My national service (NS) days were really memorable because it was a period where God’s favour filled my life.
Unlike most Singaporean sons, I was PES C9L9 – a designation which meant I wouldn’t be facing intense physical exertion. I enlisted into the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
During my passing out parade (POP) – the day we got posted out from Basic Military Training into different vocations – I remember praying to God for a vocation related to info-communications. I was a mass communications student, and I wanted to build my portfolio in my two years of service. I figured that if I were sent to an info-comm vocation, that would have given me a chance to join SCDF’s media team.
However, to my dismay, they decided I would become a clerk. I was disappointed and resigned to my fate. After all, we don’t always get what we want in life.
But the Lord was not done.
At the end of my clerical training, a group of well-dressed men entered our classroom.
They listed the kind of experience and skills that they were interested in. One of these happened to be “communications and media experience”. I didn’t even know what this was for, but I volunteered myself anyway. It turned out these guys were fellow full-time national servicemen who were working with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
To cut the long story short, after five weeks in basic training, I managed to spend the rest of my service in MHA’s Communications Department where I worked on videos and photos.
Looking back, it could have only happened by God’s grace. Many things had to be orchestrated for me to receive the opportunity I had. I had to be in SCDF, PES C9L9,and there had to be a vacancy – only one SCDF NSF is taken in every two years – for someone with the right experience.
The fact that God opened this door for me, and not my own merit or strength, was proof to me that He knows what is best for us.
It’s been four years since my Operationally Ready Date. Since this marvellous opportunity in NS, God has opened even more doors in my life to bless me and the people around me.
In fact, it was the communications experience in NS that helped me land my current job. Today I get to serve underrepresented communities such as people with special needs, elderly in rental units and children from disadvantaged backgrounds – all while earning a substantial salary! This has been a great chapter in my journey, but even as I’m writing this, I’m also getting ready to step into my calling to enter Bible school and ministry.
My time in NS has strengthened my faith to trust in God wholeheartedly. It was there that I learnt what it meant to surrender to His call and will.
To all Singaporean sons, regardless of your vocation, know that you are not there by accident. And who knows? Perhaps God has placed you there for such a time as this.