The first time I went there was for Bible Study. It was Ching Mooi who was teaching us. In the years before and after my years in the MYF, these dedicated teachers.... Mr. Ling KN, Mr. Leong CS, Ms. Ling KB, Ms. Tan Ching Mooi, Mrs. Tan YH and those who came into the picture after my time there; they left indellible marks in many lives.
House of Grace was a place for us, MYF'ers to hang out. It was also a place for us to study... a quiet place away from the cramped spaces at home and the noise of the neighborhood. It provided a conducive environment for us to study. There were rules that had to be strictly followed. In the early years, House of Grace had a 'resident' MYF counsellor living there full time, Mr. Leong.
House of Grace moved location too not long after I was in Upper Secondary. Mr. and Mrs. Tay offered their single storey bungalow for our use. This one had a compound big enough for a game of captain ball or even hockey. There was a table tennis too. The house also had a library filled with books. I read many of my first CS Lewis' books there. There was even a room with air-con, a luxury in those days. The house came alive with activities between 5.00 - 7.30 p.m. on weekdays. During weekends, Bible Studies were conducted there followed by games. All the other hours were study hours, except for the December school holidays when the House of Grace will come alive with Christmas preparations. December was the 'funnest' time at the House.
House of Grace provided a safe sanctuary for us, teenagers to meet. It was where the older ones, those who had gone to universities would drop by during their term breaks and help out the younger ones who were struggling with their Add Maths, Chem or Physics. It was a place where we could hang out with our friends, seek out adults in our tumultous years. It provided a healthy environment for boys and girls to interact. And it was also a place where we were taught priorities. And I remember making kuih kapit there too to raise funds for our camp there too, one year.
Carrom games, guitar sessions.... one can always count on seeing a bunch of guys with their guitars strumming away, creating their own music as they went along, mostly self taught. Many of us could play the guitar as a result cos there was always someone ever ready to teach. Many of us saved to buy the cheap Kapok guitar just so that we could learn how to play. There was a sense of belonging and warmth of friendship. These days, I look at my surrounding... so much of everything but much less warmth.
It was through the dedication, commitment and generosity of our MYF counsellors and also the church that House of Grace was possible. I had many good moments there. We played, laughed and cried there. We quarreled and made up there too. It was a place where many aspects of character building took place through the interactions that took place. It was a place which played a big role in our growing up years. We always knew that there was a place for us in House of Grace. If you needed to find someone to talk to, you can always find one there in the evenings during the games time, an older kid, a counsellor sometimes or just your regular hang out friends.
It was also a place where we would have our gatherings... those little 'year' gatherings. When I think back of those years, truly there were many fond memories, defining and even tender moments. Friends from far and near, old and young... House of Grace provided us that meeting place.
The meeting of lives... grace extended to us in so many indescribable ways. We were truly blessed.... by the environment created in our best interest, by the people who committed their lives for ours.