Celebration of Hope: Freedom on a Friday night

by Gabriel Ong // May 17, 2019, 9:35 pm

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-17 at 20.09.45

The opening rally of the Celebration of Hope welcomed thousands of Singaporeans into the National Stadium, who came to hear the stories of hope.

With freedom as the theme of the night, numbers in the Stadium swelled as tens of thousands poured through the gates. As the night went on, there seemed to be something special – almost heavy – in the atmosphere, as people began to experience God in real and tangible ways.

Photo: Vicson Huang

Local actress Belinda Lee and Pastor Raymond Sim of Lighthouse Evangelism Church welcomed guests into the Stadium with a series of games and icebreakers. The sounds of the inflatable clappers reverberated throughout the Stadium as guests revelled in the party atmosphere.

Photo: Joshua How

What’s an event at the National Stadium without the famous Kallang Wave? Thousands across the stadium went with the flow as the famous human wave pulsed across the Stadium.

Photo: Wong Siqi

DRUMSLIGHT, a crew of 20 drummers from Lighthouse Evangelism Church, entertained the growing crowd of invitees as their sounds of freedom boomed across the bleachers of the National Stadium. 

Photo: Luke Beh

Bishop Rennis Ponniah of St Andrew’s Cathedral declared words of hope and life over the 3-day festival of hope: “No one is here by chance. You will have the opportunity to discover that there can be solid hope for everyone of us in the journey of life. Hope is the certainty that there is something good coming your way, no matter how life can be at times and no matter how final death can seem to be at the end. There is hope for everyone!”

Photo: Vicson Huang

Alarice Hong of Awaken Generation led thousands in worship by the pitch. There were few dry eyes and many raised hands, as the Stadium swelled to the tunes of classics like 10,000 Reasons, Shout to the Lord and Amazing Grace

Photo: Wong Siqi

Girlie & Nova’s duet of When You Believe captured the spirit of the night beautifully: “There can be miracles when you believe”.

Photo: Wong Siqi

Singer Olivia Ong’s first song of the night was 如燕, the theme song of local hit drama The Little Nonya which shot her to fame in Singapore. The lyrics of the song were an apt lead-in to her story, where she shared how she found hope at her lowest point.

Photo: Wong Siqi

Olivia shared honestly about the struggles she faced in her singing career which began at the tender age of 17 – how the superstar dream she expected to live didn’t turn out how she thought it would.

I tried so hard, but I was still called a blank piece of paper: Singer Olivia Ong on her identity crisis

Photo: Vicson Huang

For her final song, Olivia Ong sang Angela Zhang’s Invisible Wings. The song is about finding hope in times of difficulties, and it struck a chord with thousands in the National Stadium, who were enraptured in their listening until the end of the song when they broke out in rapturous applause.

Photo: Luke Beh

After the story of Harold Koh’s healing was played on the Stadium’s screens, Pastor Pacer Tan of Lighthouse Evangelism Church appealed to those who needed healing: “Everyone of us needs healing in our lives. You came here tonight because it’s not just an invitation from someone.” He then led the Stadium in a prayer of freedom from fears, anxiety, financial woes and sicknesses.

Photo: Joshua How

Pastor Pacer then led the Stadium in an incredible, resounding prayer: “God of Heaven and Earth, I trust you tonight. I cry out to you tonight: Heal my heart! Heal my home! Heal my relationships! Heal our land!”

Photo: Vicson Huang

Many were moved as they made the prayer. God had worked healing amongst some in the thousands standing in the National Stadium.

Photo: Vicson Huang

Canon J.John then stepped onto the stage to speak about hope. The world-renowned writer and speaker began sharing the Gospel by reminding the audience that life is short: “Do you realise that our lives here on this Earth – even if we live for 100 years – is a blip on the eternal screen?”

Photo: Raymond Ching

Thousands heeded the Canon’s call, “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God”, as they streamed down the aisles to Amazing Grace.

Yes, Jesus Loves You

If you weren’t at the Stadium tonight, don’t worry: There are still 5 more rallies you can catch. What God is doing in the National Stadium this weekend is something that happens once a generation.

There is hope – don’t miss out on it!

The Celebration of Hope is a 3-day festival of hope, filled with songs and stories of hope, to be held in various languages for all age groups at the National Stadium. 

Admission is by ticket only – but tickets are free. Tickets are still available for the May 18 (Saturday) and May 19 (Sunday) morning rallies. If you’ve reserved or confirmed your ticket but aren’t able to make it, please give up your ticket for someone else who can. 

From tomorrow, tickets will only be available for walk-ins, subject to availability. Please stay tuned to the Celebration of Hope Facebook or Instagram pages for updates. 

Celebration of Hope flyer

About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.