God’s Own Timing
by Pastor John Khng
Praise the Lord that Mount Calvary Baptist Church finally owns the double-storey terrace house at No. 3 Lorong 25A Geylang, Singapore 388219. Our initial budget for a church building was $500,000 which could only buy an office space with a 99 year lease. We increased our budget to $700,000 after realising that the budget set was far too low. We prayed and scouted around for a suitable piece of property knowing that it would take a miracle from God to find a suitable place for our church in land scarce Singapore with a tightly controlled zoning law. These twin difficulties of cost and getting a change of use for a property to be used as a place of worship, have caused some preachers to give up the idea of planting any new church in our country.
It was a Saturday morning when I drove the church bus with Joshua and Anna tagging along to see this place at Geylang which was advertised in the newspaper as being “best for association and institute” and at a negotiable price of $1.16 million. Just next to this advertisement was another, which said that their place is suitable for association or church, but the asking price was $1.35 million and it was just on the next road, Lorong 25. Comparing the two double storey houses, it was evident that No. 3 Lorong 25A is more suitable for us both in price and location.
We thank the Lord for helping us to pool all the funds together for the building. It has not been easy, as the church is only a few years old and there are only 25 working members with just as many as to support.
Besides the $800,000 loan from the Overseas Union Trust at 7% interest (monthly instalment – S$5,721.00), three families in our church forked out a total of S$100,000 interest-free loan and together with the giving of our members as well as some friends, we raised the amount to slightly over the S$1.07 million mark. This price that we paid for a double storey terrace with a land area of approximately 1,200 square feet and a built-in area of approximately 2,000 square feet is considered a very good buy, as the land is in fee simple meaning, it is a freehold property. The extra money that we raised is just about sufficient to cover the renovation costs too. The contractors whom we engaged gave us the best possible deal they could ever give with our very tight budget. The whole flooring has to be knocked up and retiled, part of a wall to be knocked down and sliding doors installed. Two restrooms and one bathroom have to be completely renovated, new roofing and flooring for the upstairs balcony, 7 air-conditioners (total of 95,000 btu/hr) were installed, the whole place was re-wired, and other nitty-gritty came up to about S$50,000. Those who know the cost of renovating a house will agree that this price is very low indeed. Praise the Lord.
On New Year Day, Jan 1st, it was “moving” day for us. Almost all the men in our church together with a few rugged young ladies turned out to move all our stuff from the tuition centre which we were renting to our new premises. On Jan 4th, a few of us worked till over midnight to get the place ready. By the grace of God, we held the first service on 5th January 1997 even though the place was not quite ready as there were some delays in our renovation works due to the frequent showers and some additional jobs being carried out. Almost the whole church came for the first service together with a few visitors. It was an exciting occasion as we rejoiced in the goodness of God. The Church Building Dedication Service was held on 22nd March 1997. Our special speaker for this thanksgiving service was Reverend Dr. Peter Ng of Jesus Saves Mission. Praise the Lord for the good attendance. Among the eighty people who came, there was a large number of visitors. One of the visitors felt led of the Lord to give S$500.00 towards the purchase of hymn books. This anonymous giver deposited an envelope containing the money in cash together with a letter of intent into our letter box the next Sunday morning.
One of the many conditions which we imposed on ourselves earlier on when we looked for a place was that it should not be in Geylang, if it is at all possible. Why then do we buy this place in Geylang. We have been looking at places in Bukit Timah (bungalows with 70 years lease left), Choa Chu Kang (Civil Defence shelter), Hougang (Chinese temple), Serangoon (office in terrace house), Lavender (garment factory) and Aljunied (vacant unit at 61-B near the MRT station). The Lord seemed to be directing us to place near Aljunied MRT stations with many possibilities surfacing up one after another. There was advertisement for sale of another unit (with 6 rooms fully air-conditioned) across 61-B, advertisement of a unit in Guilin Association Building, advertisement of double storey terrace houses for sale, one in Lorong 25 and the other in Lorong 25A. The second reason for purchasing this place at Geylang is that this area is zoned for institutional use. There are very few such areas in Singapore. We have tried buying one other place before, and our application was rejected. Another reason is that the place is within walking distance from the Aljunied MRT station which means it would be very convenient for those who are using public transport. The fourth reason is that the place is a freehold property and the size of the building meets our present need.
I didn’t realise how big a step of faith we have taken until Dr. Bob Jones III whom we were having dinner with on the evening of June 26th mentioned that he thought that no church in America with a congregation of 50 will dare take up a loan of S$800,000 for a church building. We would like to praise the Lord for the faithful support of God’s people in Mount Calvary Baptist Church. Your regular attendance, faithful giving and fervent love in serving the Lord has made it possible for the purchase of our church building.
(Church Anniversary Magazine 3)
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
|Mount Calvary Baptist Church (Singapore)||