Ah Tee (pseudonym) is the lady boss of a restaurant. She is busy all day long as she need to manage the restaurant business and provide catering service at the same time. One day, Ah Tee got to know the struggles of some Indonesian migrants through social media. The migrants lost their jobs during the pandemic and they were starving. Hence, two organizations called for help, hoping that someone would provide food for them. (Seeing this as an opportunity, Ah Tee immediately contacts the two organizations because she believes that Christians should contribute to the society actively). Ah Tee who always think that as a Christian, she should actively contribute to the society, quickly seize this opportunity and responded by contacting the two organizations. She decided to respond to the needs of the migrant families with her husband and two sisters from church, where they bought 200 packets of rice, Indo Mee instant noodle packs and biscuits, hoping to be able to support the migrant families to walk through this hardship.
“The pandemic had caused many people to be unemployed, but we’re thankful that we are still working and have income. This pandemic had affected everyone somehow or another, hence we should not only be taking care of ourselves,” Ah Tee told her staffs in the restaurant. Ah Tee and the staffs pack the foods happily together. Afterwards, the two organizations helped to send the food packs into the hands of migrant families.
“I didn’t do much actually. I always tell my children that what’s most important is to be the blessing of others so that the name of our Lord will be glorified,” says Ah Tee. Her sharing was really touching. These unseen silent services had blessed 130 Indonesian migrant families, prevented them from starving during this pandemic and let their stomach be filled. What is more important is, the Christians and churches see their responsibilities when there is a need from the under privilege group; they are willing to reach out their hands to help, and allowing people to see and feel the love of God.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35) Even though Ah Tee do not know these migrants; even though she could not send the food pack to the families by herself due to busy workload, but she did her part within her capacity to live out the life of a disciple. As she walks her talk, she is influencing her family, children and staffs to join her in serving the need of others and spreading love. Her deliberate action of spending time for others, and bearing others need in mind, shows her gratitude to the Lord and the over flowing of life that is being filled with God’s love.
“Thank you!” Although this beneficiary does not know Ah Tee, but she tried to reach her just to thank her through text message. Hence, a prompting out of love to act should not be ignored for we do not know a decision that seems easy-peasy could be the blessing of others; the light in the darkness and the hope in the hopelessness. If we are grateful, for sure we will always be ready to be the vessel of God, make use of God’s given gifts, talents, abilities and resources to serve others. Even if it is just listening and accompanying, as long as we are willing to turn our prompting into action, then it will bring hope to others. Just like 7979 that sees the need of the underprivileged families in various communities, where they setup Manna Food Bank, worked with local churches to send food and daily supplies to the families in need to walk with them through this critical time and valley of darkness regardless of their racial background. Henceforth, the gospel could spread to people of different races and tribes, especially to the marginalized communities.
And you, are you willing to be the blessing of others in little things?
Lighthouse in the Community
Lighthouse Community Centre A/G is a church located in Penang. The church serves the families in need actively in providing care services and accompanies them to face their life’s challenges together. Pastor Michael has been engaging in social concern ministry for many years, where he is committed in taking care of the elderly people, people with disabilities and children. The church often visits the families in need and assists them in applying 7979 Crisis Intervention Program and Manna Food Bank aid when the families are having financial emergencies to help lessen their life burdens. The church sets up a “Refrigerator of Kindness” which allows the elderly people who are living alone to take foods they need. At the same time, the church also sets up a companion class to assist children in completing their home works and cultivate good characters in them.
As the COVID-19 pandemic strikes, the church is unable to operate as usual. To avoid crowd gathering, the church had stop providing food through the “Refrigerator of Kindness”. Even though there are limitations due to the Movement Control Order, but it didn’t stop the church from showing love to the community in the midst of pandemic. The church often keeps in touch with the students from companion class through phone calls and social media, and provides masks to the students and their family to make sure they are all well.
The Driving Force behind Kindness
Since church gathering is not allowed, Pastor Michael records a five-minute devotion video every day and shares it to the church members to ensure they receive care and Words of God during the period of quarantine. “It takes me 3-4 hours of video recording, editing, and sending even though the video is just five minutes short,” says Pastor Michael. He was stressed as he is busier than usual, but he sees the opportunity to show love to people around him during the period of Movement Control Order.
“It gave me deep thoughts when seeing how the pandemic had changed the pace of human life; how it breaks our living habits which lead people to have deeper reflection on the meaning of life. Therefore, our action of showing care and concern allows people to realize that Jesus is the One that we can depend and lean on. It is the genuine help which does not require to be paid back that touches the hearts of people. At the same time, we regain strength and feel blessed too!” Hence, Pastor Michael and his fellow co-workers send love gifts to church members and bless them with prayers as the movement control started to deregulate.
