our driver, and I – and then did what was probably one of the most courageous acts I have seen. She got out of the vehicle, all 149cm of her, and walked quick and confident to these guys at the road block, and began to reason with them. And I was still feeling a deep, ominous, sense of despair, and could only look on, desperately praying “Lord, please help us”… and a couple of minutes later, God provided an angel in the form of an army sergeant, who appeared from nowhere, but who went up to support her and gave these guys a terrific scolding, and just like that, they removed the obstructions and told us to go! That’s my dear wife – brothers and sisters in Christ! Small in size, but with a lioness’ courage in her heart, and a steadfast trust in the Lord! And I can only say, thank you Lord, for giving me this dear lady as my life and ministry partner!
God called us both to serve Him in missions in 1989 while we were undergrads at the NUS, and He alone has proven Himself faithful since then: He was working off the rough edges in my life, patiently waiting till we were ready to go to Africa, raising up prayer and financial support through PSPC and others so that we could serve Him in Nigeria, and bringing all 5 of us back to Singapore (for which we are grateful), helping the children adjust back to the Singapore system of schooling, re-tooling Deb and I at Singapore Bible College, then calling us to serve in Leadership, Sending and Mobilization at SIM East Asia … what can we say, on experiencing God’s goodness, God’s ability and God’s love, except “Thank you, Lord?”
Brothers and sisters in Christ – Abba Father has always been good, able, and loving – He has never failed, and He has always been faithful.
Earlier this year, during the month of May, I began intentionally seeking the Lord’s direction for the next season of ministry, as my term as Deputy Regional Director at SIM East Asia was to draw to a close at the end of August. And as I was seeking Abba Father, He gave me clear realization that in fact, the local church and the international missions endeavour to make disciples of all nations are really (in the big picture), part of a continuous spectrum. The missionaries who serve, don’t just parachute from heaven… each and every one of us comes from the local church, where they encountered Christ, were discipled to spiritual maturity, and then sent out to serve.
Thus if the various international fields are on one end of the spectrum, then the mobilization and sending bases act as the intermediaries to help discern suitable candidates, and then co-work with the local church to send.
Abba Father then showed me during a personal retreat at the OMF Bungalow, that it is necessary, vital even, for these dear children of His, to be guarded and nurtured into missional disciples, who would take their place wherever He sends them, whether locally or overseas, whether in the market place or in full-time ministry, to make new disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey everything Jesus had commanded us.
Then I realised that this echoed what Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:12, that God calls some of us into roles as pastor and teaches, “to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature”!
Brothers and sisters in Christ – thank you for your encouragement and support. Would you please continue to pray for my children (Stuart, Faith and Joshua), would you please continue to pray for my wife Debbie, and for me, that we might continue to faithfully proclaim His Good News in word and deed, and to love and serve Him faithfully, so help us God. Thank you!