church celebrates milestones
church at Pasir Panjang in Singapore recently celebrated three milestone events
in its history all on the same Sunday. On October 24, church members marked the
35th anniversary of the congregation, the "burning" of the mortgage
on their building and a record-setting Missions Sunday contribution.
The Sunday evening service was a celebration of 35 years of growth since the
congregation began meeting in an apartment Oct. 25, 1964. Since that time, the
church has grown to be the largest in Southeast Asia. In the present property,
five worship services are held each Sunday, with outreach to the Chinese,
Filipino, Thai and hearing-impaired communities. Henry Kong, who has been with
the congregation since 1966, serves as its minister and Patrick Ong serves as
minister to the hearing-impaired.
When Kong began his work, he was fully supported by the Quail Springs church
in Oklahoma City. Pasir Panjang later became self-supporting, but the two
churches have continued to enjoy a close partnership. In 1982, Pasir Panjang
had the opportunity to purchase its own building, so Quail Springs provided a
long-term, interest-free loan of $400,000. The 20,000-square meter property,
for which the church paid about $1 million, is worth approximately $8 million
dollars today. New offices and a 300-seat auditorium have been added, with
plans for remodeling in the near future.
In August of this year, Pasir Panjang surprised Quail Springs by announcing
that it would be repaying the entire remainder of the loan, several years ahead
of schedule. The Singapore church returned $107,000 to Quail Springs as the
final payment on the building loan.
Along with the repayment, Kong included an invitation for Quail Springs to
send two representatives from the leadership of the Oklahoma church for an
"all-expense-paid trip for a week or more" to Singapore. Kong
recommended that the representatives come for the October 24 service to help
celebrate the anniversary and take part in the "burning" of the
building note. The Quail Springs elders and missions committee selected Penny
Eubank, a missions committee member, and her husband, Nelson, to represent them
at the Singapore church.
As part of the Sunday evening anniversary service, Kong invited the Eubanks
to the podium to participate in the burning of the note to officially
"retire" the debt. Nelson presented a letter from the Quail Springs
elders to the Pasir Panjang church and a plaque to commemorate the occasion.
The elders stated, "The members at Quail Springs will always feel a
special kinship to the brethren at Pasir Panjang. The concerted effort of Quail
Springs and Pasir Panjang over the years to preach Jesus in Asia is testimony
to the fact that God’s Plan continues to work. We believe that this church
serves as a model of how missions programs should function. The congregation
was started and nourished by a few dedicated Christians who had a great vision
and who devoted their lives to making that vision a reality."
On Sunday morning, the church had its annual Missions Sunday, when members
pledge funds for the entire year’s missions giving. In 1998, the Pasir Panjang
church contributed $27,000 for missions, but the 1999 goal was set at $36,000.
Kong reported on Sunday night that the congregation had given $40,000 to
missions that morning, which was met by resounding applause. More applause
followed when Nelson announced that Quail Springs had sent a check for the
missions fund, adding $27,000 to the other contributions.
In a letter to the Quail Springs elders and missions committee, Kong said,
"This amount was given in spite of the fact that we are just recovering
from the Asian economic crisis and that just two months ago the church raised
more than $40,000 to top up the repayment of our building loan. This growing
generosity of Pasir Panjang was caught from the totally ‘reckless’ way in which
Quail has supported us, and in a small way, we are reflecting this spirit in
the way we go about our Father’s business."
Pasir Panjang is now supporting mission efforts in Indonesia, East and West
Malaysia, and an outreach to Muslims in Manchester, UK.
Present missions are taking Pasir Panjang members on campaigns to Mainland
China. The congregation’s mission funds also go to World English Institute and
to World Christian Broadcasting, as well as other outreach programs, both local
Before the collection was taken, a Missions Seminar was held with guest
speaker Pence Dacus. Dacus was a minister for the Pasir Panjang church for a
brief time in its early years and has served for many years as a missionary in
Dacus commented on the recent exchange between the two congregations:
"I feel it is a unique expression of faith on both sides and both have
acted with amazing responsibility. Quail Springs had enormous faith to extend
this loan in the first place ... And Pasir Panjang has responded by paying the
loan back responsibly." — PENNY EUBANK, Oklahoma City. Eubank teaches at
Oklahoma Christian University. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org