FCBC Serves China (2013)

Teambuilding and Training

Pastor Angela Chan and seven cell members from Pastor Asher and Wendy Eng's team had three teambuilding sessions in August 2013. The first session was to meet and get to know one another and Pastor Angela did a "DISC" personality profile for each of us. For the remaining two sessions, the team got together to discuss and plan in detail for the programmes during the trip. Trainings were also arranged to equip all volunteers with the knowledge and skills on caregiving and service-learning so we can better serve our clients during community works, and also to meet our service-learning objectives for both ourselves and our clients.

Day 1

The cell members of Pastor Angela and Wai Kiong’s tribe and the volunteer team’s families came to the airport to send us off. We were blessed with prayers and love gifts of God’s words. Thanks to God, we touched down safely in Chengdu and were greeted by our partners, whom we would be working with for the next week. The team was transferred to Ibis Hotel by a rented coach and the trippers bonded quickly with our partners on the road, over a Cantonese dinner and dessert. The team retreated for the night for an early rest.

Day 2

We had our first morning devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel. Pastor Angela assigned each of us and some in pairs to lead a daily 30-minute morning devotion. This was to prepare us for time with the Lord and also to begin the day with God’s blessings before we set out to do works in Chengdu.

The first morning devotional sharing was led by Lionel, after which we had our first briefing session in the hotel room by our two team leaders, Lionel and Ben. We played some games to break the ice between the partners and our team. After the games, we were briefed on the services and programmes we were supposed to do and settled logistical matters.

The team went on to discuss and rehearse the programme flow for the caregivers, children and elderly programmes for the whole afternoon while Pastor Angela and the partners went out to shop for food and prizes and other logistics for the programmes.

For lunch and dinner, we had our first taste of local food. One observation made was food served in Chengdu was generally very oily and salty.

After dinner, we had our first night of worship/debrief session, which we continued to have for the subsequent few nights. Lionel led worship every night. After worship, we did a dry run of the programme for parents of autistic children. Programme details were fine-tuned to better suit the programme flow after discussion. It was noted that the team members received feedback openly and positively, and desired for improvement to better implement our programmes.

Day 3

We had our second day of morning devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel, led by Michael. After breakfast, we headed separately to the homes assigned to us.


We were to do home visits to two families to build rapport with the family and to assess and do cleaning jobs for them. Our original plan was to visit the homes in the morning, chat with the family members, at the same time assess the cleaning jobs required for the home. After which we would then go out for lunch and buy cleaning agents if needed for home cleaning in the afternoon. The eight of us were divided into two groups and each group was allocated to a family.  Prior to the actual day, both families were contacted and notified of the home cleaning.

Profile of families:

Family A – A 65-year old man, who works as a security guard has high myopia of over 2000 degrees. He stays in a two-room apartment with his 35-year old son. His wife has passed away and his son is single.

Family B – An elderly couple, both 68 years old, are caregivers of their intellectually disabled son aged around 35 years old. Their two-bedroom home is cramped and clustered; they have lived there for about 20 years.


The eight of us were divided into two groups and each group was allocated to a family. In the morning, both groups headed separately to our assigned families and conducted home visits. The group that was assigned to Family A assessed the home and chatted with the owner, Mr Y, had an early and quick lunch and started the home cleaning.

Prior to the actual day, both families were contacted and notified of the home cleaning. However, the group that was assigned to Family B met with initial rejection by the owners, Mdm F and her husband. They initially refused to let us help with their home cleaning as they knew we came from Singapore. After much explanation and persuasion that we truly wished to help them to lessen their burden as we know they have to take care of their son despite their old age, Mdm F, touched and teary-eyed, relented. I truly believe it was the work of the Holy Spirit that touched the heart of Mdm F, to open her heart and give us the opportunity to extend a helping hand to them.

Thank God for this humbling home cleaning experience, as we were given an opportunity to help meet their physical needs of lessening their burden of household chores. We are very blessed to be living in Singapore where the housing conditions are so much better as compared to theirs. In the end, they simply told us to do some simple cleaning; to wipe their windows, cupboards and clean their toilet.  As we were afraid that they might change their minds again about us cleaning their house, we did not stick to our original plans, but instead began the home cleaning immediately.  The six of us were assigned in pairs to wipe the windows, cupboards and clean the toilet.  The elderly couple was very warm and friendly and Mdm F’s husband even went out to buy us water. They also offered to cook a meal for all of us but we gently turned them down. Before we left, Mdm F’s husband gave us two t-shirts in appreciation of our help.

In this home cleaning experience, home cleaning for Family B was completed around noon. The group had a quick lunch and joined the other group who was still doing cleaning. The cleaning for Family A was much more challenging than Family B as the house was bigger, and the owner had much more things.  However, with additional manpower, the mission was finally accomplished in the late afternoon around 4.00pm. Team unity was displayed in this instance, whereby all served and helped without complains and there was still joy in each of us despite the long tiring day. Thank God for this team, for the unity, for our one heart, one spirit, and one mind. Praise and all glory be to God!