He indicates that providing practical and effective help in caring for the community is needed, but the most important thing is to let people feel the love in desperation. Last but not least, he thanked 7979 for responding the need of people in time and provides suitable program and resources to support the church in reaching and helping the families in need, which motivates the church to serve the community boldly and enthusiastically.
Story from Lighthouse Community Centre A/G, 7979 Holistic Care Station
“Interestingly, the children wrote better essays through voice message teaching method.” What a blessing in the midst of disaster!"
At the flats in Kepong where the poor stay in, there is a community church named Abundant Grace Assembly Of God that cares for the people in the community. The church is a good friend of the community, it supports the community in solving problems and facing life difficulties.
In the beginning of year 2020, from the moment Rev. Tang and his wife, Sister Low who are very passionate in social concern got to know about 7979 ministry, hence they decided to start a companionship class in church.
It has been a long time ever since Sister Low (the person in charge of companionship class) and her daughter left schooling lives, thus they are not familiar with present school curriculum. When Sis. Low heard students’ complaints regarding homework difficulties, she felt the urgent need to start a companionship class, not only to accompany them but also to guide them in their homework. “I hope to accompany the students as much as I could”, she said. The church hold on to this belief and trust God will provide their need, hence they started the companionship class.
Teacher Lin (pseudonym) has professional knowledge in children psychology. She used to do art and music therapy to heal children. Due to some changes in her family, where her ex-husband used up all their saving and abandon their youngest son, teacher Lin was forced to quit her job in Singapore and returned to Malaysia to take care of the son.
She was left with only RM1000 when she and her son took accommodation at a motel, eventually they end up moving into a unit of flat near Abundant Grace Assembly Of God where they share accommodation with foreign labours. Teacher Lin is a Christian, she look for a church nearby where she currently stays, and then she met Rev. Tang and his wife, Sister Low. When Sister Low came to aware of Teacher Lin’s situation, she invited her and her son to stay with them and invited her to be the teacher of companionship class. As the companionship class started, Teacher Lin joined the team.
In the beginning, the church spread the news regarding the opening of companionship class by giving out leaflets at the gates of schools and hawker centers, also through brothers and sisters’ recommendation, they got to know some single mothers.
Unexpectedly, MCO was implemented when companionship class just started for 2 weeks. But the church did not stop caring for the children and accompanying them, therefore the church decided to start online teaching. The teachers use WhatsApp video call and voice message to do homework guidance. Due to MCO, parents also get involved in their children’s assignment, and help their children to send their homework to teachers.
The teachers realized that the students learned better with online one to one teaching method. When the children do not understand something, they can always listen to the video repeatedly. “Interestingly, the children wrote better essays through voice message teaching method.” What a blessing in the midst of disaster!
There was a time when a teacher called up a student, the teacher discovered that the parents were unable to pay their house rental, so the church decided to help them by applying for 7979 Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) Special Assistance.
However, due to the fact that these parents do not have passbook and ATM card, it is inconvenient for them to withdraw their money. When Teacher Lin heard of their difficulty, she took the effort to accompany one of the parents to rode bicycle to the bank to apply for an ATM card and withdrew the money.
“I’m glad to help them, just like the motto of 7979, I can keep up the spirit of ‘Go and Save’ anytime and anywhere.” When Teacher Lin sees others’ need, she will take the initiative to care for them. Her concern for others is not about just helping people, but it also helps to build rapport too.
The parents were very thankful as they received the money, they in return treated the teaches with two dishes. It is to thank the church for helping them to apply for 7979 CIP Special Assistance, and showing gratitude to the teachers who take initiative to help when they have difficulty in withdrawing money from bank account.
On one occasion, the teachers got to know that a student is having her birthday, but had never eaten a birthday cake before. Teacher Lin pondered on this matter, thinking that she herself was once the beneficiary of 7979 CIP Special Assistance. Suddenly, she had an idea and she went to bought some cake making ingredients and make a birthday cake to share the blessing she received.
When the student received the cake, she were very touched and delighted. This little surprise had lifted up the dully quarantine life.
Rev. Tang and his wife just started to serve in Abundant Grace Assembly Of God on last year. As they first came to the church, they look out for social concern related ministry because they feel and understand the need of church to be actively involved in caring the community.
“In the past, the church initiated some caring ministries, however they do not have a main person in charge to manage, therefore they are lacking of man power and co-operation.” Now with the resources from 7979, and the full force effort from Rev. Tang and his wife, the church caring ministry is slowly developing. The church started to respond to the needs in caring for the children and helping people in the community quickly.
