December 2018 – News from Grace Mission

December 2018 – News from Grace Mission

How time flies… … 2018 comes to an amazing end for Grace Mission. What we have set out in the beginning of the year, have come to fruition.
Our heartfelt thanks to Salem Chapel, Marine Parade Christian Centre, Churches, vegetable adopters, prayer partners, volunteers, fellow colleagues, friends and family for without your unconditional support, GM will not be able to move on so smoothly!

Allow us to share with you some of the work progression for year 2018:-)

1) Hydroponics Farm

a) Production
One of our visions with Onesimus Garden, Salem Chapel is to feed the world. GM is at our best in increasing our production over the years. We have succeeded given the limited land space:
Year 2016 – 3,304.82 kg
Year 2017 – 4,145.90 kg with an increase of 20.3% from previous year.
Year 2018 – 6,882.50 kg with an increase of 39.8% from previous year.
GM has consistently increased in the production of vegetables over the years. We thank God for the bountiful harvest. We plan to increase our production next year without the increase of floor area.

b) Farming Therapy
We have students from Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore (CPAS) trying out hydroponics farming. The students were very receptive and within their managing capacity. The school has also decided to blend hydroponics farming into the lesson curriculum.

Besides having Autistic youths, we have also received quite a number of youths that is having some behavioural issues with their parents and school in regards to the usage of hand phones.

c) Technical Transfer
GM was invited to Ipoh, Perak Malaysia to provide assistance in the set up a growing plot for the Kindergarten so that the young toddlers and children can experience farming and nature studies.

d) A local company in Ang Mo Kio also set up an indoor farming system using LED lights to produce vegetables. GM has the privilege to help and provide consultancy in the set up process and witness the first harvest.

2) Stand Up Paddling (SUP)

For youths that do not like farming or not suitable for farming, GM provides an alternative route, that is through our sea sports therapy called “Sports Bring Healing”. Thanks to Constant Wind for the utmost collaboration and provision of a sport kiosk. The sport kiosk is situated in a beautiful open space where a library cum counselling room was built.

Some 40 ASD youths have tried SUP. They embraced the activity with enthusiasm. We look forward to 2019 for another round of SUP where youths are not only train and build to be more independent but confident in facing their life journey through the sport programs!

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

3) Sanctuary of Grace (SOG – a guest home for unwanted pregnancies and teen pregnancy crisis)

Right in the heart of a HDB flat at Yishun, a lovely couple, Ros and Nic have their hands full. They have 5 babies residing with them at the present moment(at this point of writing). SOG has been caring for the rejected young girls and women going through difficulties from their early stages of pregnancies to child birth. Similarly their babies are rejected even when they are in the mother’s womb. We thank God for this mission and opening the doors of our home for them. May God bless and keep Ros and Nic and the pregnant ladies as well!

4) GM Fellowship

From Pastor Andrew:
“Every Sunday at 8.00 am, we gather for a time of sharing and fellowship, follow by a time of prayers and worship. We are always joyful just praising and adoring God for all that He has given us. Many of us come to the fellowship, may not be church based or have already gone for another service but would like to do something different rather than the normal Sunday service are gathered here at Mad Fitness Marketing. It is a Gym. We are a Gym Church. We reach out to our friends and relatives to come and enjoy what God have given us – FRIENDSHIP. You are all welcome to join us for a time of fellowship and gym work out!”

5) AG Elderly Day Care Centre, Loboc, Phillippines

From Meji:
“AG Elderly Day Care Centre has made a huge milestone this year. It is our honor and pride to have opened another branch on the 2nd quarter of 2018 which is located in Santa Cruz, Dagohoy. Demographically, the town of Dagohoy is about 30 km from Loboc where the first branch was established. We aim to provide basic care to the senior citizens of the area, encompassing total well-being making them physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually healthy. It is our goal to nurture them to be self-reliant individuals through our programs such as exercise gardening and out-of-town trips. The best is yet to come for AG Elderly Day Care for 2019 as we are planning to build a nursing care home in this place. We have started outsourcing for funds and we hope to get more sponsors for this vision to push through with God’s blessing. Many things have happened to us this year because of the continuous support and encouragement from Pastor Andrew and his wife Grace Choo, we are able to accomplished our goals and looking forward to 2019.”

