2020 was an absolute whirlwind of a year.
We’ve honestly barely had a moment to catch our breath as a team, but we thought it was still important that we look back as a team on all the stories we’ve worked on that have impacted us this year.
So whether it’s an article or a video, we hope the stories we’ve told this year have blessed you as much as they’ve blessed us!
CHRISTINA WONG: MAMA XUE
I first saw this story going around on WeChat in the thick of the outbreak in China. Probably for the first time ever, someone’s testimony was going viral on the highly-regulated social media platform!
I thought to myself, how much more powerful would it be if this story was translated and amplified to the global audience?
So I reached out to my media contacts in China and asked if we could republish the story of Mama Xue on our site in English.
It was a painful story to tell – a grandma who’d only wanted to reunite with her children for Chinese New Year ended up dying from COVID-19. But in the midst of tragedy, God opened a window of grace for her to come to know Him.
Many people commented that Mama Xue’s story moved them deeply and they felt stirred to pray for China. It was encouraging to see people from nations rising up and coming together (virtually) like never before to pray for China.
GABRIEL ONG: GRADES DON’T DEFINE YOUR FUTURE
I think the article that’s impacted me the most this year has to be this one. I certainly had so much fun writing it!
There are a lot of
shameful hilarious snippets in there at my expense. I’ve found that I care less and less about what others think the older I get. I hope that’s a good thing.
But anyway, on a deeper level, as I took a look back on my schooling years, I saw God’s sovereign hand over my life once more. I suppose it’s a good exercise, tracing the hand of God in our lives every now and then.
That’s something that certainly provides a lot of food for thought as well as fuel for faith. I mean, those were memories of me from nearly 20 years ago! It makes me wonder where I’ll be in another 20.
Hopefully somewhere like here, somewhere positive, tracing God’s good hand over my life yet again.
NICOLE CHAN: BRIDGE BOY
I’m thankful for the opportunity to work on this project although it initially seemed daunting because of its scale and the amount of things to do in three months. Here’s some of the things we had to look at:
- Pre-production (where we figure out the graphic style of the animation, color scheme, character design and so on)
- Production (voice recording and animation)
- Post production (where everything is pieced together and the music and sound is added)
Thankfully, the team came through and managed to complete everything on time!
I was also glad that I was able to work on it because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
I remember it was during one of the first few cell group sessions as a new Christian, that my leader asked us what we wanted to do for God in this lifetime.
One of the things I replied with was to do an animation of His story. Fast forward years later, and I was able to work on this project.
God heard and honored that little statement all those years ago!
WONG SIQI: IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
Aside from it being one of the best shows I’ve watched this year, It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (IOTNBO) really struck a chord with me because I was actually going through a rough patch with my mum when I was writing the story.
But God used it to reconcile us in a miraculous way: my uncle’s colleague shared the article with him not knowing that it was his niece who wrote it!
Seeing that it was me who had written the article, my uncle then shared it with my mum who otherwise would not have come across the article.
And that led to an opportunity for us to iron things out. It was the strangest twist of events but it reminded me that God is indeed the Grand Weaver of our lives.
And He can use the work of our hands, meant to bless others, to minister to us too.
KIMBERLY TAN: OUR HOUSE, GOD’S MISSION
While Jo and Mel are my personal friends, I never knew their entire story until I had the privilege to interview them.
Honestly, I often found myself weirdly deflated by the radical efforts of the couple as I never felt like I could ever do what they do.
However, hearing the details of their journey from its small beginnings taught me something key: God is one who is big, mighty and powerfully at work through the hearts and hands of His children who are willing to learn obedience.
Hearing first hand Jo and Mel’s humble testimony led me to worship Him.
MARCUS CHOW: FELICIA CHIN’S CHRISTMAS STORY
What a way to end the year with our very last shoot in 2020!
We had a really tight schedule for this shoot and roughly two days to plan on where and what we could shoot with Felicia’s story.
I was pretty nervous because Felicia is a really busy person as a celebrity. But I knew that I just had to leave my creativity in the hands of God.
Thankfully, along with all the faith and knowledge shared with me through my peers in the industry this past year, we really pulled through with the shoot!
Though it was only two days of planning it was probably one of the best videos I shot this year.
Through the shoot and listening to Felicia’s story, I saw how God humbled Felicia’s heart as His child and healed her relationship with her mother.
And that really reminded me of how God healed and fixed my heart as a broken child when I was a new Christian. And I also recognised that God is still working in me today through the testimonies I shoot as well!
It is truly a blessing to be able to capture moments like this so that others can feel the love of God.
BRIDGET LEE: I COULDN’T SEE GOD BECAUSE OF THE IDOLS IN MY LIFE
I wrote about a personal issue in my life of dealing with idols. It was the first time that I had experienced what it was like to have them and to be honest – I still struggle with this every now and then.
I knew I was not the only girl of my age going through this. Some of my friends and classmates are struggling with similar things.
But God told me to be honest about this obsession as I was writing this article.
The biggest takeaway I had was that idols do not have to be people – they can be anything that takes my attention away from God. So I should always strive to focus on Him again.
JUSTINE OCAMPO: CAN GUYS AND GIRLS BE “JUST FRIENDS”?
I really enjoyed writing this piece because it’s an age-old question a lot of youths grapple with, and it’s nice to finally have some kind of answer for it.
But at the same time, knowing that it’s such a sensitive and widely talked-about topic, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I was writing with wisdom.
At the end of it all, I found myself learning even more about what it means to honour God through my friendships and how our hearts’ desires and postures are important to Him.
It was a challenge to share about my own struggle in maintaining God-honouring friendships with boys, but I’m grateful my experience can be used to help others.
I hope it’s something other young people can learn from. After all, a young Justine would definitely have appreciated an article like this ten years ago!
ANG WEI MING: JESUS, YOU HOLD ME
This project was probably the longest-running shoot ever, due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as different measures taking place that prolonged the shoot by almost half a year.
Thankfully, the momentum was not broken, and we successfully completed the shoot and did our very first narrative-style music video.
I was also deeply impacted by Shaun’s story of courage and faith that brought him through a difficult time of dealing with cancer, and I’m glad that I was involved in telling his story.
Well, that’s it from us – those were the stories we loved.
But how about you? Which stories were some of your favourites? Reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you about how you’ve been encouraged, edified, equipped or comforted by an article or a video that we’ve put out.
It’s why we do what we do. So to that end, with hearts full of thanks to God, we thank you also for coming on this journey with us through an unprecedented year.
To 2021 and beyond!
- What was your favourite story from Thir.st this year? We’d love to know!
- Now think of your life as an ongoing story. What do you think will happen in the next chapter?
- Pray and ask God to align your life to His will as you step into 2021.