The Labourers are Few

Ervin TanFeature

Sharon (2nd from right) with Archbishop William Goh and the some members of the Catholic200SG Festival Organising Committee. Photo: VITA Images

The Labourers are Few

Sharon Lim, who had been working in the F&B industry since graduation, wanted to explore fresh options and expand her horizons. Learn how an encounter with Jesus led her to steward her gifts and serve His Church through the Catholic200SG celebrations.

Like many other cradle Catholics, I grew distant from the Church after my Confirmation. Then in 2019, my parents and a family friend encouraged me to attend the Conversion Experience Retreat (CER) at the Catholic Spirituality Centre (CSC). At CER, I reconnected with God in ways I had never imagined, and felt an immense peace as I recognised His hand moving in my life. I saw how He was faithful to me even when I was not, and how He has been taking care of me every step of the way. Through thelens of faith, I saw that my sufferingsand the challenges I had were for a bigger purpose, and I was filled with deep gratitude to Jesus for the life He has given me.

Called to the vineyard

I had been working in the F&B industry for more than five years after graduating from university, and had wanted to leave my job then as I felt it was time to move on from the industry. Because it was at the start of the Covid-19 Circuit Breaker period, I was initially apprehensive about leaving for fear of not being able to find another job to sustain my family’s
living expenses, as nobody knew how long the Circuit Breaker would last. Trusting that the Lord would provide, I left the job nonetheless, not knowing what would happen next. But in God’s perfect timing, my mum received a message from a friend she had met at CER that a Catholic organisation was looking to hire an event coordinator for Catholic200SG. The timing was so perfect, as coming from CER I had a deep desire to serve the Church, and I knew this had to be God’s hand at work. I eventually got the job and began my new role in June 2020.

Challenges in service

The biggest challenge for me was simply the amount of work. It felt like for every task completed, five new ones would appear! I was so stressed at one point that being on leave made me even more stressed, because my phone would be constantly ringing, my emails would be piling up, and I knew there would be a mountain of work awaiting me. In desperation I prayed, telling Jesus that I wanted to do His work, that I did not wish to give up halfway, but I was burning out and needed help. In His providence, He heard me and sent more help than I could have imagined. Volunteers from different parishes and ministries started collaborating, and more tasks could be delegated and organised. Having all these volunteers did not make my job any less important, but witnessing the love they had for God and His Church really kept me going. These people were sacrificing their free time to help, and most of them had full-time jobs. I was the only one who was paid to do this, so it was only right that I gave all that I could.

Fruits of labour

As someone involved since the early stages of planning Catholic200SG, I knew that it was only through the grace of God that Catholic200SG was successful. To me it was truly a testament of God’s hand at work. When I joined, there were less than 20 people in the committee to oversee the Catholic200SG celebrations throughout the year. The Festival alone featured more than 100 events and activities running across three venues concurrently, and there were more than 1,600 volunteers. To me this
was a miracle that only God could perform. Human hands alone could not have achieved this. It was particularly fruitful for me to serve in Catholic200SG, as I have now learned to be more dependent on Jesus. From working with so many different groups and people, and with the events I had to organise, I learnt a lot more about my faith, and developed within me a deep sense of gratitude for the Church. I also started to pray more, and somehow, I am now able to discern better between my own voice and God’s voice.

My prayer for the Church

Being involved in an event at the Archdiocese level, what was particularly striking to me was that truly “the harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few” (Matthew 9:37). While we have 360,000 Catholics in Singapore, it seems that the same people are always volunteering and giving. We need to realise how blessed we are as Catholics. We need to bring back our brothers and sisters who
have lost their love for the Church by being instruments for others to experience Jesus’ love and share the great things Jesus has done for us. I pray that even though Catholic200SG has ended, we will all continue to ignite and shine with faith. If we see a need in the Church that is not fulfilled, let us be good stewards and take action to fill that need.

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