Forward year 2019
GM will continue with the quest to restore dignity to youths and families, building resilience and self-reliance with grace through educational consultancy, community services and sustainable enterprises.

November 2018 – News from Grace Mission

November 2018 – News from Grace Mission

In this issue, GM would like to focus on Yang, a special need youth, on his journey with us for these past few months.

In conjunction with World Autism Awareness month, April this year, GM launched the Stand Up Paddling (SUP) for special need youths. Through this program, GM hoped to build confidence in the youths and also draw them out of their self- restraint capabilities. Some twenty (20) ASD youths signed up for this program.

Yang was in our Stand Up paddling (SUP) program for special needs. With the full support from Yang’s mother, Wei Peng, Yang grew more confident in this program.

Click here to watch the video of Yang!

Voice from Wei Peng,

“In April, We started the stand up paddling program for youths with autism. I almost didn’t let Yang participate in the trial cause the activity seemed way too difficult for his ability. Thank goodness we continued attending weekly, otherwise we would have never seen his huge breakthrough today!

Initially, he had difficulty even with climbing up the board. Then on the board, he would just sit and scoop water with his hands, mesmerised in his own water world. Slowly, he learnt how to paddle on kneeing position, but after every 10 strokes, he would take a Super Long break. What normal people would have picked up in a few days, we wondered how many years it would take for him to master the basics of standing up and paddling, and whether by the time he reached that basic level, would my husband and I be too old and tired to brave the waves with him.

Over the months, his stamina improved, to only taking a break after 100 paddle strokes. His squatting position on the board got more stable. And so from squat, we started practicing how to stand and balance.

Today, after 7 months of persistence and hard works, he surprised us with a double breakthrough; he stood and balanced perfectly, and he was also paddling while standing.

Behind every success is a strong support mechanism. Thank you Pastor Andrew Siachye Choo for braving the sun, waves, storms with us. Not forgetting Constant Wind Club for being so welcoming of the autism families into your sea sports community.

It’s a great program for all abilities! I hope that SGActive will consider supporting it to reach out to more families.”

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Yang was also at GM hydroponics farm for a short stint.

He was there for a couple of visits. The initial visits were futile. He was not participative in the activities of the farming process.

However, on the fifth visit, Yang was willing to put his hands to the different processes of harvesting.

He managed to pull the vegetables out from the system in a careful manner. He was also able to remove the roots and yellow leaves with a pair of scissors and finally packed the vegetables in plastic bags.

It is not only a mother’s wish to see their child having the potential of future employment, it is also GM’s wish that through all these exposures, these youths are more prepared for employment in this community.

Each youth is unique! Through proper guidance and nurturing, we believe that every youth is employable. Let us be a bit more patience in teaching and receiving them as they are a part of this community!

Upcoming Event – God’s Purpose for His World: Christians, Creation, and the Renewal of All Things

Upcoming Event – God’s Purpose for His World: Christians, Creation, and the Renewal of All Things

The Biblical Graduate School of Theology is organising a conference “God’s Purpose for His World”, a day of thought-provoking talks exploring God’s plan for His world and our part in His grand design. The conference will comprise of keynote lectures by Professor Rikk Watts, the Dean of Theology at Alphacrucis College in Australia. Joining the event’s conference panel discussion is Grace Mission’s Pastor Andrew Choo. Onesimus Garden, founded by Pastor Andrew, will also be one of the booths at the event’s Boutique Creation Care Fair.

Pastor Andrew’s ministry is extremely diverse, encompassing both social justice and creation care. He is Co-founder and Ministry Partner of Onesimus Garden, Founder and Director of GraceMission, and Director of Careworks Community Services. Pastor Andrew and his wife Grace founded AGHome in 1998 to reach out to the lost and unloved in society. Since then, AGHome has ministered to thousands of troubled youths and families, leaving a lasting impact, and it is currently a source of care, rehabilitation, and education to 65 teenage girls.