In addition, we learnt that though we had plans in advance, things change along the way and we have to learn to adapt to the actual situation accordingly. Thank God too, for opening Mdm F’s heart and the following verse was brought to mind:

"So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.  For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building." – 1 Corinthians 3:7-9(NIV)

Only God can touch peoples’ hearts, and only God can make the seed of the gospel grow in people’s hearts. Thus, it is solely the work and power of God that touched and opened the heart of Mdm F, and not how we persuaded, or how well we cleaned their house. Similarly in sharing of the Gospel, we may all share the Gospel overtly or in this case, subtly, through the demonstration of love by volunteering our service to the needy, but only God has the power to make things grow. We pray that the hand of God will continue to minister in the hearts of the locals through our services, not just to meet their physical needs but ultimately, their spiritual needs.

After dinner, we had our worship session, with Lionel leading worship, followed by a debrief of the day’s house cleaning. We also did a brief dry run of the programme for parents of autistic children for the following day.

Day 4

We had our usual morning devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel, this time led by Nicole. After which, we headed to the venue for our morning programme.


9.30am – 11.30am (Morning)

Objective: Sharing the purpose of our programme with this group of caregivers and to do a group agreement together.  Through the ice-breakers and sharing, we hope to encourage and affirm them.

Programme outline:

  1. Ice-breaker 1: To get them to warm up and move around
  2. Ice-breaker 2: To know each other better by penning down individual likings of food, hobbies and places of interest
  3. Do a group agreement together
  4. Sharing of care-giving testimony by Celeste
  5. Pen their wishes and paste on a Wishing Tree

Profile of caregivers:

Some of them are taking care of their children suffering from Celebral Palsy (CP), some are taking care of their blind spouses, a few are taking care of mentally unstable family members. Around ten caregivers were expected.


12 people turned up, including one child, who was the child of one of the caregivers. Three of them left halfway during the programme as they had to go to the market to buy groceries and go back home to do cooking. A few were quite outspoken while some were shy and reserved. There was full and active participation during the ice-breakers. During the segment where they were supposed to do a group agreement together, their response was lukewarm, thus we moved on to Celeste’s sharing. According to our partners, this was their second time meeting this group of caregivers in a group setting. The previous time they brought some of them and their families for a Panda Reserve outing. The caregiver, who brought along her child, was seen nodding and appeared touched when Celeste shared her caregiving experience with her late mother. Though the response for the group agreement was not positive, we believe in time, it will be brought to their understanding. We observed that even though some of them needed to leave early to attend to their personal matters, they were all willing to come and through their feedback, they were all willing to attend future programmes if they had nothing on. Furthermore, their feedback to us was positive and encouraging that they understood programmes like this were designed in their interest such that they might benefit from it. During the preparation of this programme, we experienced some difficulty setting up the laptop and PowerPoint slides, however, in the end, thank God there was another laptop on hand and we managed to use that for our programme. One challenge we faced was a language barrier, as we did not understand their Sichuan language, despite them being able to understand Mandarin. Thus we needed our partners to help us translate so we were able to understand the things they said, and this was a little tricky when anchoring the programmes whereby we needed their responses.

After packing up, we went out for lunch and proceeded to another venue for our afternoon programme. When we reached the place, we began to set up the system and laptop, and prepare for the programme for parents of autistic children.


2.30pm – 4.30pm (Afternoon)

Objective: To know the caregivers of autistic children, give them support by recognising, affirming and appreciating their caregiving role and also to encourage them to take care of themselves.

Programme outline:

  1. Two ice-breakers
  2. Breathing/de-stressing exercises impartation
  3. Alan and Sophia’s video clip of raising an autistic child
  4. Two sing-a-long and dedication songs
  5. Tea and interaction


12 parents and/or grandparents came for the programme for the first time. Once again, we encountered several problems with the PA system and the LCD screen which we were supposed to use to show our PowerPoint slides and video sharing by Alan and Sophia. We spent quite a fair bit of time setting up and trying to resolve the technical problems. Still, God was with us and after much praying, the technical glitches were resolved and we managed to show the PowerPoint slides and the video sharing. Praise God! Indeed God reigns and He is in control! The programme started with mandatory introductions as well as to update the parents/grandparents of what was previously done with their children/grandchildren. Michelle led two icebreaker games to get the caregivers to warm up and move around and this really brought laughter to all of them. After the ice-breaker, Lionel and Ben demonstrated a series of breathing and de-stressing exercises to encourage the caregivers to have a 5-minute rest or recharge amidst their busy caregiving schedule. We then moved on to share the video sharing of Alan and Sophia, which showed their journey of experience – bringing up their autistic son, Jun Jie. Their sharing brought much encouragement and hope to the caregivers.  The responses by them were overwhelming, with many touched to tears during the video sharing, and also during the following segment, which was the song dedication and sing-a-long session. The programme finally ended with the team singing two songs – “和你一样” and “活出爱” and wrapped up with closing words of encouragement and affirmation. During the tea and interaction time, the team divided into small groups and bonded further with the parents and/or grandparents. Feedback forms were given to the caregivers to collect feedback. As we bonded with them, we remained focussed and continued to encourage and affirm their love and challenging role of caregiving for their children. The Spirit of the Lord filled the room where the caregivers were all touched by God’s love through our presence.

