This Christmas season, the Epiphany Mission group from the Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, together with parishioners from other churches went on mission trips to Indonesia’s Riau Islands to spread Christmas cheer.
On Dec 9, the mission group and members of other parishes spent time with students of the St Ignatius Loyola School, located on Rempang island southeast of Batam.
The 25-member group organised a Christmas celebration for the students including a lunch spread, a concert and the presentation of prizes and gifts.
The 160 Indonesian students were aged five to 13 years old. Parents of students were also invited. Other guests included a priest, the nuns and the school staff.
The Epiphany group has been conducting English language lessons for students of the school and another Indonesian school at Tanjong Pinang once a fortnight from March to October for the past few years.
Mr Tommy Ng, his wife and two teenage children, made 20 chocolate cakes in Singapore and brought the cakes to share with the students there. He also brought along two bags of soft toys and other items for the students.
The youngest in the group was Astrina who completed her PSLE this year. She went to Rempang for a second consecutive year to give out Christmas presents. Other members in the group were mostly teachers who went there regularly to teach English to the students.
During the concert, the Indonesian students sang Christmas songs in English and Bahasa Indonesia. Each class put on a performance for the audience and one class even played the angklung.
When lunch was served, the students were excited and happy because it was the first time Christmas lunch was prepared for them. Later, prizes were given to students who had produced the best Christmas drawings.
On Dec 15, another group of parishioners from the Epiphany Mission group and some parishioners from the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary went to Karimum island to give food items to about 100 poor families. The group spent five days on the island.
Ten students from Boys’ Town, led by a social worker and discipline master came along, too.
One set of food items comprised a sack of rice, a large packet of noodles, two bottles of sauce and two packets of cooking oil.
Students from Boys’ Town also helped to distribute food items to the other poor families and did chores for them.
Many parishioners from Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were first-timers. Kim was one of them. She said that distributing food items to the families was a good and meaningful experience because it gave her an insight into the living conditions of others.
Mr Anthony Yeo, another first-timer, said the night carolling was a nice experience for him. The families he visited were delighted with the carolling, and the food items given to them.
The Singapore group attended Mass at the St Joseph Church, and a donation of $1,000 was made on behalf of the group to the priest.
By Edwin Yeow