It's been over a week since the first Covid-19 case linked to the Grace Assembly of God (GAOG) cluster was reported and while the cluster continues to grow — it is linked to some 22 confirmed cases as of Feb. 19 — some light seems to be emerging from the bleakness.
More people joining prayer groups
One Kenneth Kwan, a member of the executive church board, has been posting various accounts of GAOG's members helping one another through this difficult time on his Facebook.
Kwan wrote that he has heard "amazing stories of faith, love, and resilience", detailing how various age and language groups in the church organised fixed time slots for daily collective prayer without the involvement of any of the church's pastors.
In place of physical meetings, its cell groups now hold meetings on video calls, and according to Kwan, found that more were tuning in.
"People who normally were not regular in meetings came back after hearing what has (happened) to us and some have reported newcomers joining as well," he wrote.
Messages of concern, gifts from members and other churches
Kwan said the church has also received messages of concern, prayers, and gifts, not only from its own members but also from other churches in Singapore.
"Some have taken up roles of food delivers, errand runners and prayer warriors," Kwan added.
According to him, more than 400 members of Grace Assembly of God, from both the English and Chinese services, have volunteered to run errands and deliver food.Kwan himself made deliveries to 11 people under home quarantine. It took him three hours.
"I became instantly grateful to people who are in logistics or food delivery business. It can be tiring and you have to keep moving," he wrote.
One member, he noted, made hand sanitisers for her friends and neighbours. Another, he said, sewed face masks with "triple-layer" protection for those around her.
"They all offered what they were passionate about so that they could be a blessing to others," he wrote. "I am personally encouraged by their generosity and love for people."
Fear among members
In another post, Kwan recounted instances of GAOG worshippers becoming feared by outsiders by virtue of their church membership:
"I am sure even when people are discharged from NCID, others will be fearful of them. They will face another round of isolation from people who don’t understand," said Kwan.
"One asked a student not to come to school, even though there was no issue from MOH. But subsequently, the decision was reversed and the leader of this school apologised.
In another school, a bunch of students were coming down with fever and a concerned parent asked if any of our members’ kids studied in that school?
In another institution, a teacher voluntarily asked to work from home since her colleagues were very concerned and talked many times within themselves. For their sake, she felt it was the right thing to do."
There have also been stories of healthcare workers being shunned or kicked off public transport here in the past week.
Kwan offered this piece of advice to his fellow church members:
"If there is nothing wrong with you, please don’t worry. Just focus on what you can do, rather than what you cannot control."
Top images from Kenneth Kwan/Facebook