In the midst of pandemic, Abundant Grace Assembly Of God had helped many people in need in their community to apply for 7979 CIP Special Assistance, provided support and accompanied them to walk through their hardships, so that they can survive and thrive. A granny of a student from the companionship class gave a remark when she received the 7979 CIP Special Assistance. “The application approved very quickly, and money was transferred into my bank account very quickly too. I feel thankful that I can now withdraw money to buy food for my grandchildren,” the granny said. Sister Low shared this story of gratitude at the end of our conversation. Indeed, a genuine caring never demands returns.
Story from Abundant Grace Assembly of God (AOG), 7979 Holistic Care Station
Last February, a tourist spot in Perak experienced hard hit by decreasing tourist, due to the pandemic that had spread to the whole world. This not only worry vendors and businessmen that depend on tourist flow, it also affected street people that beg for food.
RM5 lunch voucher, a warm meal during pandemic
Dr. Ong (pseudonym) and his wife open a clinic in that area, which we called it “Peace Clinic”. Other than providing medical consultation to patients, Dr. Ong also provides free consultation to the homeless street people. Two weeks before the MCO was implemented, seeing that crowd are gone, tourists are decreasing, Dr. and Mrs. Ong started to worry if the street people will be starving and might not be able to survive. Situation became worse when government announced MCO starting on 18 Mar 2020, other than essential services, all entities be it government or private sector must close operation. Without hesitation, both of them quickly discuss their plan in ensuring the continuous food supply for the street people.
They came out with printed lunch voucher and approached the hawkers nearby, asking them whether they are interested to get involved, by way of exchanging one lunch voucher with a warm meal to bless the street people. Each voucher is worth RM5; where Dr. Ong will pay up all the bills. Street people can collect vouchers from the clinic and go to the nearby hawkers to redeem food. Due to shorten hawkers’ business hour during MCO period, they can only provide lunch. When the hawkers came to know of this project, they quickly gave good response. One of the hawkers was moved by Dr. Ong’s good initiative, he/she didn’t bother if the food value is more than RM5.
A lunch voucher in exchange of ready meal, do not only ensure street people a full stomach, the hawkers also helped to ensure that this project will not be abused. There was a case, where one street guy requested to have RM3 worth of food and RM2 of cash instead of providing him with RM5 meal. The hawker immediately declines his request and continue to prepare his RM5 meal.
Kindness. Influences Others. Build Trust
In the beginning of the lunch voucher project, there are about 5 to 6 street people are benefited on daily basis. As the news spreads, the number of beneficiaries increased to 7 to 8 street people, sometimes 12 persons a day.
Before lunch time, the street people will collect the voucher from a nurse in the clinic. The nurse will measure their temperature, provide mask and educate them in practicing social distance so that they learn to protect themselves during the pandemic. It seems like an extra work for the nurses, but Dr and Mrs Ong are touched and glad to see the nurses’ willingness in caring the needy, which has improved their working relationship between one another.
During MCO period, the Social Welfare Department in Perak did not neglect the street people, they turned the stadium into a temporary shelter centre for the street people to ensure they are protected from COVID-19. Some of the street people, perceived that the shelter is a retaining centre, therefore strongly refused to move in. Dr. Ong became the ad hoc coordinator, explained to the street people the reason for setting up a shelter centre, and encouraged the street people to accept the arrangement. After this, half of the street people moved into the centre, where few of them street chose to stray on the street. Despite this, “Peace Clinic” still continue to serve them.
After taking up the role of ad hoc coordinator, Dr. Ong realized that the street people started to trust him. In the beginning, he only offered help in providing food and pandemic prevention, but surprisingly, the street people will approach him recently and seek for his advice when they have doubts and feel anxious about something unknown.
The Cat Lover is gone!
Few days after the project launched, a homeless lady who loves cat very much was disappeared. She was a patient of Dr Ong, and she always carries a kitten with her, that’s why Dr. and Mrs. Ong have strong impression of her.
Dr Ong and Mrs. Ong started to miss her when she didn’t turn up to collect the lunch voucher. One day, a nurse bumped into her, she happily tells her about the lunch voucher project, and asked why she didn’t appear. “Oh! I’m aware of that. But the other places are also providing food, so I go to the other place to collect the food, so I’ll not add on to Dr. Ong’s burden,” she replied and walked off.
When the nurse returned to the clinic, she informed Dr. and Mrs. Ong about the lady. When they heard this, they were greatly touched to know that although she needs to beg for food in order to survive, but she is very thoughtful. The Bible teaches us, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” From this matter, Mrs. Ong learned that God will care for us when we care for others. “No amount of money can buy this,” Mrs Ong said.
