Every able-bodied 18-year-old youth will have to undergo the rite of passage of 2-and-a-half years (now reduced to 2) of National Service in Singapore and I was no exception. I was enlisted In December 1981 after my A levels and I attended the MCF pre-NS event with others to prepare ourselves for the training. I remembered bringing along the Gideon small NT Bible and put it in my Number 4 uniform pocket during the training sessions and night duty and prayed that the Lord will preserve me and my Christian comrades from the bad influences of swearing and other unedifying behaviour in the camp.
After 3 months of Basic Military Training (BMT) In ITD, it was in Feb 1982 that I was posted to Officer Cadet School In Pasir Labar Camp where I would be for the next 4-and-a-half months before being posted again to the School of Signals (SOS) in the old Sembawang Camp. The training was tough but the Lord’ s grace was sufficient for us. I had a godly Christian course commander, who would meet some of the Christian cadets for prayer in one of the training rooms. After my commission as an officer by the grace of God as a 2nd Lieutenant, I was asked to remain behind as an instructor and platoon commander in SOS, training signals NCOs as they called them in those days.
I remembered one occasion where a Senior Commander (who loved to swear and drink alcohol and smoke) used the name of our Lord Jesus in vain during a meeting, and I was very troubled. I prayed to the Lord for wisdom on how to respond to that. Later at an appropriate occasion, I met up with him privately and said Sir,”I would appreciate it if you would kindly not use the name of Jesus Christ as an exclamation as this name is very precious to me. Thank you, Sir.“ He replied that he did not meant it to be disrespectful and he would try not to use it in this manner again. Thank God that I did not hear him using the name of our Lord in vain again. To God be the glory.
In the camp, we would organize prayer sessions when there was no night training. On one occasion, we invited the late Rev Alfred Yeo who spoke to a group of us in the camp, and the late Rev Dr. Patrick Tan as well who ministered the Word to encourage and exhort the soldiers in their witness and walk of faith. I was also greatly encouraged during times of fellowship with MCF pioneers till my Run Out Date or ORD (Operationally Ready Date) as it is called today.
As I reflect upon my days of training and Christian witness during our NS days, I praise and thank God for His sovereign guidance and the ministry of MCF which has invested in the lives of soldiers over these 5 decades. You never know what these soldiers will become one day, and some may end up serving the Lord as Pastors, Missionaries or Elders and Deacons of local churches one day as the Lord wills. Let us pray for MCF to continue ministering effectively in the SAF as the Lord leads us to the equipping of present and future soldiers for our country and for the eternal kingdom and the glory and honour of God. Let us heed the wise counsel of the Apostle Paul in Rom 12:11- 13 to be “not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”
Soli Deo Gloria!
By Rev Dr Jack Sin
Reproduced from MCF 50th Anniversary Commemorative Publication