Growing Closer: Alvin Lin



In this month’s Growing Closer, we speak to Brother Alvin Lin, former preacher at LAPCOC who has since gone to Eastside COC. We catch up with Alvin to find out how he, as well as Eastside COC has been doing. It is also an opportune time as it is almost 3 years to the date that Eastside officially started.

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Farand:

Hi Alvin, how have you been! I was checking and you got married in Oct 20. How has things been for you? How has life changed since marriage?


Alvin:

God has blessed me much, giving me a wife and a house that will be coming next year, hopefully. Yea we got married in Oct 2020, so coming to 2 years of married life already. The biggest change I would say is moving out of the comfort of my parent's house and adjusting to a new life with my wife, but so far things are going pretty well. My wife has recently gotten her PR status, so for that we are very thankful to God for His favor on us and also the many brethren who have prayed for us too.



Farand:

Oh you mentioned your house is coming next year? Where are you staying now then?


Alvin:

Ya our house has faced some delay due to the Covid-19 situation. Thankfully our aunts have allowed us to stay at her place in the meantime while we wait for our flat. We look forward to inviting brethren to our house after we move in. Ours is a 2 room flat though, so might not be able to accommodate too many people but we'll see how it goes and invite brethren in batches i guess 😁


Farand:

That’s great news on the PR status indeed! Yea moving out of parent’s house always makes you appreciate them more. What was the most difficult challenge there?


Alvin:

Thanks! I think the biggest challenge to moving out is usually the packing and unpacking, which is what I dread most when our new house comes. ☺ But what i miss most since moving out is my mum's cooking. My wife is a good cook too, but she works busy shifts so most of the time we eat out, so home cooked food is something that I really miss 😋


Farand:

Speaking about ‘miss’, anything about LAPCOC that you miss (besides the brethren of course)?


Alvin:

Haha mostly would be brethren and co-workers in the office. It’s quite boring to eat alone during lunch 😛 But other than that, I think it would be having a building of your own. Having to rent a place for assembling makes me appreciate the blessing of having a permanent church building. The bigger space affords more space for classes and more stability as well, without having to worry about rent increases and having to move when the lease expires.


Farand:

I would like to also ask about the good work being done at Eastside, as I am sure many would be interested to hear. To start, would you happen to remember when exactly Eastside started?


Alvin:

The work at Eastside started in July 2019. But the planning for the new work started a year prior with finding a suitable location, getting members to join the new work, and all the preparatory work for the move.


Farand:

Oh great! So kinda like a 3 year anniversary now!


Alvin:

Ah yes, just nice 3rd year anniversary 😁 We have an annual Dedication Day in July to remember and give thanks to God for blessing the work at Eastside COC, which happens to fall on 24 July this year!


Farand:

Could you share more about the Dedication Day?


Alvin:

Yea, we have this annual event to thank God for His blessings on Eastside and also it is like an anniversary to remind and rededicate ourselves in serving the Lord.


Farand:

And how has the work at Eastside been going? How would you describe the last 3 years?


Alvin:

Things are going well and the Lord has blessed us richly in many ways. We are gradually outgrowing the space we have and we are thankful to have many brethren who have stepped up. As you can imagine, with a small congregation size, resources and manpower is always tight but it also provides for more opportunities for service and it is encouraging that brethren have stepped up to the plate and taken on various roles and teaching. We are hopeful to be able to have elders and deacons in the next 10-15 years 😊


Farand:

You mentioned the church is outgrowing the space. Any plans to relocate then?


Alvin:

Our lease expires next year July, so we are currently exploring options. There may be a possibility of us staying at Joo Chiat if any of the tenants give up their lease and we can take over. Otherwise the other option is to move to another place that will allow us more space for children classes and visitor classes.


Farand:

Besides the workload, how has things changed for you as a preacher compared to LAP?


Alvin:

I think my work as a preacher is more or less the same as when I was in LAPCOC - preaching and teaching, visiting brethren and prospects, planning church activities etc. I have to double up as the church admin though, since I am the only fulltime worker with Eastside COC.


Farand:

It is amazing the things that Eastside are doing with limited resources like you mentioned! Could you share some highlights for people to know what the brethren there have been doing?


Alvin:

Oh yes, I will be glad to share about some highlights of new initiatives that brethren are involved in. Just a disclaimer, there are so many areas of work that brethren are involved in, so I will not be able to list out every single one of them (and my memory may fail me at times too), so apologies for those that I've missed out.


Most of our members are involved in preaching and teaching, and also contribute articles to the bulletin. Your father-in-law, Uncle Tian Seng, has been writing weekly articles on family & marriage to encourage and edify young couples in the church as well. In the area of fellowship, we had monthly agape lunch and church fellowship to tie in with our Friendship Sunday (similar to your Evangelism Sunday) prior to the pandemic, followed by church fellowship, so that we can get to enjoy fellowship with one another and get to know our guests better, and we are looking forward to restarting this in August. Our media team has also been very active with many new initiatives. During the pandemic period, they have recorded hymns for outreach and also for use in worship (during the period when the government restrictions do not permit singing), and they have also set up the livestream and podcast of our worship services.


Farand:

Amazing indeed! And where can we find all these content? On the Eastside Facebook page?


Alvin:

Oh the recordings can be found on our YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/c/EastsideChurchofChristSingapore/videos) and the articles on our website (https://www.eastsidecocsg.org/blog)


Farand:

Great! Thanks for that. How has the evangelism efforts been ongoing? That’s always challenging for everyone.


Alvin:

Yea evangelism has always been a challenge, both in enlisting sowers and in finding good soil. In terms of enlisting sowers, we have a series on evangelism training every year and the monthly Friendship Sunday is a constant reminder to members to invite their friends and family members. We also encourage members to join us for twice a month tracting sessions and for those who are unable to join us for the sessions on Friday evening, we encourage them to distribute tracts in their own neighbourhood. We have had a couple of baptisms, with some contacting us after coming across our social media or receiving our tracts, but it's still quite a challenge reaching out to the community, especially in Joo Chiat area with a predominant Muslim community, so religion can be a somewhat sensitive topic.


Farand:

Coming to the end of the interview, wanted to ask - will we see you at LAPCOC this year?


Alvin:

I preached earlier this year on 30 Jan in your Evangelism Sunday on the topic "He is Invisible, But He Can be Seen". I always look forward to preaching opportunities to speak at LAPCOC, for it is an opportunity for me to see beloved brethren again. I grew up in LAPCOC, so the congregation holds many fond memories for me😊


Farand:

And lastly, any final thoughts/words to the brethren at LAPCOC?


Alvin:

Oh yes, we would like to express our utmost thanks and appreciation to our brethren at LAPCOC for the encouragement and support of the work at ECOC. We always enjoy the close fellowship when we meet for combined activities and it is always encouraging to read of the good work that all of you are doing in the bulletin.