I have always wondered if I could meet a true person of peace in a cosmopolitan city like ours where most of us live private lives behind closed doors. In November 2018, I was planning to meet a few other friends to prayer walk within a neighbourhood, in the central part of Singapore. What we didn’t expect, was walking into a community of neighbours of another faith gathered in a void deck. I noticed a lady sitting by herself on a bench, so I went over to chat with her.
From our brief conversation, I found out that Rita has many health issues and was worried about her husband, who was pending jail sentence for drug offences. I told her that I wasn’t sure how to help her, but I know God cares for her. So, I offered to say a prayer for her and she accepted. Immediately, I ticked my first box on my mental list for person of peace, she accepted my peace! Before we parted ways, she invited me to visit her at home and gave me her contact details. That led to a second tick on my list, persons of peace invite you to their homes.
One week later, I visited Rita at home. Rita’s community is a very low-income area and often children are left alone for long periods of time, so she also invited two boys from her neighbourhood to join us for lunch. Rita prepared a simple meal for us and we ate together in her cozy one room flat. A spiritual conversation was initiated by one of the boys when he noticed some religious writings on the wall. He asked me about my faith and who I follow. Shortly after, they left her home and I ended my visitation with a prayer for Rita.
I left my visit with Rita with three more ticks on my list – Rita is not only spiritually open, she is connected to her community and invites me to eat with her at home.
Subsequently, she invited me to go to her home again and also brought me to visit her neighbours, Naomi and Heidi. At Heidi’s home, four ladies were there, including Rita. At the end of the visit, I asked for permission to pray for all of them, they agreed and stood together with their hands raised. I prayed for them in the name of Jesus. I was truly amazed at what God was doing in the lives of these women. And Rita earned another tick on my list by introducing me to her community. Once, she even invited my husband and me to her grand niece’s birthday party. It was held along a three-room flat’s narrow corridor. We were introduced to many of their friends and relatives; we heard that a total of 150 people were invited that day!
Rita has been keeping in touch with me via video call, even asking if I can pray with her every day. She has shared about her struggles to pray on her own, the only prayers which she had learnt were the ritual ones. I sensed that she desires a personal relationship with God, so I started sharing stories with her from the holy book. Each time we met, I asked for permission to share a story. Once, I even had the opportunity to share a story together with her neighbour Naomi. So far Rita is responding well to the stories, often sharing reflections that encouraged my heart. When she heard the story of the Prophet Elijah and the poor widow, she even shared about learning to be patient during troubles and not give up praying and trusting God!
Rita is not a follower of Jesus yet so I am praying that God will continue to work in her heart and help me to join him at work. Please pray along, if you can, for Rita to turn from a person of peace to a follower of Jesus Christ and a person of influence in her community!
Great example of thinking through who a person of peace is. May more of us look this lense.