Dry goods a day, in replacement of picking at rubbish dumpsite
Due to the fact that RM5 voucher can only be exchanged with lunch, therefore the street people have to find ways to settle their breakfast and dinner. On one occasion where the street people came to collect their voucher, Dr Ong heard that Mr. M (one of the street people) was about to have his dinner which he found some disposed sacrificial food from the rubbish dumpsite.
Mr. M is a 60 years old man; he was once a technician. Few years ago, he was diagnosed with cervical spondylosis, which requires to use crutches to move around. Lately, his health is deteriorating quickly as he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and heart problem. When Dr. Ong approached him, he found that Mr. M has lost hope to live on. Mr. M is a very independent person, he does not want to cause troubles to others, it could be this reason that he prefers to find food from the dumping site, instead of seeking help from others.
Dr. Ong was helpless and felt sorry for this man. He immediately gave Mr. M a RM5 note, asked him to buy food from nearby convenient store in replacement of the food from dumping site.
Dr Ong learned that the street people are usually starving throughout the night, which makes him ponder on how to provide food for the street people after the stall business hour. As a result, he decided to provide dry goods pack that is sufficient for three meals a day instead of just RM5 lunch voucher. When the street people collect their RM5 lunch voucher, they will be given an additional pack of dry goods such as bread, oats or instance noodle.
Gaining Wisdom in the Process of Helping People
During MCO, the street people will go to “Peace Clinic” daily to collect their lunch vouchers. They became close to Dr. Ong gradually and started to opened up to him. People in the clinic found that these street people are unlike how they perceive of them. People might think that they are lazy, stay idle on the street. But as the street people shared their life stories with the people they met in the clinic, Dr. Ong started to understand that they were forced to wander around the streets due to many reasons. They either faced unemployment due to COVID-19 pandemic, being robbed, fell sick and do not want to trouble their families, refuses to stay in old folk homes, have intellectual disability, drug abused or could not afford room rental.
Mr. C, one of the street people shared his story to Dr. Ong. After Mr. C was released from prison of another country, he came back to Malaysia and took up some odd jobs for living. Unfortunately, in March, he was being robbed, they took his wallet, IC and credit card, everything was gone. Moreover, he lost his job due to pandemic, and the room rental is due. Therefore, he need an amount of money for emergency. The government departments were closed due to pandemic; so he could not do his necessary documents. Eventually, troubles over troubles had pushed him to the street.
On one occasion when Mr. C went to the clinic, he asked Dr. Ong to lend him some money. Worried that he’ll spend the money on drugs, Dr. Ong declined his request and explained that he only provides lunch voucher and dry goods pack. Mr. C responded angrily, refused to take the offer, mumbling a while and walked off. Dr. Ong was stunned by his reaction, worrying that Mr. C will return to disturb the clinic.
On the following day, Mr. C returned. This time, he spoke softly and obediently took the lunch voucher and dry goods pack. Soon after that, he got a job opportunity through a friend’s recommendation, however the employer do not allow him to stay at the workplace. Thus Dr. Ong decided to help him to look for another job so that he can get rid of street life.
Dr. Ong has no experience in handling complex social issue other than providing treatment and medical consultation. In order to help those street people more effectively, he decided to consult social workers and Christian caring organisations, while referring to 7979 COVID-19 Disaster Response Strategies. He made mistakes and learned from the experiences in working with the street people, it has helped him to be more sensitive to others needs and learned to respect their dignity.
7979 COVID-19 Disaster Response Strategies, Let Love Shine amidst COVID-19
In early May, the movement control has started to deregulated, and industries have started to resume business as usual. Dr. Ong has no intention to make the street people to become dependant on lunch voucher and free dry goods. Therefore, he referred them to 7979 COVID-19 special distribution (Manna Food Bank), that can distribute 1 week of food to the street people, so that they will learn to make arrangement for their own meals. At the same time, encouraged them to look for job. Dr. Ong thinks that he was just doing his part in supporting the street people. In fact, Dr. Ong and his wife thought that they had learned a lot from the street people, the hawkers and the nurses. In the end, they discovered that when everyone comes together and contributes each of their parts, the world will be better. Lastly, he also encouraged brothers and sisters in Christ to come together in this pandemic to care for the underprivileged, through assisting them in application of 7979 COVID-19 Disaster Response Strategies, 7979 COVID-19 Special Assistance (Crisis Intervention Program) and 7979 COVID-19 Special Distribution (Manna Food Bank).
“I’m a Christian, when I heard that this boy has some problem, I started to think what can I do?”
Teacher Leong specialise is children education, she has been in this field for 40 years already. The thing that lead her to care for children is her Christian identity, she saw the need, therefore she responded.
