Hugh Yii. Interviewed by Tan Lay Leng.
“Until you have journeyed with Him, you don’t really know Him,” Hugh shared, “what you have is ‘textbook knowledge’. But when we learn to taste and see Him, His word comes alive.”
And what a journey with God it has been for Hugh. He recounted how shaken he was over the loss of two beloved fellow soldiers, one to cancer and another an unexpected death during a day surgery. But Hugh would also tell you the all-wise God has been walking faithfully with him on his kingdom assignment all the way.
As the chairman of the Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) Oldham Hall Management Committee for six years now, Hugh confessed that he did not want ‘a position’ to begin with. He was happy befriending the boarding students and building relationships with them. When asked to make a ‘quick decision’ due to a sudden medical condition of the former chairman, Hugh sought the Lord. As a matter of fact, throughout his sharing, Hugh never failed to reveal his heart to always seek God in order to walk in step with Him. In response, God is delighted to reveal His heart to him. God had at that time spoken to his wife that he was to step up ‘for such a time as this’, to serve Him in that capacity.
Looking back, Hugh could only marvel at how God had led him to Oldham Hall for such a time as this. It all began 13 years ago when God kept getting his attention on international students.
“Everywhere I turned, someone would be telling me about the international students,” Hugh said, “and in those days, international students definitely did not garner as much attention as they do now.” While recognising that God might be saying something, Hugh had no clue what God was up to. Hugh did what he would always do. He prayed, surrendered his heart to God and waited for God to lead. At a men’s retreat, he confided in his good friend Peter about not knowing what God could be saying about the international students. Peter’s reply then was, “Go serve in ACS Oldham Hall.” An alumnus of ACS, Hugh took the advice. That step of faith would see Hugh serving God at Oldham Hall since 2007, offering warm hospitality and taking care of the new international students.
Hugh himself had spent his university days as an international student in America. He had trekked the paths of loneliness, missing home and adjustments. So when Hugh and his wife were asked to befriend six teenagers from China, they could empathise easily and they built the friendships quickly. Five of them became Christians, who in turn brought two more to Christ. Hugh’s face beamed with joy when he concluded, “They are walking with Christ till this day. It is entirely Him, not us.”
One time, during a church service, God was at work again. He put in Hugh a huge burden for needy students in Singapore. No stranger to how God would sometimes speak, Hugh committed the burden to much prayer. He also began to rally his team at ACS Oldham Hall to pray and he spoke to different ones. God showed up. Oldham Hall received a call asking if they would take in a girl in her teens whose father had a severe stroke and whose mother had died of a heart attack. Hugh knew it was the hand of God moving. As he took the step of obedience, the vision became clearer. Oldham Hall was to provide shelter for kids of the incarcerated, abused kids and orphans. These kids could potentially have been sent to homes where the environment may not be as upbuilding. Beyond international students, Hugh was seeing how God has held his hand to impact the next generation, one step at a time.
One word of encouragement for his readers? God is waiting to walk with us. Unless and until we move on our kingdom assignments, we can preach how God uses Scriptures to meet our moments, but we will never really meet God. To reach the end point of our journey with God, He must be in the journey. Rather than asking God to come with us, we should be posturing our heart thus: When God says come, we go. With Him. And when we are held back, those are prayer moments when we rely on Him. Because to Him belongs all glory.
Do you recall the times when you have acted on the Lord’s instructions? How did your obedience enable you to experience God’s power?
Henson writes in Alignment Check, “If you believe the Lord has given you an assignment, then just obey. Take the next step and see how He comes through for you. You can only experience something when you finally experience it…In your personal times of worship, reading the Word, prayer and fasting, God will reveal His power to you. Don’t stop there, for He desires to reveal His power through you. And that happens when you step out in obedience., when you begin to move on your kingdom assignment.”
Hugh has realised early in life his is far different from most people’s. An engineer who started an event marketing agency, he had lived through a gun shootout in Los Angeles where the gunman was shot dead one metre away. He connects naturally with the next generation and he knows that God created him unique to accomplish His purposes. Hugh sees himself as pastor, educationist and hotelier in his role as Chairman of ACS Oldham Hall. He acknowledges that all he has accomplished is by the grace of God, the support of his wife, Yinn, his daughter, Gayle and the entire kampong at Oldham Hall.