Sharing a Christmas Meal

Sharing a Christmas Meal

'I was a stranger and you took me in.' (Matthew 25:35).

'I was a stranger and you took me in.' (Matthew 25:35).

For year-end Christmas 2015, the Toa Payoh Ward Council (comprising members from the Bishopric, the Relief Society and Primary) considered the question “What can we do for the needy this Christmas?”

After prayer for direction and inspiration, the Ward decided to coordinate with AWWA (formerly known as Asian Women’s Welfare Association), an organization which provides community-based programs and services to people of all ages with a specific mission to empower the disadvantaged. An invitation was extended to a group of people under AWWA’s care to attend the Ward’s Christmas Party.

On 12 December 2015, a busload of 50 adults and 9 children arrived on the church grounds. Brethren from the Elders Quorum stood by ready to welcome them and to help the older folks get down safely from the bus.

When everyone was settled, dinner coordinated by the Relief Society was served.

Ward members and full-time missionaries entertained the group with songs – a mixture of local favorites and a Christmas medley. The songs were sung in local Mandarin and Chinese dialects, Malay and English, languages that were understood by the patrons.

Much to the delight of the visitors a fun Bingo game was played. Their enthusiasm showed clearly on their faces!

The brothers and sisters who diligently planned, organized and coordinated the whole event did a wonderful job. As well as food, entertainment, fun games and goodie bags for the older folks, the evening wrapped up surprise appearance from Santa Claus who delighted the children with presents in his goodie bag.

Many of the elderly folk expressed deep appreciation for the fun-filled night. A lady of Muslim faith said that “Allah is all the same God,” and thanked the church for the invitation, a night she said they would always cherish in their hearts.

Sister Kunz and her husband from the U.S. who attend Toa Payoh ward shared her thoughts about her experience, “This is one of the most beautiful Christmas experiences of my life.” She said it was quite different from what she experienced back home. 

President Thomas S. Monson in one of his Christmas messages wrote: “…when we find Him, will we be prepared as were the wise men of old to provide gifts from our many treasures? They presented gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These are not the gifts Jesus asks of us. From the treasure of our hearts Jesus asks that we give of ourselves.”

By Rosemary Chai