After packing up, we went for dinner, and went back to our hotel to have our worship/debrief session, with Lionel leading the worship. After the worship session, we did our usual debrief of the day’s programmes as well as rehearsed and finetuned our programme flow for the children and elderly programmes the following day.

Day 5

This morning’s devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel was led by Celeste and Michelle. After which, we headed to the designated venue for our children’s programme.


9.30am – 11.30am (Morning)

Objective: Provide support for local non-governmental organisation by running a community programme for them. 
Theme: To share about Singapore’s culture through ice-breakers, PowerPoint presentation and games.

Programme outline:

  1. PowerPoint presentation: Singapore’s cultural exchange
  2. Four game stations: Singapore’s childhood games – Zero Point, Skipping, 5-Stones and Chatek
  3. Sing-a-long: “当我们同在一起”
  4. Makan Time: Kacang Puteh and Milo


About 30 children turned up, aged from 3 - 12 years old. The children were quite outspoken and very active. Most of them were very energetic and enthusiastic in raising questions especially during the PowerPoint presentation on Singapore and during the games. Keeping them quiet and attentive was a challenge but with the help of the local student volunteers assisting us, everything went quite smoothly. We also instilled the value of manner disposition and order to the children by raising both our arms high up in the air to gesture silence and all activities would cease when they were not listening to the host/game masters’ instructions or paying attention. Due to the very young age of some of the children, some were neither able to play nor fully engage in the games. As the venue was quite small, last minute changes were made, with game masters moving, instead of the children, to play the different games. Thank God for His wisdom and patience in guiding us toward executing the programme. For the “Zero-Point” game, the children were of different skill levels – some were slow in reflexes and slowed their team’s performance. Still each child was given an opportunity to play, and fairness and acceptance of your team members were taught. Overall, it was observed that the children enjoyed themselves thoroughly and every child walked away with a prize, kacang puteh and Milo happily. One challenge we faced was the language barrier, as we did not understand their Sichuan language, despite them able to understand Mandarin and this was a little tricky when anchoring programmes whereby their response is of essence.

Children Games :

After the children’s programme, we headed off to another venue for our elderly programme. As time was tight, lunch was bought back instead so we would have ample time to prepare and set up the necessary logistics for the programme in the afternoon.


2.00pm – 5.00pm (Afternoon)

Objective: Provide support for local NGO by running community program for them.  Do a sharing of Singapore culture through the ice-breakers, PowerPoint presentation and games.

Programme outline:

  1. Ice-breaker 1: To get them to warm up
  2. Ice-breaker 2: To know each other better through sharing of individual likings for food, hobbies and places of interests
  3. PowerPoint presentation: Singapore’s cultural exchange
  4. Sing-a-long: Oldies
  5. Four game stations: Simple games for the elderly
  6. Makan Time: Green bean soup


About 50 elderly people turned up, mostly females, aged from 40 - 70 years old. The elderly were active and some of them were quite outspoken. Most of them were energetic and very enthusiastic and curious about Singapore especially during the PowerPoint presentation on Singapore. Due to the restricted layout of the venue and seat arrangements, not all the elderly were able to play nor engage fully in the  games. However, we observed the elderly loved singing and we tweaked our ice-breakers into a long session of community singing instead.  We sang more oldies, and got a few to come up and sing for us, and teach us how to sing their songs. Initially, there was this lady who was shy and declined to come up but she relented in the end and sang and taught us two songs. It was apparent the local elderly are much more active as compared to our elderly in Singapore. To some, the games were a tad too easy for them and we had to modify the games on the spot to make them more challenging. The similarities of the elderly in Chengdu and Singapore were that the ones in Chengdu expect tokens or gifts to be given after they played the games, so that could be another reason why they were not participating fully during the games segment. The elderly also had expectations of taking gifts for their family members and requested us to give more than one door gift to them. In the end, there weren’t enough door gifts to go around and we weren’t sure if everyone had gotten one as well. One thing we could learn from this experience is to issue the door gifts only when they leave, that way we would not miss out anyone, and we also avoid awkward situations of them comparing their door gifts with each other or requesting for more gifts. 

