2008 – DTC 15th Anniversary

ARTICLES FROM THE SOUVENIR MAGAZINE

Recalling Fifteen years of DTC Ministry …..
by Lydia Wong, Chairperson, DTC Committee.

About fifteen and a half years ago the late Canon Butwan Manikam (Vicar of St. Paul’s, Church, Petaling Jaya then) officially appointed me to head and form a new committee to launch St. Paul’s Day Training Centre (DTC) for the Intellectually Challenged Young Adults and to oversee the running of the Centre. At first I felt inadequate and apprehensive of such a tall order. However, as I prayed to the Lord for his guidance and leading, the Holy Spirit prompted me to take up the challenge.
The DTC was to be in partnership with Malaysian Care (MC). MC representatives sat on the working committee for the launch. The DTC staff were seconded to St. Paul’s from Malaysian Care and accountable to St. Paul’s DTC Committee.
I praise and thank God for the very supportive and cooperative committee members right from the start, namely, Edward Cheah, Neil Rode, Arthur Gurubatham, John Arokiasamy, Flora Lazar and others. We had a good worker in Annam to start us off, after her training by Malaysian Care. As the DTC Ministry developed and expanded, we have more staff – for both DTC at Dewan St. Paul’s and Bethel Early Intervention Centre (EIC) at the premises of our daughter church, Bethel Centre, Puchong. Judy Kwa left a lucrative job to join DTC. Lim Yuw Han and Christine Samuel were pioneer teachers at EIC.
The staff, particularly Annam, and I have worked reasonably well together. We discussed, prayed and shared our thoughts. When we were unhappy/upset over a certain matter, we talked it over and prayed together.
My deepest appreciation goes to our very dedicated volunteers – those who gave so much of their time to work with our staff. Recalling their tireless teaching and befriending our trainees though the years of our ministry are Pakiam N. Sally Sinniah, Irene Khong, Julie Kong, Flora Lazar, Irene Tai, Kristine S. and Maureen Chand – just to name some, and not forgetting the earlier ones – Santha, Celine Vincent, Joyce Lee, Ruby G, Puan Sri Daniel and Mrs Kula.
I have had the joy of listening to encouraging stories from the staff and also the honour and privilege to be involved at ground level. For the past three years or so, I have been spending more time at Bethel EIC in helping out with group activities as well as teaching on a one-to-one basis. This gives me much joy and satisfaction in seeing the children improving and developing though at a slower pace than normal children. I had the opportunity to know and interact with the parents, to understand their needs and challenges, and to give them whatever support and encouragement I could.
Jesus has shown us the need to care for others. My heart desire is that those whom we serve will benefit much from our programs and God’s name be glorified. I also hope that more Christians would response to God’s calling to this caring ministry either fulltime or as volunteers.

May God continue to bless our ministry.

(Mrs. Lydia Wong served as the first Chairperson of St. Paul’s DTC Committee (from mid 1993 – mid 2010). She still is a volunteer at Bethel EIC.)

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Capture The Heart, Challenge The Mind  

By Annamaney Arumanayagam

“Teacher Annam, why did the thief  touch my body?  Is God angry with me?”   “When my father dies, will you look after me?”  These are some of the poignant  questions I have had to handle in the last 15 years.

In December, 1992, when I switched jobs to be trained to handle persons who are intellectually challenged, I never expected to be likewise challenged myself.  I thank God for the last 15 years during which my life has been enriched so much by some of the most beautiful souls in the world.

I have been with my trainees as they lost their parents; I have had the sorrow of losing some of our trainees too. 

But there have been great joys.  I have seen despair change to hope in the eyes of elderly parents as they see their son or daughter gaining independent living skills.  I have seen pride in families as they see their special family member achieve goals they never thought were achievable.  I am able to stand tall and proud as I see my trainees who did not have a hope before, now have a future and a hope.

Talking of independent travelling skills, when we started, my highest ambition was to help the trainees learn to use the public transport.  I never dreamed that today I can talk about Eric Leong, who drives his own car (with his mother beside him, until he is more confident) and  Jackson Lim who has his own motorbike, and bakes cakes and cookies and sells them from his website and on his bike.  Anthony Tan who was able to find a job for himself;  Eddy Toh who can travel all over Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya confidently using every means of public transport; Yen Hwa, who is married with 2 children, trainees who have held their job for more than 5 years,  and I can go on and on for I am so proud of all of them.

Most of all, I have had the joy of introducing my trainees to the most important Person in my life – Jesus, who loves them and cares for them more than any person in the world.

When I started this ministry,  I claimed God’s Word which said, “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29 :11.   Thank God, I have seen it come true in my life and  the lives of my trainees.

Annam (as she likes to be called) is the pioneer staff of the DTC. She started her training with Malaysian Care in December, 1992, in preparation to start St. Paul’s DTC.   Presently she is the DTC Coordinator.  She coordinates / oversees  the work at St. Paul’s DTC and Bethel EIC.  She is directly responsible for the DTC Training Workshop which includes Tabgha Training Café.

