by Tan Lay Leng
I kept getting goosebumps while I was listening to her story. Angeline’s step of faith with God to raise a ground-up initiative Reading Roots is nothing short of encouraging!
The Seed Was Planted
A mother of two, Angeline was at her child’s primary one orientation. Parents were presented a holistic assessment card for their kid. The long list of achievements expected of the kid nearly threw Angeline off. Even as she was feeling overwhelmed, very quickly another thought came: If I feel overwhelmed by all the preparation needed to get my child ready for school, what about those parents with no education background? How will they train their child to read? What help will their kid receive? There God planted a seed of compassion in Angeline. It was God’s heart for the low-income families.
The Seed Grew
God set up the seed to grow. At that time, Angeline’s senior pastor, Ps Rhordon preached through the book of Nehemiah, calling the church to a time of prayer and fasting. God used Nehemiah’s journey to speak to Angeline. The people of Israel were in distress because the city walls that would provide security and protection remained to be rebuilt. Nehemiah’s intercessory heart for his people arose, leading him to receive his kingdom assignment to rebuild the walls. God granted him favour with the pagan king who released the resources needed for the rebuilding. Angeline told her King that even if it meant helping just one kid, just one family in distress, and seeing the kid flourish, she would do it. God in turn proved to her how He would release the resources she needed to build a reading initiative, “Reading Roots” for kids between four years and six years of age.
Reading Roots Appeared
God nudged Angeline to start where she was. He said, “Just ask for help and resources, and I will bring them.” She began to share in her friends’ circle her burden to see kids from low-income families acquire literacy. She asked and she received.
Angeline contacted a friend, Michelle Yeo, one of the founders of ReadAble, a reading initiative running weekly reading and language arts classes for ages 2 to 15 using a phonics-based curriculum in a neighbourhood in the Chin Swee area. Michelle was based overseas so she connected Angeline to her co-founders, Amanda Chong and Jonathan Muk. This kingdom connection helped Angeline kickstart Reading Roots and fine-tune her vision along the way. A core team was quickly formed, comprising friends who are aligned to the vision. Prayers were poured into this assignment. Then God provided a pool of 20 volunteers through the network of a church friend. What about the kids? Where would they come from? The team did their ground research and discovered that there were different groups serving the MacPherson community, but none reaching out to pre-school kids. The team approached a staff at MacPherson Community Club with the Reading Roots vision. It was bought in and 11 kids were enlisted into the programme. The Lord is true to His promises.
Relationship is Key
Angeline believes that these kids are entitled to a quality reading programme so the training of volunteers is crucial. They are trained to teach such that kids love to learn. At the same time, parents’ engagement is also key. Here lie the challenges. Parents from low-income families generally may not have the financial means to send their kids to a pre-school. On top of that, since pre-school education is not mandatory in Singapore, these parents do not consider pre-school education as important. With no or little home support, establishing the reading habit in the kids becomes hard. Without the literacy skill, these kids struggle when they enter the rigorous primary education system. Having volunteered in a crisis shelter for six months journeying with two kids and their mothers, Angeline saw the value in building a strong relationship with the mothers. This provided the platform to offer them advice on educating their kids with basic discipline and cultivating a love for learning. God has prepared Angeline for her assignment. Building relationships becomes the foundation of this initiative to tackle the challenges. Moving forward, it is Angeline’s desire to see other reading initiatives mushroom, leveraging on each other’s network, for the kingdom of God.
What is one word of encouragement for her readers? While there are challenges when one moves on kingdom assignments, to move on kingdom assignments is not that difficult. Sometimes all it takes is to flow with the burden, that seed already planted in your heart. As you take the step to sow that seed into action, God will bring the kingdom connections and collaborations!
Are you waiting to discover and know your kingdom assignment? As a mother at home, Angeline faithfully teaches her two kids to read. Her time at the crisis shelter to teach kids to read enables her to impart her experience to her team of volunteers at Reading Roots. She is faithful in small things. And God moves her on kingdom assignments to impact the community for His glory. You can also start where you are. Biblical waiting is not passive expectation but active participation. Henson writes in his book Alignment Check, “You do not need a burning bush experience to begin where you are. If you are already serving in some capacity in your local community, that is a good place to start. If you are married or have children, your relationship or family are ready AOs for you to operate in. If you run a business or work in a corporation, the marketplace is a great platform for kingdom expressions. Begin to see these as kingdom assignments and sub-assignments that you will give account for when you meet the King. Be faithful in the small things.” Take the step. Watch God act on your behalf. When you do your part, He will more than do His part.
About Angeline Lim
Angeline has been serving in Full Gospel Assembly for the past 10 years, overseeing the arm of equipping the saints, mentoring disciples and coaching leaders. Having been in this community for nearly 20 years now, church is family to Angeline. They are key influencers who challenge her in her faith journey to be the person God made her to be. Angeline’s family is her pride and joy. She is married to Joshua who is her ‘partner-in-crime’ and confidante and they have two children, Kayla, eight years old and Ethan, five. As a couple, they mentor newly-married couples to build God-honouring marriages.
Reading Roots is a volunteer-run social service group that exists to help children aged 4 to 6 years old become effective readers of the English language.