MISSION REPORT – AUGUST 2021 (By Preacher James Tan)
Matthew 6: 33-34

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be
added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take
thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Time has flown by since our last mission report in April 2021. Since then, we thank God for
the completion of another term which ran from 17 May to 28 July for the 2nd to 4th year students.
This included 2 weeks of review and examination for courses the students had taken in Term 1
(2020). The remaining 9 weeks were used for the completion of subjects from Term 2 (2020).
During the 9 weeks, subjects were taught and tested intensively (i.e. 1 subject per week). This was
to ensure that students could gain credit hours even if a lockdown were to occur along the term and
when classes had to stop. Lesson hours per day were also lengthened to 6 hours in order to fulfil all
credit hours of the usual 12-week term. Looking back, we give thanks to God’s sufficient grace on
the faculty and students alike, for the adjustment and enabling through the intensive nature of the
term. Some may wonder why the college does not consider e-learning as an option to cope with the
volatile situation? The reason is simple. For many of our students, to access to the internet, whether
infrastructurally or financially, is not viable. Thus, the Lord’s provision for the college was to grant
a smooth 11-week period for the resumption of studies.

Going forward, the college prays for the completion of another 2 intensive terms for the
completion of all subjects that should have been taken in 2020. These have been planned for 2 Aug
to 8 Oct (2nd term for 1st year/Certificate, 3rd term for 3rd/4th year); and 11 Oct to 10 Dec (3rd term
for 1st year/ Certificate, 3rd term for 2nd year). As it is, at this point of writing, we thank God for the
reopening of yet another term. COVID-19 cases has been on the rise the past weeks. The infection
rate is between 13-18% daily. The full impact of the delta variant may manifest itself in time to
come. Amidst the uncertainties, we pray that God will be merciful and gracious to grant the college
at least the completion of this current term, that the graduating batch of students may not be delayed
for another year. Even so, our human will and wisdom aside, may the Lord grant us all pa-
tience and trusting submission to His perfect and good will (Rom 8:28).

The rigour of running the terms intensively due to COVID-19 can put a toll on the physical
strength of both students and faculty. However, the greater worry is he impact that the pandemic
had upon the students’ spiritual condition. Many of our returning students had spent more than a
year away from the college, ceasing from their studies. Not a few of them had spent the year
making ends meet either on farms or doing odd-jobs. Unlike the supportive environment we are
blessed with in Singapore, it is not a common practice that churches provide financial support for
pastors/teachers in training. It was an observable struggle for some to make the overnight switch
from ploughing the ground to ploughing through books. We found many not doing well for the
examinations during the review weeks. Nonetheless, we saw the Lord’s hand in helping the
students to settle back into the academic rigour progressively. God willing, we continue to pray for
their learning and equipping in the remaining 2 terms of the year.

Sadly, we have painfully lost a handful of students to the world during this year of stop-
page. We know of particular students who chose not to report back for studies as they wanted to
focus on businesses they had started. “And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the
plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 62). Though a disappointment,
we still thank the Lord for proving the true hearts of these students who had professed themselves
to be called to the full-time service of the Lord.

Another surprise came mid-way during the term when graduation request letters came one
after another from our 3rd year students who did not want to go on to the 4th year. 13 letters were
submitted out of 17 returning 3rd year students. The faculty lamented. We knew a few of them had
been doubled-minded since returning. Likewise, they were managing businesses which started in
the past year. However, for others, we wondered if the zeal and love for God’s Word had grown so
cold that returning to the college was just a desire for the paper certificate. Could it also be a class
effort to reflect displeasure against the college for not resuming earlier? After speaking with
individual students, we came to understand that the students had made independent decisions . For
most of them, the pandemic had placed such a financial burden upon their families that paying the
school fees for another year seemed impossible. The college understood that many families are
going through great financial stress under the pandemic measures. However, we were concerned
that the deeper issue was a lack of faith on the part of the students. God’s provision for His servants
is ever sufficient if only we will learn to seek first His kingdom and righteousness (Matt 6:33). The
Lord moved the hearts of the faculty to emphasise upon the Lord’s calling to ministry over the
pulpit, both in the chapel services and in classes. We thank God for the Holy Spirit’s work of
conviction through His Word in the students. We have since received a few requests for
continuation of studies from those 3rd year students. We continue to pray that some others will
decide not to have an early exit, but rather to stay on the course and to keep the faith, even in this
training phase of the ministry (2 Tim 4:7).

