Encountering Jesus Christ
The Gift of My Church (#TGOMC) is a series featuring how Catholics from different walks of life have been touched by God through their service or participation in the life of the Archdiocese of Singapore. In this personal testimony Sylvester Singh, 30, shares how he was converted at a confirmation retreat, and has decided to dedicate himself to serving the Catholic Church in Singapore. He currently works at the Office for the New Evangelisation (ONE) and belongs to acts29.
Sylvester Singh (bottom right) with with Rev Fr Terence, staff, and collaborators of ONE.
Photo: Sylvester Singh
I was baptised as an infant but grew up knowing very little about Jesus. Although I studied in both Catholic primary and secondary schools and attended catechism classes in the parish, I learnt very little about the Catholic faith because I lacked the interest and found it boring. In my teenage years, I struggled with an addiction, played truant from school, and as a result, did very badly in my studies.
Encountering God’s love
When I was 16, my life turned around at a confirmation retreat. At one of the retreat sessions, we were encouraged to write a love letter to God, our Father. As I reflected on my life, I broke down and could not stop crying. I realised that He loved me deeply, despite my sinfulness. The realisation and encounter with God was the beginning of my healing and liberation.
My catechist, noticing my tears, brought me out of the room and ministered to me. I shared with her what I had experienced during the session and my life’s struggles. She explained to me that “What you are looking for is peace and freedom. You have tried everything else in the world and it didn’t work. I have a suggestion for you – your solution is Jesus!”
Choosing Jesus and his way
Following my encounter of God’s love and encouraged by my catechist, I decided to choose Jesus as the King of my life from then on. I resolved that Jesus is the one whom I will follow and give my life to. As a result, I responded to an invitation to embrace His ways of living and live a life of praise and thanksgiving.
Having encountered God, our Father in a powerful way, I have come to realise the urgency of the new evangelisation. I am now eager to bring Jesus to others.
This led me to join acts29, a faith community involved in the overseas mission, where I spent much of my formative years learning to live simply, in solidarity with the poor, and carry out the mission of Christ.
In my years of formation as a teenager, I was taught how to pray the Sacred Scriptures, discern my Christian vocation, and forge meaningful relationships with members of my community who provided me with support in my faith journey.
Part of my transformation involved my giving up of old bad habits and cutting off from friends who were of bad influence on me. Eventually, by the grace of God our Father, I am now able to lead a life that is more meaningful, purposeful, and Christ – centred.
Deepening my understanding
As my faith continued to grow, so did my desire to be more Christ-like. To complement my spiritual growth, I was encouraged to learn more about the teachings of the Catholic Church. So, I enrolled as a student in the Catholic Theological Institute of Singapore (CTIS) to broaden my understanding of the faith that I now cherish. This has boosted my confidence to proclaim the Gospel to others, in a way that is credible and more easily understood.
My way of evangelisation
Encouraged by my personal conversion experience and after much prayer and discernment, I decided to resign from my job in the arts and entertainment industry to work for God in the Archdiocese. Through my current service at ONE, I hope that others too may come to experience the love of God, our Father and have their lives transformed by Jesus. My prayer and hope is that my sharing will inspire you to avail yourselves of the various programmes and resources provided by ONE so that you too may find the courage to reach out to others and bring Jesus to them.