After packing up, we went for dinner and back to our hotel for our usual worship/debrief session, with Lionel leading the worship. After the worship session, we had our debrief of the day’s programmes and some personal reflection. We also did an overall individual sharing and reflection, and it was a very open and transparent moment of sharing as all of us shared our reflections and areas we could improve on which had been observed along the way. All of our suggestions, thoughts and reflections were shared honestly and sincerely, all in the hope to improve how things are being done and for each of us to learn and grow. It was truly a love-filled and humbling session for all of us, as we each shared how we had been humbled and moulded by God through many instances during this trip. I thank God for how He has spoken to each of us.


Nicole: Love and humility. Areas for improvements (AFI) – There were many changes to our planning for our programmes prior to the trip; efficiency can be improved if clearer objectives of the programmes were given by the partners. It is not easy to plan and meet up in the midst of all our busy work schedules. But thanks to God for He’s able to steer the programmes according to His plans and ways given that the runway time was limited.

Ben: I am impressed by the business model of our partners, where the heart matters, regardless of what position you are in. Some AFIs – background work to be improved, as some information regarding the caregivers provided were inaccurate. I learnt about the different working styles of team members, and the valuable lesson on humility. Despite having allocated a person-in-charge to anchor a certain segment of the programme, during the actual programme, there were many other ‘Indian chiefs’ raising their opinions and suggestions, hence, resulting in several last minute changes, as well as the struggle of who to listen to.

Celeste: Always remember to honour one another and to love one another, for when stress comes, that’s when our true character emerges. “Group success is individual success, but individual success is not group success”. Team unity is also what I have learnt in this trip.

Michelle: I learnt about submission and to obey when I am serving.

Michael: I learnt to step out of my comfort zone with regards to willingness to come for this volunteer trip. As I led and anchored my segment, seeing the smiles of the elderly gave me great joy and I was reminded to give my best and do as if I am doing it for the Lord.

Lionel: I tend to be dominating when on the task, thus if there are last minute changes to be injected, I tend to be distracted and may not be able to register on the spot.

Fenn: It is a team effort, not one, nor a few, but team unity that makes success happen. As we learn to serve together as one and in love, I am reminded to honour and love each other in speech and actions. For we are all unique and different individuals, we work differently; we think differently, we respond and receive messages differently. Thus, I learnt about humility, being always sensitive and was conscious not to be complacent despite my strength in bilingualism, lest my tone or my words come across as proud to my co-workers. Another invaluable lesson I learnt is the heart matters when we are serving. It’s not about how well we execute our programmes, or how knowledgeable we are, but rather our sincerity, our genuine love towards the people. True love comes from the heart, and transcends language, nations, culture and race. Like the quote says, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Let’s be human BEINGs, not human doings.

Pastor Angela: “Group success is individual success, but individual success is not group success”. I learnt about the importance of humility and living it out, thus despite being a pastor, I let our partners take charge for they have more experience in this area and I believe they know best. My responsibility is pastoral care for this trip, to help all of us to succeed in our assigned and given roles. Thus, the great emphasis on the following verses: "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality." (Romans 12:10) There will definitely be last minute changes, and that could be our areas of weaknesses, which we may have to learn to cope. Communication is key, which in the case of the elderly programme on Thursday; as there wasn’t any briefing prior to commencing the programme, that could have led to the various issues.

Day 6

This morning’s devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel was led by Ben and Fenn. After a hearty breakfast, it was rest and relax time! We went to the famous Panda Reserve by cab. After taking several photos of the cute pandas and walking around, we took a rest at a restaurant for some light bites and drinks. After resting for a while, we went for lunch, which was a scrumptious.After lunch, we went to do some shopping before having dinner and turned in for the night.

Day 7

This last morning’s devotional sharing over breakfast in the hotel was led by Pastor Angela. After breakfast, we had a full day of shopping for souvenirs and other memorabilia. Followed by lunch and more shopping and lastly, dinner together at a Japanese restaurant.

We then proceeded back to the hotel for packing before heading to the airport. We were really thankful for our hosts and for their hospitality, patience and love in bringing us around to the various shopping places to get our stuff and accommodating our requests. With that, our trip ended with photo taking and well wishes, as the both of them sent us to the airport, where we bade each other goodbye. We thank God for journey mercy throughout the trip, and for the many precious lessons each of us had gained. May God continue to use each of us to inspire even when we are back in Singapore, to pass on the fire and passion to other brothers and sisters-in-Christ, so in turn, they may be inspired to go to Chengdu, to bring the love of Christ to the people in China. We pray for future teams that are going to embark on their journey to Chengdu, to be filled with God’s mighty power and protection and that they too, will experience many signs and wonders of God and like us, be inspired and return to inspire more people. May the light of Jesus shine in our lives, and continue to shine wherever we are, wherever we go! Amen!

View this in