When she just settled down in Ipoh, on her way to Sunday School, she saw 3 teenage girls and a 10 years old boy, the little boy face had obvious wound, the teenage girls said that the boy will be send to orphanage. Teacher Leong started to care for the child.
Later, Teacher Leong found the school that the child went to, as she does not know the child, when she was being questioned by the headmaster, she just answered: “I’m a Christian, I heard that this boy has some difficulties, what can I do to help?”
This is how she started her children ministry in Ipoh, until today Teacher Leong still see many children’s needs.
Teacher Leong started Saturday Children Fellowship, Sunday School and tuition class. This group of children mostly are from poor families, under COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, their life became worse than ever. Again, Teacher Leong take initiative to care for these families.
Take initiative to care then you’ll see the needs
In the past, Teacher Leong had guided Xiao Zhi (Pseudonym) with his homework before, that’s how she came to know his family, she also encouraged him to attend children fellowship. During pandemic, Teacher Leong take initiative to care for this family, and found out that the boy’s father has no work for this period of time, thus they do not have income. In view of this, she helped them to apply for 7979 Manna Food Bank (MFB) special assistance program.
Before the second distribution of Manna Food Bag, Teacher Leong received a message from Xiao Zhi’s parent requesting them to send the Manna Food Bag to another address, only then Teacher Leong was aware that they moved out from their house to stay with his grandparents and uncle, because they can’t pay their house rental.
If Teacher Leong did not take initiative to care for this family, then others will not able to see their needs, and nobody will be able to help them. Now, that this family had received their 7979 COVID-19 special assistance, they no longer have to worry for being hungry for at least a short period of time.
See the needs of life, intervene with sincere care
Xiao Hao (Pseudonym) has three siblings, he is in Form 3 secondary school, his youngest brother is in standard 6 primary school. During pandemic, their mother found out that she has unplanned pregnancy, they are stunned and felt lost by this new member existence. The already burdensome family’s finance condition became tougher in this MCO period as they had no income.
Teacher Leong has been helping this family even before MCO started. At present, they are recipient of 7979 Manna Food Bank and Crisis Intervention special assistance program.
Teacher Leong constantly care for them, sometimes even curious about how they cook the dry food given to them. When she heard of Xiao Hao’s mom unplanned pregnancy and how lost they were, she helped them to analyse – Although Xiao Hao’s father is already 60 years old, he is not retire, he is still capable to work for few more years, their three children are growing up too, they can work to provide for the family when they graduated from school. Xiao Hao’s mother still can do some miscellaneous work from home while taking care of her baby. After this analysis, they find that their financial difficulties can be solve, they are capable to raise this child. Finally, Xiao Hao’s parents heartily accept the arrival of this baby.
Help without any guilt
Xiao Ai (pseudonym) is a mother of 5 children, due to pandemic, their household income is affected. Teacher Leong got to know them through a sister in Christ, intending to help them to apply for 7979 COVID-19 Special Assistance program. In the beginning, Xiao Ai’s husband refused to accept assistance, it became an issue between them.
Now that the government began to implement CMCO, her husband resumed work, however the company decided to enforce large percentile of salary cut in order to allow the company to go through this difficult time. This really worsen their already bad financial condition.
Teacher Leong understood the psychological tension that Xiao Ai’s husband has over receiving aid, therefore in the midst of helping them, in order to ease their feeling, she explained that the aid is from an NGO, it is unconditional, they do not owe anyone, so that they may receive the aid without any psychological burden.
After Xiao Ai accepted 7979’s assistance, she felt so thankful, because this is her first time receiving aid from others.
The sweet return from helping others
Teacher Leong started from her own tuition classes, she made calls from household to household, whenever she sees a need she’ll always use her own money to help others. However, due to the massive needs, she finds herself cannot cope with it.
Later on, she came to know of 7979 COVID-19 Special Assistance program through a sister’s sharing, she started to apply on behalf of the people in need. When we talked to her about 7979 COVID-19 Special Assistance program, Teacher Leong commented that “7979 indeed enable us to help more people”.
Helping others is not easy too, every household has different needs, some cases even stated down their food “requirement”, therefore Teacher Leong had to customize each Manna Food Bag’s content, so that the client’s need can be met. Adding to this, Teacher Leong occasionally needs to do life condition analysis with them too, so that they may make correct decision.
In the process of helping others, Teacher Leong also came across some cases that refuse to accept aid, due to worry of being exposed or feel like they owe someone. Thus, helper must be aware of client’s feeling too, make sure that they do not feel pressured when they received aid. Teacher Leong said it with relief: “Helping others through NGO allow recipients to feel honored and they will be encouraged to help others in future.”
