Pauline Phoon. Interviewed by Tan Lay Leng.
Intrigued by what she does, I asked Pauline, “So how did God lead you to this assignment?”
Pauline smiled widely and replied, “It just happened. I would often find myself in the midst of it all, right at the edge of something happening. God would fling wide the doors and I would somehow be connected with the right people and find favour with them.”
She went on to say it has been like that in her adventure of faith with God. As we chatted on, it became very distinct to me that Pauline is an Archippus whom God is delighted to assign to be part of what He is doing in the last days, as she is so eager to be aligned with His kingdom purposes. She put it this way, “I keep my eyes on the Lord and somehow the kingdom assignment will come.”
Pauline is no gamer and had zero knowledge of gaming when she first began but today, she grows a community of gamers; the youths and young adults. The learning curve had been steep, to say the least. There had been countless times when she would eat the humble pie and say, “I don’t know how to do this.”
She recalled those days when she painfully ploughed through research papers after papers in order to understand gaming and the gamers. This was over and above all the planning she is involved in, as she directs a team at SOOS OIO LLP, a social enterprise that develops youths holistically. Knowing that she could relate her experiences working with the youths to some of the research findings, hence better connect with them, motivated Pauline. Having a heart for youths, Pauline is mindful that she remains empathetic to the gamers even as she studies their behaviour.
In this marshland of gaming, Pauline clings onto and depends on God wholeheartedly. Instead of being anxious when there is sometimes no clarity in directions, Pauline always asks God to guide.
“I would tell Him it is His thing, not mine,” shared Pauline, “and He would often bring to mind a person or an organisation I could contact.”
One time, while planning for a gaming festival, Pauline felt the Lord say to contact a brother-in-Christ. Before she could do it, his wife called for a social gathering and when Pauline shared her heart about the festival, she found out that God had already aligned their hearts to hers. As a result, they were able to take the festival to a bigger scale. Pauline recognises quickly that God knows how He wants to do it. It can be tempting to look at our limited resources when God’s kingdom is often bigger than what we have.
Pauline also testified that when there is a willingness to obey even when we do not understand, God rewards our obedience. Today, besides witnessing gamers coming back to the Lord, she is often heartened by how God transforms the gamers’ behaviour. At the TeleTrip (a gaming event held locally and overseas where gamers are ‘teleported’), a youth who was socially awkward was the last person left standing during the self-introduction, too scared to speak up. This youth also battled with rage issues, so one could imagine the interpersonal challenges during the interaction with others. By the end of the TeleTrip, the youth was a totally different person, evidenced by the countenance change as well as the easing into social contexts. To Pauline’s joy, this youth even expressed a keenness to return for further trips. It is certainly upon Pauline’s heart to see youths TeleTrip back into positive social interactions with others, so as to build healthier emotional well-being and eventually wholeness.
In fact, COMEBACK is an intervention offered by SOOS OIO LLP as a therapy for game dependency. Pauline shared that it can be emotionally heartbreaking to see youths misunderstood by adults as well as having needs unmet by them. The lack of understanding and communications between the different generations often drives the youths into a social isolation, spiraling further into greater isolation in the virtual world. Praise God for putting His warriors like Pauline and her team who bring kingdom influence into this arena as they journey with and mentor the youths and their families.
The kingdom of God continues to advance in the different areas of operations He has placed His warriors. Are you game enough to accept His invitation to be part of what God is doing? As He awakens, would you align? If so…
Focus on the aligning. Let God do the assigning.
SOOS OIO LLP is a social enterprise that develops youth holistically through communities in our fast-evolving world. While SOOS OIO is gaining momentum in building communities among the gamers, the need for a deeper programme for youths who have lost life balance in games became apparent. Deeply concerned about this rising trend, COMEBACK is conceptualised with the support of friends and partners, including gamers who caught her heart and passion. Pauline worships at Kingdom Culture.