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The Marina Bay Sands Hotel rises behind the "Supertrees" in the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.

Road notes: A Lord’s army — but no snowmen — in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE — “Do you wanna build a snowman?”

I’m anything but “Frozen” as I hear that tune, played as part of a holiday display at the incredible Gardens by the Bay on this island in Southeast Asia. The temperature is in the 80s, i’m in short sleeves and dripping sweat.

“Supertrees” in the Gardens By the Bay. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

Above me, lights dance among the “Supertrees” — giant, vertical, solar-powered gardens. They’re quite impressive to behold.

There’s a lot to be impressed with here in Singapore, a city-state sandwiched between the nations of Malaysia and Indonesia. I’m here reporting on the work of Christians in the region — including members of the Pasir Panjang Church of Christ. They have been my gracious host for the past few days. 

This is a sending church for Asia — led by five elders and eight deacons with hearts for mission. They support work in multiple nations throughout the region, focusing on partnership rather than direct oversight. 

The church, in the midst of its “Golden Jubilee” 50th anniversary, also hosts a ministry training program through its affiliation with Sunset International Bible Institute in Lubbock, Texas. It’s great to see a familiar face among the students — Genesis Jumao-as from the island of Cebu in the Philippines. I met him and his family back in 2013 when I visited Cebu. (His mom, Marilyn, spoke with me for a story from that trip: “Goats, fish and hope in the Philippines.”)

Opening chapel at the SIBI school hosted by the Pasir Panjang Church of Christ in Singapore. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)

I also took a quick trip south, by ferry, to the island of Batam in Indonesia, where I visited another ministry training school associated with Sunset — the Batam Bible College. The college has produced graduates who have planted congregations across Indonesia — a nation comprised of thousands of islands and more than 250 million souls. 

I worshiped with the Batam Church of Christ during my visit and, in the children’s class, got to hear the Indonesian version of “I’m in the Lord’s Army.” 

I’ll take that over snowmen any day.

A boy prays during Bible class at the Batam Church of Christ in Indonesia. (PHOTO BY ERIK TRYGGESTAD)


Filed under: From The East News Extras Travel Reports

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