“These children treat us (Teacher Leong and her husband) like their parents, I still remember a child said to me, “I have 2 fathers and 2 mothers, both of you are the other two!’”, Teacher Leong looks so pleased when she quoted what the child said. I think for a helper this is the biggest reward and comfort.
These stories are grateful dedication to all teachers
Happy Teachers’ Day
Permata Baptist Church (PBC) 7979 Care Station has always care for the underprivileged in their community. Without hesitation, the church send “Manna” to the underprivileged, which had strengthened their hope in the midst of troubles during MCO period.
In the process of applying for 7979 Manna Food Bank special distribution, there is one family with 4 members, a young couple with two daughters. The husband was just about to start a motorcycle repair shop, unfortunately it coincides with MCO, this has caused a devastated impact on his new business. The wife runs a night hawker stall but could not operate her business due to the restriction of business hour during MCO. Eventually, this couple has lost their income.
But thankfully, their two daughters were the students of PBC companionship class where the church soon discovered their difficulties quickly, and immediately respond to their need by assisting them in applying 7979 Manna Food Bank Special Distribution. As they received the special “Manna”, they were overjoyed and feel grateful for the timely assistance from the church.
In the process of helping them, the church realized their children’s need in studying. Due to the fact that the schools are now practicing online classes, it became an obstacle for those who have no computer at home. Initially, they intended to buy a second hand computer, but due to financial constraint, they halted their plan. Thus the church helped the family to apply for 7979 Crisis Intervention Program Special Assistance. At the same time, the family received a donation of RM100 from a kind hearted person, which had immediately solve their urgent problem.
The pandemic had cut off the income of families and trapped them in deep troubles water. If the church did not take the initiative to care for them, then their needs will not be seen! Praise the Lord, 7979 Holistic Care Relief Network had initiated COVID-19 Disaster Response Strategies, which allows the church to have available resources and equipment to support and assist more families in need and in crisis.
Story from Permata Baptist Church (PBC) 7979 Holistic Care Station
Written by PBC’s Volunteer Manager, Brother Tan Chuen Kheng
Xiaoliu (not her real name) came from a small town. In 2019, she decided to leave the town to work in the city. She had worked in several different factories until August 2019, she quit her full-time job to take on other part time job that earns lesser income. Hence, she often borrows money from relatives and friends to meet her monthly expenses. They were happy to help initially but for a short period of time only.
With Covid-19 pandemic causing worldwide concern, our government has implemented MCO in mid-March to curb further spread. When she realise there’s little savings and food, coupled with her relatives and friends are ignoring her plea, she began to be very anxious. She started to seek assistance from outside her own circle of friends, applied for Government assistance / subsidy and also called the 7979 hotline several times.
As a result, the 7979 service staff referred her case to a local church. The church adheres to 7979 service principles to help the distress and vulnerable families, struck by the economic woos, regardless of race and religion and decided to intervene in this new case.
The church volunteer began to understand her previous work and spending habits and noticed the mismatch in her income and expenditure. Xiaoliu didn’t conceal but was cooperative to share with the volunteer. After listening to Xiaoliu's sharing, church volunteer was a little surprised by her spending habits, but instead of criticizing, she continued to listen.
As they chat, Xiaoliu began to share her family story. It turned out that her father once ran a small enterprise and was the only bread winner in the family. At that time, his business income was sufficient for her family of six and the economy was fairly stable then.
Xiaoliu’s family began to face financial difficulties when her father passed away few years ago. According to Xiaoliu, they have never been able to adapt to her father ’s departure.
Church volunteer further observed the departure of Xiaoliu’s father, had caused great turbulence to both her family and her personal life. If it were not due to MCO, and in response to her friend’s suggestions, Xiaoliu would n’t think of the need to cook and prepare her own meals, change her lifestyle and spending habits to cope with current difficulty situation.
Church volunteer taught her how to manage and make good use of the subsidy received, identify which foods can be kept for longer time, and how to avoid wasteful spending. As she now has no income, these are crash courses that she needs to learn and master. According to the volunteer, Xiaoliu occasionally send pictures of vegetables and food to ask, which one to buy or seek guidance on how to cook simple meals.
Her willingness to learn was comforting to the volunteer. This pandemic seemed to give Xiaoliu a chance to re-live her life. The church volunteer is the witness of Xiaoliu’s transformed life.
Although the church is not yet a 7979 Holistic care station, they are appreciative of the 7979 COVID-19 special assistance program extended to all churches to apply for those in need. The church Volunteer helped Xiaoliu to apply for the 7979 crisis intervention plan whereby, monthly allowance will be given up to a period of 4 months.
The church volunteer really appreciates this form of assistance as she can continue to care for Xiaoliu and accompany her through this difficult journey.
Case story from Port Klang Chinese Methodist Church
The story of Mdm L...
