Mission / Street Fellowship - PJ Section 12 Cell Group Community Project

Street Fellowship - PJ Section 12 Cell Group Community Project

by Wong Lock Jam

Joe, a tall slim guy sporting a slightly dense beard, came to know of the street feeding by word of mouth. It’s the lovely curry chicken rice that has kept him coming faithfully for over one year now. After the meal he would continue on his usual lonely but aimless road, keeping very much to himself. Who cares whether he lives or dies?

Ah Seng has been coming to the feeding centre since it began in 1999. A fairly well dressed Chinaman of 50 plus and always with a Chinese newspaper in hand, he is one of the earliest to arrive and hardly misses his favourite seat at the table designated for medical treatment. They call him the mocker because he never fails to jab a gibe or two at Christians almost every week. Winston overheard him tell his ‘kaki’ in Mandarin that if one were to slap these Christians on one cheek they will offer the other cheek as well. Ah Seng doesn’t have the appearance of a drug user. He is attracted by the free and good food.

Those who come for the free meals are not all drug users. Some are aged prostitutes & ‘ah-ma ceh’. Some are old folks. Some are plain scroungers. Whatever the reason, all have the opportunity to experience Christian love and care. Lock Jam overheard a group comment in their dialect ‘Wow, we don’t have to fight for our share of food. We are served like kings.’ After the meal, they added ‘We don’t even have to lift a finger, they come to collect the plates and cups for washing.’

The involvement of our Cell Group in the street feeding programme managed by Kenosis Home began with the Xmas Celebration at CG level on 18 Dec 2004. At this celebration a trained pastor’s testimony of how through God’s grace he was transformed from leading the useless life of a drug user to an effective life in full time ministry challenged the CG to a new level of community service. As it was uncertain how the members would respond, it was agreed that participation in one street feeding without immediate further commitment would be a good way to test the water.

Last Saturday afternoon, as planned, 11 of us together with Jason’s two friends joined the Christian-run street feeding programme in the Petaling Street neighbourhood. The feeding station was located in the back lane opposite the former site of Rex Theatre. The site was really untidy. Foul odours from the line-up of garbage bins greeted our nostrils. The heat and humidity engulfed us under the makeshift tarpaulin tent erected earlier. However, there was not a single word of complaint! As the street humanity trickled in, we could see their condition. A few had multiple sores and swollen legs, some had a sleepy look, a few were still in a daze and a few appeared introverted, looking sheepish and depressed. Yet a few came well dressed and neat, making some of us wonder whether they were normal but too lazy to earn their own meals. Whatever the reason, they all represented the dejected, rejected, destitute and homeless of society, with scroungers besides. Today, there was a pleasant surprise. In addition to the usual curry chicken rice there was an additional piece of yong-tau-fu on each plate – with compliments from our CG. On hindsight, the unpleasant odour of the area was a blessing in disguise because it intermingled with and camouflaged the body smells of those who had not bathed or changed clothes for a very long time.

The average attendance on each Saturday afternoon is in the region of 150. While we were there, only 80 came. Those who did not come had been rounded up the previous days by government enforcers under ‘operasi’ and had been taken to government-sponsored homes. After the meal, some stayed behind for fellowship. Twelve made appointments to see the doctor in attendance.

That afternoon, all of us passed the test by serving till the end of the feeding. Everyone indicated that they would like to return to serve again. One CG member suggested coming every week, a few preferred fortnightly. It was agreed after much sharing and discussion that the group would continue to serve in the feeding programme on the last Saturday of each month. Furthermore, we would develop fellowship closely with Kenosis Home members as these rehabilitating drug users are the important bridge between us and the street people we encountered that afternoon.