The environment and nature are key components of Pastor Andrew’s restorative therapeutic approach. Thus, the sea, fishes, animals, and plants are integral to his various programmes. For more information about the conference or to register, visit http://bit.ly/bgstcreationcare.

Take on the seas with Stand-Up Paddling

Take on the seas with Stand-Up Paddling

The first Stand Up Paddling (SUP) program specially tailored for individuals with autism has been launched in Singapore,  under a partnership between Grace Mission and Constant Wind Sea Sport and Sailing School.

Earlier in April, the SUP Autism Program was launched in conjunction with World Autism Month. 16 children and youth between ages 8 and 21 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), each assisted by an active parent support group leader, underwent two free trial sessions jointly initiated and sponsored by the organisers. The regular weekly programme now comprises eight active ASD participants.

Watch Channel NewsAsia’s feature on the SUP Autism Program here

More information on the SUP program:

Venue
While SUP can be more easily conducted in a public swimming pool, the program philosophy focuses on leveraging on the power of nature (the sun, sea, wind, sand), to heal the mind, body, and soul of persons with ASD and their caregivers.

The training venue is Constant Wind School at Changi Coastal Road. For a start, the program utilises a gentle beach just outside of Constant Wind School. As the participants progress in water confidence and SUP skills, they will gradually train in deep waters.

Frequency
The group trains weekly, on Saturdays from 2-5pm.

Group Size
While the group currently comprises 8 participants, we can take up to a maximum of 12 participants per session, subject to funding and volunteers’ availability.

Program Scope and Goals
The organisers have put in place formal plans and implementation strategies aiming to serve the diverse needs of persons with autism and their family members through SUP.

The primary goals are to equip persons with autism and enrich their lives by adding new perspectives in the following ways:

  1. Honing water sports skills required for recreation and fitness
  2. Focusing attention and building self-confidence while allaying fear, anxiety and challenging behaviours in persons with autism through nature’s healing powers of sun, sea (water), wind and sand (earth)
  3. Developing mindfulness through the physical and sensorial engagement that is provided during training sessions
  1. Raising the bar for physical, emotional, social and mental wellness
  2. Providing training for competitive events and creating platforms for participants to enter in competitions
  3. Providing employment opportunities in Constant Wind School and other sea sports clubs in Singapore, e.g. managing sea sports equipment, administrative work, etc.

Costs
Each SUP(er) currently pays a highly subsidised fee of $45/session (3 hours), which only covers the cost of board and paddle rental. For low-income families, the organisers are attempting to source for small private sponsors to help individual cases.

Other external SUP service providers do not offer autism/special needs classes. Their charges for normal class are in the range of $75-100 for an average of 1.5 hours.

If you are interested to find out more about the SUP program or to become a sponsor, please contact Pastor Andrew Choo at +65 97558264.

February 2018 – News from Grace Mission

February 2018 – News from Grace Mission

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a]faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Romans 12:3-8 (NIV)

GM has the opportunity to work with some special students from Association for Persons with Special Needs Delta Senior School (APSN DSS) recently. GM conducted a series of lessons on hydroponics which includes sowing of seed, transplanting of seedlings, harvesting and packing of vegetables.

Students select the healthy seedlings and planted into the culture panels meticulously. All seedlings are also germinated by the students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting up of the system and adding in of nutrients.

 

 

 

The growing process… The essentials like sunlight, balanced optimal nutrient, water and good circulating air are the necessities for plants to grow well. Likewise, students when given the opportunity and guidance, they can also perform up to expectation.

The joy of reaping the fruits after the long wait

Teamwork in action! Each student is given the opportunity to trim off the roots, remove the yellowed leaves, weigh to specific weight, bag in plastic bags and seal. A total of 111 packets of vegetables were processed which make up to a total of 22.2 kg of 6 types of local vegetables.

The cleaning and sanitisation process after every crop is vital in hydroponics cultivation. This will ensure clean, healthy and hygienic vegetables every crop cycle. The students are grouped and helped in cleaning the whole hydroponics system.

Working with another group of students. The enthusiasm shown by each and every one of them is so heart-warming for the teacher.

