Someone from my cell group brought a new friend to our Sunday service yesterday. He was deaf. A deaf person in a hearing congregation- that's an anomaly in our church!
Had a slight panic attack before service- How was he going to worship? Who was going to translate the sermon for him? How were we going to communicate with him? All I knew about the sign language were the alphabets and it would take forever to spell out my sentences.
Well the moment worship began, he was more ready than anyone else to praise God. Nevermind his clapping was out of beat with everyone else, or that his singing was strained and strange to the ignorant ear. He jumped to the fast songs along with the rest of us, the focus and intensity of his worship undeniable.
Fellowship at lunch turned out great too! Armed with blank papers and pens, we scribbled our conversation to and fro. We laughed a lot and he amused us with his animated charades when writing got too slow and tiring. I learnt a lot of sign phrases from him- How are you, I am fine, Jesus loves you, God bless you etc.
After lunch I was supposed to help out one of my company's retail outlets in town, much to my displeasure. Already working a 5 and a half day week, Sunday is the only day of rest for me and I resisted the idea, toying with a hundred and one excuses not to go. Why was it any business of mine when the retail arm is short-handed due to bad planning? Grumble grumble grumble.
I hemmed and hawed for two hours, choosing to shop instead with one of my girlfriends. Reluctantly at 5:45 p.m., I dragged myself to the shop to "show face" and it turned out they didn't really need extra help or expected me anyways.
Still I decided to stay on in case a sudden crowd turns up. Three hours later, it became evident the crowd wasn't really going to come so I picked up my bag and was ready to go.
And then I realized that God had sent me there for a purpose!
It was one of those casual "goodbye, thanks for your help" conversations with the staff, when somehow the topic of me bring heavily involved in church came up and the new girl told me she was a Christian but doesn't go to church.
"Oh, but how come?" I asked.
It turned out she was from Sarawak, Malaysia and doesn't have friends in Singapore.
"Where do you live?" I continued.
"Whampoa, Block 74."
Whampoa! This is the land that my church has been doing active community outreach to for the past year and Block 74 was one of the blocks we cover. Strange enough though, she has never heard of us and cannot really remember the flyers we have sent out.
So I got her number and told her that the next time I'm in Whampoa (which is pretty much every Saturday), I'd call her to see if she was around so we could have a drink and also invited her for our Chinese service on Sunday.
God is so amazing!
Oh, and I felt so loved yesterday cos I had texted some friends to tell them I was going to be in the shop in the evening. Jo went all the way down in the morning (misread my message) to look for me and Armin changed her appointment with her client to town too so that she could meet me. I have the sweetest friends in the world! :)