Mdm L , 59 years old is the sole bread winner for her family and those who live with her under the same roof.
Married three times, she has 3 children who have all married and some of her children are physically unwell. Therefore, she needs to be self-reliant. Her husband is paralysed, he can eat by himself, but he cannot move about. He normally waits for mdm L to come back from work to assist with his daily needs.
Mdm L has a younger step brother who used to live with her but he is currently undergoing treatment at a drug rehabilitation center. In addition, she has received a 62 years old man in need of help to live with her family. This elderly man from Perak had lived in Serdang for a year. His right hand and foot had restricted movement due to stroke and he is frail. He hoped to apply for an OKU card and obtain government support.
Mdm L is very strong and has not been overwhelmed by a difficult life to care for her handicapped husband and the elderly man. The elderly man taught her how to make Rojak to sell and she also sell homemade enzymes while the elderly man sells tissue papers to survive. Since MCO, they are both unable to continue to do business and their livelihood is in great distress.
During this difficult time, the church came and provided timely help and brought them the Manna food bags. In addition, the church have also applied for 7979 crisis intervention fund as well as the church caring fund to resolve their outstanding house rental.
The first phase of 7979 crisis intervention fund and church caring fund received was sufficient to settle the house rental amounting to RM750, but after the volunteers managed to convince house owner to reduce rental to RM 650, there’s excess of RM 100 which was aptly used to buy extra food for Mdm L and her family.
Although Mdm L is facing a tough time, she is kind and still care about her Neighbour Mdm Y. She generously share some of the food provided by the church with her neighbour and had requested our church to also assist Mdm Y.
The story of Mdm Y...
This 67 years old Mdm Y is a widow when her husband passed away many years ago. Presently, lives with her 37-year-old son who is addicted to ecstasy pills since he was 18. This has led to some brain damage that needs regular medication to keep his condition under control. As his medication has run out of supply during MCO, Mdm Y is particularly worried. He has not worked for two years.
Mdm Y’s eldest son and 3 other daughters have married and they are also facing financial difficulties. In addition, she is not having good relationship with her 3 daughters and not in contact with each other.
Mdm Y, told us she has no work after lunar Chinese New Year, she desperately needs to get a job and hopes to send her youngest son to a drug rehabilitation center.
After church volunteers delivered the Manna food bag, Mdm Y further informed that there is no gas at home. Upon hearing that, church volunteers arranged a cylinder of gas to her house.
Mdm Y has to urgently settle outstanding house rental of RM 500, otherwise, owner would chase them out of the house. Hearing her predicament, the church assisted to apply for 7979 crisis intervention fund. A total of RM1200 was approved which will be disbursed in two installments. The first instalment came in timely to settle her outstanding rent and the excess RM 100 to cover her other living expenses.
However, recently the landlord asked Mdm Y's family to move out by mid-May. Mdm L managed to help her find a new place with monthly rental of RM600. Hence, the second instalment of the relief fund could be used to pay for the new rent.
We are thankful to God, Mdm Y has found a job nearby as a confinement lady for 2 weeks until end of April. This job will earn some living expenses and hope that she will soon find a stable job to support her family.
Case story from 7979 Holistic Care station , Petra Christian Church, Selangor
“They have many children, I am only alone, not need so much food, they need it more than me! ”
In Kluang, there is two neighbor who are elderly man. They are member of Kluang Baptist Church 7979 Holistic Care Station, who live on welfare fund of RM300 every month, sometime even have to eat just oats for dinner, life is hard for them.
After implementation of MCO, Ps Chang How Sai helps them to apply for 7979 Manna Food Bank special relief, hope to supply for their need.
“Each time when I went to distribute food bag for uncle, the neighbors looks at me as if they asking when is our turn, I feel so bad.” Said Pastor. It is a small village, most of the family are poor orang Asli family, husband working outstation and left the wife and children at home. During MCO, they ahere unable to go out to buy food items as they have no transport.
On that day, when Ps Chang send the second food bag to the two uncle, together they said：“I has not finish the food that you send to me last time, I am alone, don’t need so much. Please send the food bag to next door neighbor, they need these more than me.” Both of them don’t know the family that they want to help. They only knew that they had a need, they want to help them.
So, Pastor helps to send the food bag to the designated family. One of the family is Orang Asli family with 4 children, the eldest one is in Primary School, the youngest one is just a small baby. The children were so happy when they received the food bag. They carried it into the house immediately. This had deeply touched the Pastor, he realized that there are so much need outside.
“They have many children, I am only alone, not need so much food, they need it more than me ！”A simple phrase, yet coming from the mouth of an uncle who also needs help. They see this as grace of God, felt that God blessed them, they want to share what they have.