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My Role as a DTC Teacher

By Judy Kwa Saw Choo

When I first joined the DTC as a teacher I was quite unsure of my abilities to carry out my task.  For the first 6 months, it was an uphill task for me to understand and to communicate with the students as some were non verbal and some have limited speech.  I somehow managed to overcome my disabilities.  It is now my 15th year at the centre and I had enjoyed every moment despite the apprehension, tears and fears I had faced when I first started.  I remembered vividly how I had to punish a student when he wandered off on his own when we were in Pulau Redang.  He was so angry and he told Annam that he will take his revenge on me when he had graduated from college.  Mmm… I wonder when will that be?  I often have doubts as to the abilities of the students and wondered what will happen to them when they leave the centre.  I guess my fears are unfounded and I can see that they have overcame difficulties and move on to open employment and sheltered workshop.  I praise God for giving me this chance to serve Him in this fulfilling ministry where the meaning of love knows no bound.    “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12-13     

 Judy Kwa Saw Choo is the Leader of the Day Training Classes (DTC) held in Dewan St. Paul.  She has been a staff from 1st April, 1993.

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DON’T WORRY,  BE HAPPY             

By Samuel Henry

The question that practically every person is asked by his colleagues on his/her retirement day – What do you intend to do now that you are retired? To get involved in Social work was my immediate reply. In fact I had not given much thought to this whatsoever, yet that was the automatic answer reply.

Throughout my working life colleagues ever so often would approach for a little help of some sort or maybe a sympathetic ear. During my initial posting in the Bangsar region in the sixties we had a lot of workers in Industrial & Manual Group in the Division. They would need help in filling up forms or writing letters of application. Though some were literate they needed help to put it in writing, especially in Bahasa. This was a small thing, which took such little time and effort but to them it was a great help and I know that this assistance is never forgotten. Though we might not be able to help solve their problems, lending a willing ear does help to ease their burden somewhat. Little things do mean a lot.

Over the years I have come to learn that you don’t always have to do great things in life, but the little things we do to touch lives matters just as much in the end. It might only be a smile or a greeting, even towards a stranger but it makes a difference.

These years of experience of possibly making the slight difference I believe is His way to lead and show me that He is equipping me to venture into His field. So after taking a break of about five months I volunteered with the DTC. I was involved both with Group I, II & the Social Club and was enjoying it. I related well with the students, volunteers and teachers. The level of fun and enjoyment just kept on increasing. In fact I was getting more than I was putting in. Best of all the students had a comfortable relationship with me. Was He telling me that this was the place for me! All the joy and happy interaction with the charges must mean something. Making the difference in touching the lives of the Special ones was a strong message that was difficult to ignore.

So after almost three years of involvement I voiced my desire to work full-time in this ministry. By GOD’S grace I had the privilege and joy of becoming a staff of the DTC. And as it should happen I was given the new scope of working with the little children at Bethel EIC for the first 3 years plus, due to the staff shortage. This was a new   experience that further showed me the importance of this ministry. When you work with the little ones, their parents and carerers you realize how great is the need and you can play an important part in their direction.

One philosophy that we need to instill and practice all the time is don’t worry, be happy. To look forward to each new day and enjoying each day’s experiences with the joy that He has given us is a must. This is something we try to impart in our interaction with the students in the firm hope that they too get bitten by the ‘bug’. Training of any sort or eventual work position should be a happy experience that they would want to look forward and not shirk from. They will encounter unpleasant episodes that they could do without, but then we live in an imperfect world. The overwhelming experience and attitude to life should be, as the song title goes, DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY.        

 Sam started as a volunteer and joined as a DTC  staff on 1 January, 2001. He has helped out several times as a relief staff at our Children’s Centre at Bethel EIC)

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Sharing by Esther Moo Shook Leng   (trainee 1993 – 1995)

 When I was one year old, I had a high fever. Following that, I had fits and fortunately, my parents sent me to a specialist doctor for treatment. I had to take medicine everyday so that I don’t have fits but I can’t learn as fast as other children.

 I had problems learning and mixing with my classmates in a normal school. Thank God, a friend recommended that I attend DTC at St. Pauls. I was so happy to meet friends here who can mix with me.

 In the DTC, I was taught how to take care of myself. Things like personal grooming, social communication, playing and working together. All these things can help us grow up as independent adults. To make things interesting, we even had simple cooking lessons. It was fun because back home, my parents would not allow me into the kitchen.

 After graduating from the DTC, I got a temporary job in a sweet factory. Following that I worked as a librarian at the Sunway College library and then I moved on to another job in Summit Care Goodwill Shop as a shop assistant.

 Finally, for the last 5 years I have been working as a teacher’s aide in Bethel Early Intervention Centre for Children at Puchong. I like to thank Ms Annam and all staff at St. Pauls for their understanding.

Esther Moo Shook Leng was one of the pioneer DTC  trainees   from 1993 – 1995.   She has been employed as a Teacher’s Aide at Bethel EIC since September, 2003

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