More than Special

Weird. Crazy. Sub-human.

I teach at a school for children with autism, and this is a choice selection of comments I typically hear about those with special needs.

I never expected to work with special needs individuals. In fact, because I believed my background to be vastly different from this vulnerable population, I had perceived myself as somewhat invulnerable by comparison.

At nine, I was the pint-sized ‘chilli padi who won the 800m race at sports day – the runner-up was a whole head and shoulders taller than me. That marked the start of an eight-year long winning streak for my pet-event at sports day in school. I was also the one who breezed through the requisite IQ tests to school in the Gifted Education Programme. To add to that, I was musically inclined, and these talents came to the fore when I rose up as a leader in church. With all the recognition I received from my talents, I was puffed up with pride and didn’t realize that I had looked down on those who were not as successful as I was.

Since starting work in June 2014, God has been molding me through my work. I needed to stop looking down on those I considered weak and instead, learn to respect and empower them, loving them with the love of God Himself.

I have been tested and found wanting in many ways. There are days when my temper is short and I become impatient with the students. There are times when I demand unreasonably high standards from them. In doing so, I have not served them well. When this happens, I recognize that my love is insufficient and I am brought to a place of utter dependency on Jesus because the love of God never fails. He is always gentle and long-suffering with the students. He always seeks first to understand them. He always empowers them to be the best that they can be.

Are we truly that different from those with special needs? Do we not have our own vulnerabilities that we expect those close to us to forgive us for? Are we not all disordered in one manner or another?

We may not possess abnormally enlarged brains like individuals with autism may have, but we might have disordered thought patterns – a protracted struggle with lust, anger or bitterness; or tinted lenses through which we view the world. Some of us are even tempted to think these thoughts: “people don’t value me”, “I don’t understand why everyone and everything is just out to get me”. Some of our struggles seem more normal or even socially acceptable and some may not even see that they have a problem. But nonetheless, we all fall short of the glory of God.

Do we dare believe that our full acceptance of those with special needs will take our church one step closer to her destiny? Do we dare believe that an army of chosen ones (including and especially those with special needs) can be empowered to change the world? Will we speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves? Will we understand what it means to value people – to build the kind of ministry that is true to the heart of Jesus?

“Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” – Proverbs 31:8

“We want something else which can hardly be put into words – to be united with the beauty we see…” (C. S. Lewis). Writing is Charlene’s endeavour to enter into the beauty she sees, to connect dots that may help us see more clearly the face of God.

WHAT'S ON IN COOS

Events on August 24, 2019

9:00 am: Korean Style Bouquet Workshop

Annyeong! Come join us for a fun DIY Korean-styled Bouquet Workshop. We will be using fresh flowers to create a korean-style wrapped bouquet. All materials and tools will be provided.

It cost $80 per participant, or $150 for 2 pax if you are bringing a friend.
As sharp tools will be used, the workshop is suitable for participants 12 years and older.

Dates: 24 & 25 August 2019
Time: 9am to 11.30am (24 Aug), Room 302
1.30pm to 4.00pm (25 Aug), Room 201
Location: Room 302
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9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 2 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
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2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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4:00 pm: COOSkidz Birthday Party - Robot

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4:30 pm: Youth Service : Guest speaker Max Jeganathan

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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5:00 pm: Waggy Walk with Your Furkids!'

Calling out to all COOS members who own a pet dog/s to join us in this gathering to walk our dogs which will take place on the 4th Saturday of each month. Invite your friends and neighbors so that we can also promote bonding which each other! Meeting point and ending point at COOS Plaza. We will be walking along the Alexander Canal for our first walk on 24/8/19. Register through this link and QR code.
Location: Meeting point and end point in COOS Plaza
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Events on August 25, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Mark Tho speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on August 29, 2019

7:30 pm: Choir Performance

Location: Church of Our Saviour, 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on August 31, 2019

9:30 am: An Overview of the OT (Session 3 of 4)

An Overview of the Old Testament
For more information, visit https://www.coos.org.sg/church-life/christian-education/
Location: Room 217
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2:30 pm: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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3:00 pm: Flea Market

Volunteers needed for outreach initiatives to our community for the Flea Market! Gather your family, church friends or cell members, go into our neighborhoods (Stirling, Dawson and Mei Ling) at your own time and invite the residents for the flea market event on 31/8 and 1/9. Every flyer has a $10 value coupon attached so that they can exchange for the items at the flea market! Contact Tan Choong Meng at 81235996 for any enquiry.
Location: Atrium
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3:00 pm: Flea Market

Looking for volunteers to set up booths to run a flea market in COOS! Gather a few friends or cell members, collect unused clothes and accessories, mend a stall at the atrium. Proceed of the sales will go towards the Geylang Ministry in COOS! If you are interested, please register at the admin counter or at this google link. Contact Tan Choon Meng at 81235996 for more information.
Location: Atrium
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4:00 pm: Alpha Parenting Teenagers Course

A course for parents with children from 11 - 18 years old. It equips carers of children with strategies and tools in building a healthy family life. It is relevant for people of all faith.

Date: 31 Aug, 7, 14, 21, 28 Sep, 5 Oct
Time: 4pm - 6pm
Venue: COOS

Register at admin desk or scan QR code or thru this link: https://bit.ly/2vq7ClL
Location: COOS
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4:45 pm: Evergreen Fellowship Talk

Evergreen Fellowship is organising a talk by Mr Benny Ong on "Understanding the difference between Advance Medical Directive (AMD), The lasting power of Attorney and The will.
Location: COOS AUDITORIUM
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Events on September 1, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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10:45 am: English Service : Pastor Joseph You speaking [Holy Communion]

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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SERVICE DETAILS

MAIN SERVICES (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 2.30pm
Sunday | 8.30am and 10.45am
YOUTH SERVICE (ENGLISH)
Saturday | 4.30pm
*Except every 1st weekend of the month, where youth joins main services.
SERVICES & OFFICE LOCATION
130 Margaret Drive Singapore 149300
It is a 10-minute walk from the Queenstown MRT Station.The bus-stops nearest to the church are served by
SBS Bus 51, 111, 145, 186, 195 and 32 and TIBS Bus 970.

The office is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9am to 5.30pm.

Click here for more service details.