Ps Chang shared this touching story with church members, encourage them to walk out of the four wall of church, caring for those who are in need. Pastor hopes that by sharing this to more people, more will be encouraged. They are truly our example, we must learn from them.
When God bless us, we must not only received, but also learn to share the blessing out!
This time, Ps Chang and his wife, go out on separate car to distribute food bag. He reminded that we had to follow the rules when we caring for others, so we act separately.
The church had started the social welfare ministry earlier, but due to financial constraint, they can only buy some rice and biscuits for the needy each time. Ps Chang said, “The 7979 Manna Food Bank Special Relief helps us to prepare enough food, enables us to help more families.” The holistic care station had helped 9 families to apply for this special relief, Pastor did a very thorough study before they send in the application. They only send in application for those family who really needs help, to prevent wastage of resources.
Story from Kluang Baptist Church 7979 Holistic Care Station
Brother Yu was so impressed by the old couple’s excitement when 7979 volunteers arriving at their house with Manna food bags and hearing their joyful response; “ Oh! we are ￼so anxious and worry, and you arrived with food! We felt its God ’s arrangement, we are very grateful".
This old couple, over 70 years old, lives in a village in Kuantan. The grandmother used to work in a restaurant washing dishes until an accidental fall forced her to stop work. They live in an old ancestral house with a small plot of land next to it where they planted lemongrass to make a living. Every week someone would come to buy lemongrass from them and they could earn RM 30 to RM 50 a week. This meagre income is hardly sufficient. In addition, their relatives who live nearby will offer some help from time to time.
The old couple has 2 children, the son died a few years ago while the daughter had married with a small family living in Johor.
This old couple was recommended to Brother Yu by an auntie whom herself is a beneficiary of 7979 Manna food bag. As a recipient of 7979 Manna food bags and experienced the care and support from the church, she hoped that church volunteers can extend help to this old couple who are facing difficulty. The church began to contact and offer care to this old couple.
During the second week of Movement Control Order (MCO), the 7979 church volunteers delivered the Manna food bag to the old couple's house. The old couple was so grateful by the surprised visit and help as they have been worried and scared about how to get food during MCO because they don’t drive and are poverty stricken.
The act of kindness by the church volunteers at this very trying moment had lifted the spirit of the old couple and filled their hearts with joy and gladness.
Story of a desperate family in Kuantan 7979 Holistic Care Station (Adonai Centre)
While our government and people focus on fighting against Covid-19 virus, Salung, a small village in Pensiangan and Sapulut in Sabah experience severe flood on 8th April 2020. The rain that continue to pour down for few days cause the river water level to rise and flooded the land along the river. This is the most serious flood happened in that area.
This flood affected around 60 indigenous families. Their houses and 4 pieces of farmland with crops are all gone.
When we received this news, we thank God for BCCM CGC who willing to take the lead and work together with 7 local churches to gather the relief goods and make arrangement to send the goods from Kota Kinabalu to Keningau. Together with goods collected in Keningau were send to Sapulut. As this is MCO period, we need to apply for the permit twice in order to send the goods to Salung.
After the 6-hours long journey, all the relief goods, including clothes, medicines and basic food items finally reached the affected area. 7979 Holistic Care Relief Network also donated RM3,000.00 to support this move under Emergency Aid Fund.
At the moment, the water had receded. Once the MCO lifted, church plans to help villagers to re-plot their farmland.
There is little food left for his family!
Due to government movement control order, his income dropped from RM1700 to RM0. Seeing his fellow colleagues have received their salary but he has none. He called his boss but he didn’t pick up his call. He thought to himself, may be he is only a part-time worker, so the boss didn't plan to pay him during this MCO period. His work is not covered by insurance, his wife suffers from mental illness, his income source is now cut off suddenly and there is little food left for his family! In addition, with three rebellious daughters all staying at home during MCO, he is under tremendous stress.
The family is thankful to 7979 assistance during this difficult time
Receiving government’s BPN payment and 7979 COVID-19 special assistance in April was a great relief as he could now settle at least 1 month’s rental.
Although Landlord has been pressuring him to settle two months' overdue house rentals otherwise his family of five would have to move out in May, he obviously has no means to do so especially during MCO. He can now breathe a sigh of relief but is fearful and uncertain of future if MCO is extended again.
He is very thankful that 7979 care station has been very supportive to consider additional 7979 COVID-19 financial assistance and continue to give his family emotional and spiritual support.
Few days ago, the 7979 church had delivered some fruits and bread to their home to the delight of three daughters as she have not been eating bread during the early stage of MCO when there was shortage and price increase. The family is thankful to 7979 assistance during this difficult time.