Jinjang, KL – 2 December – The children (and parents) of Jinjang Utara with great delight descended upon Padang Taman Aman Putra where a massive Christmas and Back-to-school party was organised especially for them. Anticipation filled the sunny blue sky, as the children knew their hosts would not disappoint, but supply above and beyond their expectations.
Indeed their hosts (Acts Global Networking & Church of Acts, Fadason) have been serving these families for awhile now. This Christmas party is but a milestone to the team led by Ps. Jonathan and Mary Ambalagan who started their sidewalk ministry here in late 2000. ‘Bringing Hope’ is aptly the theme of this year’s party, exactly what they have been doing throughout the years.
Over a dozen canopies have been erected on this football field to shelter the many invited guests who are personally known. Platoons of helpers dressed in dark blue— a royal colour in biblical times, for they are indeed royal— register and usher the guests to the party.
The party starts as Ps. Mary welcomes the children and their parents. And as with any gathering with hundreds of children, there is noise…Oh, the noisy gleeful exuberance and the bane of any instructor of children. She starts with the house rules: 1) Care for your neighbour and don’t be a space invader; 2) Let’s work together and be a winner; and my favourite —3) Whistle means quiet! Something tells me this isn’t Mary’s first rodeo.
The notable VIPs were welcomed, namely the children. Boys on the left and girls on the right. They kick things off with a song: ‘Yendhan Yesuve!’. The children are familiar with this song and with the emcees on stage dance the song together with the children.
Come the time for games, “Preet…! means quiet.” Let’s ask for volunteers, 1, 2, 3… fifty hands come up synchronously. How do you pick the volunteer? Yet the hosts here are very familiar to these children and they do it without starting a riot. The games have the older children trying to catch some stone with whipped cream on their heads. The children are a good sport and take it in their stride.
The volunteers in dark blue mostly consist of volunteers from AGN and Church of Acts, Fadason. Ms. Chong Weng Lian, from HELP Academy, Bukit Damansara, was present as a volunteer. She pointed out a boy who seems to have the street cred to keep the younger ones from getting over-excited. He was among two students from the Jinjang Utara community, who were given full scholarships to study the HELP Diploma in IT and Diploma in Early Childhood Education, respectively. The boy, Aaron will be graduating early 2018, while the girl, Sharon Sujatha, is expected to graduate in 2019.
They are among the group of volunteers who accompany the children from Jinjang Utara Rumah Panjang, to HELP University in Jalan Dungun, Bukit Damansara, for their weekly tuition classes in Maths and English on Saturday afternoon from 2-5pm. This is part of the Literacy and Numeracy Programme organized jointly by AGN and HELP University for the children of this community. Ms. Chong says the English Literacy children have completed the Jolly Phonics programme and is now taking Level 1-3 Grammar classes and she’s very proud of her attendees who show progress despite their circumstances.
The games end with each winner getting a gift and a smile on their faces. Following that is a presentation of songs and dances by the children themselves. Next up is — Uncle Alan the Sleight of hand magician! Why do children love magic tricks? Perhaps it challenges what we see with our eyes, and do not see. With disappearing and reappearing balls. One ball goes in three come out, and so on. Uncle Alan weaved into his act some of the good news that God loves me, even though I have sin, and because Jesus died for me, and I am able to decide to live for God, all with the tone of a wise and sagely uncle.
Pastor Jonathan came up to share the Christmas story and the good news in Tamil. Most kids respond to his message, with the same enthusiasm they had for the games. We know that whom he calls, will come, so here too they respond to the person that has ministered to them for over 17 years. The blessed draw follows and as each winner is called by name, each child walks up and walks away with a hamper larger than the recipient.
As the end of the party draws near, the sun starts to get really hot, and everybody takes shelter under the canopies. The lunches from McDonald’s and Marrybrown are given out to the children and the parents by the hosts.
As the children are dismissed, they are herded into orderly lines to receive their Christmas presents of school bags, stationery, mugs, and other gifts, all offered joyfully by generous joyful donors. Rev. Raymond Mooi said the reason for today is because they still have so much more to give (apart from the physical blessings), that in Malaysia the context of an occasion is needed, and what better occasion than Christmas. He adds that their work actually goes on throughout the year, and he appreciates the practical power of education going a long way in helping people’s futures. He wonders how the years have passed since their first contact at Jinjang.
The scene here perhaps suggests to me how it may have looked (albeit a smaller scale) when Jesus fed the 5,000 and the 4,000 — playing the role of the disciples who presented the five loaves and two fish; and the seven loaves, are the hosts and donors from SC Land, Asia Core Sdn Bhd, Spritzer, Church of Acts & Acts Global Networking — and doing the miracle: the Spirit of God who multiplies their physical gifts to the recipients who one day may reap an even more precious spiritual and eternal gift.
The ‘Bringing Hope’ Christmas and Back-to-school Party 2017 is a seed sown, that reflects the glory of God in His disciples, among the countless other seeds sown throughout the years and beyond. If you ever want to participate in bringing hope to Jinjang Utara, please please call Ms Mary Ramamoothy at 016-367 2568, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NOTE: All photos kindly provided by Acts Global Networking.