How God opened doors for Cheryl and family to open theirs
From the Bible, the call to serve rings loud and clear. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have — Jesus Himself served and calls us to serve (Luke 22:25-27).
But what comes to your mind when you think of serving? Is it “tiring”, “inconvenient”, or “difficult”? Or is it “fulfilling”, “encouraging” and “blessing”?
Well, the answer is all of the above, as Cheryl Yeo found out in her B.L.E.S.S. experience.
OPENING THE DOOR
With two of her own children and a full-time job as an entrepreneur, one can imagine that Cheryl’s hands (and four-room HDB home) would be full. But when the call from the church came to house a homeless young mother and her toddler for two weeks, Cheryl didn’t hesitate.
“The notice came just one day in advance,” she said, “so I quickly converted my personal small office into a bedroom.”
Things moved quickly, and the young mother and her toddler moved into Cheryl’s place on 25th March 2021. For Cheryl, it was a new upheaval — having to make special arrangements, preparing the home, and even preparing her kids in advance. It was a real family effort.
But for the 23-year-old young mother, this was almost nothing new. In fact, she had been moving from place to place over the last five days, unable to find a safe home for herself and her child.
“The little girl was about one and a half years old and she was quite visibly shaken,” Cheryl recalls, “and (my home) was another new environment, so she was crying a lot.”
Cheryl and family did their best to be welcoming and good hosts, not just providing shelter, but also a sense of safety and security for their guests. Her children, aged five and seven, even had lots of playtime with the toddler.
But the picture isn’t always rosy. As a host, there were times when Cheryl found herself facing unexpected challenges.
The cultural difference, for one, was especially jarring.
“It was a learning curve for all of us,” Cheryl says. For example, their guests’ practice of cleaning up was very different.
“After a long day of very stressful work,” she shares candidly, “you can walk out and step on a clump of rice or crumbs (on the floor). Sometimes, the little girl will get a cracker and walk all around the house. With my kids, I can tell them to sit down, but in this case, I don’t have the authority to do that.”
“With my husband, we just have to spend time at night wiping the crumbs off the floor,” she says, “It was humbling.”
WHERE GOD GUIDES, HE PROVIDES
The two weeks of hosting was not always smooth sailing, but it reminded Cheryl of God’s love. “For this, it is just inconveniencing us to clean up the floor, but we can’t ever match up to His love — love that brought Him all the way to the cross,” she says.
And Cheryl made an effort to share that love with her guest, who grew up in a Methodist children’s home. “I dropped a few things here and there, like to tell her this is God’s love, and to trust in God,” she recalls.
That sowed the seeds, and on the last day of her stay, together with CEFC staff who visited the family, the guest prayed the sinner’s prayer to rededicate her life to God.
“In that moment, I thought it was all worth it,” Cheryl shares, “When it’s just this little thing we can do for God’s Kingdom, we should.”
In fact, our little is more than enough for God to work with. It seems that all we need is a willing heart to serve, and God will do the rest.
For Cheryl, it may have felt “little” at first. “I’m generally quite hospitable,” she says, “so (having a guest over) is still quite in our comfort zone.” She was even willing to use her gift and her spare room to foster a child — a plan she looked into, but was eventually thwarted by Circuit Breaker last year.
But God never makes any mistakes! He took her willing heart and provided a golden opportunity to not only bring someone to Himself, but also to encourage Cheryl and her family by building their capacity as hosts, and teaching them how to love intentionally.
“We think we are blessing someone, but we are equally blessed,” she says. “We are partnering with God in our small little ways, and our capacity is never wasted.”