In the past months, the death of many loved ones has also been a struggle brought along
by the pandemic. News of death have become a frequent occurrence, be it family members of the
students and church members, or even missionaries whom were taken home. We had a student
who lost 4 family members within a period of few months. How tragic! At times, the reasons of
these sudden deaths are unknown, and we can only pray for those bereaved to receive comfort
and strength from the God of all comfort through His Word (1 Cor 1: 3-4). Financial difficulties
and deaths are just but two obvious manifestations of a country suffering from a lack of
governmental support in battling the Covid pandemic. Much focus had gone to the General
Elections coming up in 2022. We pray especially for the rulers of this land (1 Tim 2: 1-2).

As much as we have seen the spiritual struggles of the students over the past months,
we have also been burdened by those of the Campus Church members. A single case of COVID
-19 on campus may force the college to end a term. Thus, the college maintains a strict policy in
terms of low contact with people outside the compound. This includes the Campus Church
members who comes from all around. To minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, all other
Campus Church activities remains ceased, with the exceptions of the Lord’s Day Worship
Service and Children Sunday School. Adult members may go “missing” for weeks without
attending the worship services, likely for work. Increasingly, we worry for the young adults and
junior youths who stroll in late, or may just be mere ‘spectators’ of the services. For them to be
in the world 7 days, and just 1 hour in the Lord’s House per week, the nonchalant attitudes are
not unexpected. Even for the children, whom parents are focused on making ends meet for their
physical needs, the hour-long Sunday School session cannot be sufficient for their spiritual
feeding. To balance the needs of the students and the needs of the church members is one that
requires much wisdom especially during this time of pandemic. We pray as we reach out to the
church members with the Word of God in limited ways, that the Lord will keep the souls of His
people in fear of Him, in remembrance of His Word, and in seeking Him first.

Indeed, the precious lesson of seeking God first, and trusting in His provision found in
Matthew 6: 33-34 has been a prominent one in the past months. And we give all praise to God
for helping us to learn this truth even experientially for the college’s needs. Significant
repairment and upgrading works have been done all around the campus. New computers and
class projectors had been brought, solar water heaters installed for the student dormitories, iron
doors reinforced for enhanced security of the mission kindergarten, construction works ongoing
on the Rwandan campus to fulfil accreditation requirements etc. Travelling expenses between
the colleges have also gone up due to measures like PCR tests and hotel quarantine stays.

Throughout these many years, the college has been sustained by God’s sufficient
provision through the love of His people from countries all around (e.g. USA, Korea,
Singapore). The burden of support falls especially upon the shoulders of our dear Principal, Rev
(Dr.) Mark Kim. In the 30 over years that he has laboured sacrificially for the college, we
witnessed and have continued to see how the good hands of the Lord have provided for the
needs of the campuses.

In the months to come, two major projects are in the plan. Firstly, installation of solar
water pumps for the borehole to ease the overall electricity consumption of the college. This
would cost about USD $5000, and would hopefully last for the next decade or two. Secondly,
installation of alarm systems for the outlying areas of the campus. Recently, an elderly Korean
resident fell from the water tower and is currently receiving treatment for broken spinal and
collar bones. Thank God she had access to her phone and could call for help. However, this has
brought to our attention the need for an alarm system in cases of emergency.

In our morning faculty meetings, we pray often for those who give lovingly to the
college (2 Cor 9: 12-14). Especially in such times when we see that the health pandemic has also
brought on economic struggles in the lives of people. Perhaps some are also facing financial
challenges of their own. Therefore, we do not take for granted the agape love that they
have continually shown towards the college. Importantly, as we emphasised to the students the
past term, we pray that we ourselves remain trusting of the Lord’s provision in His work. We are
assured that God will continue to sustain the college as we stay on the course, with a single-
minded focus on the cause and to fight for His Word, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ (Rev 1: 9). Amen!

On a personal note, we give thanks to God for being able to start on Kiswahili lessons
since early May. Already we have experienced how a better understanding of the local language
can aid effectiveness in the ministry. We pray for the completion of the Kiswahili course in
God’s good timing even as the new academic semester in FEBC has started recently. God’s
grace has been sufficient in the past months. We trust that it will continue to be. We give thanks
to God for the loving support of the church, especially in prayer for us. As we are remembered in
prayers, we too do not forget to pray for the church. Days have been dark in these last days, yet
may we all press on in our labours for the Lord, looking in faith unto the perfect suffering
example of Christ our Lord (Heb 12: 1-2) and His glorious return (2 Cor 4: 17-18). Amen.