Using hydroponics DIY kit, students can also experience the joy of growing vegetables using hydroponics method. It is easier to manage compared to soil cultivation.

Thank you APSN DSS for the opportunity to work with their wonderful students!

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 KJV

#SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival, 26-27 January 2018

#SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival, 26-27 January 2018

Sign up for the #SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival on 26 and 27 January.

Join the Conversations for Change, Celebrate Diverse Abilities & Promote Inclusion & Integration for People With Diverse Physical, Cognitive & Social Abilities.

Click here for the #SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival Registration Form

“Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care.”
— Margaret J. Wheatley.

Spread the word and let’s make every community action towards inclusion counts!

FOR MORE INFO
#SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival 2018 e-flyer

#SG4Diversity Inclusion Festival Programme

#SG4Diversity Speakers/ Panelists/ Moderators Profiles

December 2017 – News from Grace Mission

December 2017 – News from Grace Mission

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. Psalm 136:26 (NIV)

As the clock ticks away bringing an end to year 2017, let us all take time to reflect and ponder through what we have set forth and yet to achieve; some of the resolutions that we have achieved or have yet to realise.

Christmas isn’t Christmas till it happens in your heart. Christmas is not just a season of giving and receiving gifts. It is a season where we celebrate the birth of Christ. It is a celebration of God giving His beloved gift to us. Likewise, in Grace Mission, we would also like to extend our love to all our autistic and special needs youth through our farming therapy.

Christmas celebration at Onesimus Garden with some of the farmers from the farms in Kranji.

As we gather in fellowship with the farmers, let us all remind ourselves to be the light and salt in this farming industry.
We are growers of food to many; let us stand firm in our quest to provide healthy, hygienic and quality food for the multitudes. As followers of Christ, let us be used by God, like beacons from a lighthouse, to show the way to HIM.

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Be thankful

Changing of the culture panels used in our production hydroponics system. The old panels were thin, broken and very dirty. The panels were actually washed using jet spray after every crop cycle, but due to wear and tear over many cycles of production, it was badly chipped, thinned and some corners also broke off. Algae was also easy to catch on the rough surface of the panels and hence, massive growth. This brought about disease and pest on the crops as well.

GM wishes to express our appreciation to Christina Choy for her generosity in helping us to acquire a new batch of culture panels. Many thanks from all of us here at the farm! Proper disposal of the old panels is required. Plants also grow better, with less diseases and pest problems using the new panels. Our youths are also able to handle the growing cycle better.

 

 

 

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

November 2017 – News from Grace Mission

November 2017 – News from Grace Mission

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)


Torrential rain came and left the greenhouse torn and tattered. One of our NFT systems was also damaged by the sudden downpour of ponded rain from the roof. The impact from the water also destroyed part of the crop.

The whole roof was dismantled and a new layer of plastic was installed. Our heartfelt thanks to Derrick (Nanyang Inc Pte Ltd), for his generosity and prompt service which has helped to minimise our production loss. Thanks to Michael and Soo Jee for providing the finance. Through this incident, we see that in order for a plant to grow well, tender loving care is a must. Likewise, for all our special need youths, they too need tender loving care to mature and grow within their family and also in our community. Hence, giving them an opportunity to achieve a sense of purposefulness, identity and dignity.

 

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
– John 13:35 (NIV)

Our many helping hands…

Pastor Andrew spends time with one of our Special need youth, Jordan. He imparts not only the knowledge and skills in growing food but also life lessons that generates from them. Jordan is able to use a home kit DIY hydroponics kit to grow vegetables successfully. The next step will be to grow vegetables on a larger scale, and that is running the DRF and NFT systems in Onesimus Garden.

A group of St Nicholas Girls’ came to help with Grace Mission. Jordan is seen here (right) demonstrating the transplanting process to one of the girls. The willingness of Jordan to step forward to be inclusive in this community is very encouraging. Though the process is very simple but the effort from him is definitely bigger than what we can see. GM hopes to help more youths to step out and live inclusively in this community.

 

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
– Philippians 4:13 (NIV)