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 June 20, 2019

7:30 pm: Caregivers-to-Caregivers Education Programme

Details Description: - C2C Programme provides training to caregivers of persons with mental illness. This unique training programme is free of charge. You will be supported through 2.5 hour 12 sessions and be empowered in your caregiving journey. 2 May - 18 July, every Thursday.
Location: Room 217B/305
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Events on June 21, 2019

9:00 am: FIN-SJSM INCLUSIVE ARTS WORKSHOP

Family Inclusion Network (FIN for short) invites you to a 2-Day Inclusive Arts Workshop. Experience Dance, Contemplative Music & Prophetic Art in this Space of Honour. Discover Singapore’s 1st integrated community space where people with different abilities can move independently; where they can feel accepted for who they are, and be valued for their contributions.

Registration has closed. For enquiries, please email fin.every1in@gmail.com
Location: Enabling Village, Singapore
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7:30 pm: Alpha Cycle Two Run [5 of 8 sessions]

Alpha Cycle Two runs for a total of 8 sessions, plus additional two sessions of Holy Spirit Day & Celebration Dinner.
Location: COOS Room 308
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Events on June 22, 2019

9:00 am: FIN-SJSM INCLUSIVE ARTS WORKSHOP

Family Inclusion Network (FIN for short) invites you to a 2-Day Inclusive Arts Workshop. Experience Dance, Contemplative Music & Prophetic Art in this Space of Honour. Discover Singapore’s 1st integrated community space where people with different abilities can move independently; where they can feel accepted for who they are, and be valued for their contributions.

Registration has closed. For enquiries, please email fin.every1in@gmail.com
Location: Enabling Village, Singapore
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2:30 pm: English Service : Ps Lee Seng Yan Speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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4:30 pm: Youth Service

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on June 23, 2019

8:30 am: English Service : Ps Lee Seng Yan Speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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10:45 am: English Service : Ps Lee Seng Yan Speaking

Location: 130 Margaret Dr, Singapore 149300
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Events on June 25, 2019

7:30 pm: Talk on 'Journeying with Persons with Same-Sex Attraction'

How should we engage and respond to those struggling with same-sex attraction and those in the LGBTQ community? How do we balance grace and truth? Gain a better understanding by attending a talk by Choices Ministry on 'Journeying with Persons with Same-Sex Attraction'.
Location: Chapel
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Events on June 26, 2019

3:00 pm: Cafe Oasis cupcake workshop

Anyone and Everyone is welcome to express themselves through food! Come learn how to customise your cupcakes. The workshop will cover basic techniques, 2 cupcakes to decorate and a prize for the best looking cupcake!
Location: Atirum
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Events on June 27, 2019

7:30 pm: Caregivers-to-Caregivers Education Programme

Details Description: - C2C Programme provides training to caregivers of persons with mental illness. This unique training programme is free of charge. You will be supported through 2.5 hour 12 sessions and be empowered in your caregiving journey. 2 May - 18 July, every Thursday.
Location: Room 217B/305
Click for more events

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.