When COVID-19 turned into a pandemic and affected every institution, Singapore Bible College was not spared too. Everyone in SBC also had to scramble to respond to the countless advisories from the government. Overnight, meals that had been taken communally at the canteen became ‘dine alone’ experiences in the dormitory rooms. Corporate chapels that had been held in the 600-seat worship hall were streamed and became private devotional sessions. The lively atmosphere of classrooms was lost to the need to turn off web cameras and mute microphones to secure Internet connectivity during lessons. Online work meetings, prayer meetings, and mentoring and counselling sessions were much anticipated as they turned into the only opportunities for the casual interactions we once enjoyed.
As all staff and faculty heeded the government’s advice to work from home, and the instruction to ‘stay home’ restricted students’ activities on and off campus, the usual bustle of the SBC campus fell into silence. On these oddly quiet campus premises, many unspoken worries and needs hang over us. All students have been caught off-guard by this pandemic. Graduates have had to extend their stay in Singapore as their flights home have been cancelled again and again. Current students are unable to go home for the holidays for similar reasons, as well as the fear that they would not be let back into Singapore in time for the new semester. This extended stay in Singapore has created an unexpected, extra financial burden on our students. The unplanned accommodation and food fees have become their greatest concern, apart from the well-being of their families back home.
For SBC, apart from needing funds to help our students tide over the extension of their stay, we have another, looming worry. We have begun to hear of sponsors who had initially committed to supporting our students’ education at SBC, but are now unable to hold to the commitment as they themselves have been badly affected by the prolonged lockdown of businesses. We anticipate that this will affect many local and international students. They will have less or even nothing with which to pay for tuition, dormitory and food fees. Moreover, if they continue to be unable to report to churches for field education, those who depend on this for their living allowances will find that these will run dry soon. They urgently need more scholarships and financial aid to finish their equipping at SBC.
Where will they be able to find the support to complete their education at SBC, so that they can go into the field fully equipped? Will SBC be able to raise enough funds in these uncertain times for this certain need? Are you the answer that God has for us? If the Lord moves you, will you consider partnering with us? Please remember us in prayer.