Biblical Greek has two words that are translated as the word “time.” One is chronos indicating time as measured by a clock or calendar. This kind of time governs when we go to bed at night, wake up in the morning to get to school or work, pick up the kids from school and show up for our medical appointment with our doctor. Chronos is the time that governs our daily lives. The Bible also talks about kairos time. Kairos refers to both a special season of life when certain actions are appropriate or to a time of exceptional opportunity from God.
It is important to develop sensitivity to these kairos moments, the spiritual times and seasons in the life of the church. The author of the book of Ecclesiastes says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). God issues particular challenges and opportunities for a congregation in each kairos season. The launch of the Mandarin service in January 2018 is certainly one such kairos season in the long history of PSPC.
I cannot help but marvel at the divine manner in which God had through the years prepared all the key personnel, put them in all the right places at the right time and readied all of us to commence the Mandarin service in 2018. Such an opportunity for evangelism and outreach to Mandarin-speaking people in our community had thankfully been preserved for PSPC and we must seize this kairos moment and not let it slip away. Our Mandarin-speaking community includes those from Sarah Senior Activity Centre, New Life Ministry (formerly known as Prison Ministry), PRC students and workers in our vicinity, and parents and relatives of our own congregants. If we fail to reach out now, we may not have this opportunity again. To establish and grow a viable self-propagating Mandarin congregation is indeed a challenge that will tax us considerably. And I am under no illusion how steep my own learning curve is as I step forward to serve as the Elder overseeing this ministry; always mindful to step out in faith and be completely obedient and dependent on God to lead the way as Abraham did when he went from Ur to the Promised Land.
Another kairos season to make Christ known is upon us as PSPC mounts 2 separate teams to 2 different locations to northern Thailand in an expanded ministry this December. This year, PSPC is sending our largest team of 32 short-term mission trippers to partner Ban Klang Baptist Church in Chiang Rai and OMF (Thailand) cum Wycliffe (Thailand) in Chiang Mai.
The mission engagements in northern Thailand started in 2009 with a desire to raise mission awareness in PSPC through short-term mission exposure trips organised primarily for the Prinsep Lighthouse (PLH) youth. Since then, after 8 trips and collaborations with 3 local churches in northern Thailand and more specifically, in Chiang Rai, the mission work has taken a more definitive shape other than mission exposure.
Today, we seek to win disciples for Christ in northern Thailand in fulfilment of the Great Commission, by identifying missional church partners and coming alongside them as invited participants to support the outreach efforts of these local churches and organisations. The raising of mission awareness and participation in cross-cultural outreach to least reached people groups among PSPC congregants still remain an important goal. This is in line with what we term regular mission in mission circles. The mission effort in northern Thailand is also our response to correct the great imbalance of Christian resources largely going to reached people groups.
With a sizeable Mizo community and a smaller group of Filipino migrant workers worshipping in PSPC, there exists a third kairos opportunity for reverse missions that we as a church had never considered before. More of us need to get out of our comfort zone and be involved in the lives of these migrant workers to help disciple them for Christ. And when these workers do go back after their work stint is done in Singapore, we should identify those who are suitable to go into full-time ministry to plant churches and further the Gospel among the least-reached people groups in the lands where they originated. We can learn much from Covenant Presbyterian Church in this regard where they have an active ministry to the Singhalese people of Sri Lanka through such reverse missions.
Let us continue to reflect on Scriptures, pray unceasingly and pay attention to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to seize the kairos moments to make Christ known across the street and across the seas.