Yes there was so much more that God enabled His servant to do during his two and  half year command in these barracks. His second desire was to be able to tell his men about the Lord Jesus Christ, who loved them and gave Himself for them.

There was no regular Military Chaplain, so every Sunday, as Commanding officer, it was his duty and great joy to read God’s word to his men and tell them of the love and power to save of the Lord Jesus Christ. They sang very heartily from the hymn book he had complied in 1863, finishing with prayer. After which was a hearty AMEN.

A Sunday School was started with the help of a schoolmaster – a corporal in the Regiment. All the married people sent their children along so it was a full ‘house’ or schoolroom. It was a joy to hear them sing. He loved those children dearly, and when he was weary and worn out with work on the cricket-ground followed by two hours counseling and dealing with problems, he would go into the schoolroom and ask the children to give him his Text.

All with one accord would recite – ‘Blessed is the man that trusted in the Lord and whose hope the Lord is.’

A Bible class for married women was started and continued for more than a year, until eventually he was able to hand the meeting over to a dear friend who was in charge of the Chinese Girls School just off Orchard Road. She was able to visit these ladies in their homes.

It certainly wasn’t easy going – plenty of opposition, but God gave him very plain assurance that –‘Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the World.’

He also had refreshing fellowship with many other Christians in Singapore, encouraging and being encouraged. Much more we could tell. But you will have to read it for yourselves.

But surely this was the start of the Christian Testimony at these Tanglin Barracks, under girded by prayer 120 years ago. From Jungle to Church? No, not a building but a Body of Christ on Earth.

Officers of the American, French, and Austrian navies, who came to call on us, were much struck by the appearance of the barracks, and could hardly believe that it had been done by them themselves assisted by some men with local skills

It was my joy to see during these two years the power of the Holy Spirit, as I had never seen it before among soldiers. If Satan worked – and he did – the Holy Spirit worked also. Among my guests there came the Bishop of Borneo. He gave the men a service, and at our request announced a commemoration of the Lord’s death for the following Sunday. I felt that this would be a test of the extent to which the Word had influenced those who professed to believe in the Lord Jesus among my men. Would these come to the Lord’s table with us, as one body in Him? I said nothing. When the time came, to my great joy all our little band assembled, and together we remembered His death in whom – now risen and glorified – we believed. It was a very happy and blessed occasion to me. I can never recall it without thanking and praising God.

What delight I had during those two years in the study of His Word! I often gave five hours a day to it. I commenced the first line of Genesis when I left England, and I went on over every line, annotating page by page. It was this that gave me strength for my work. Nothing but the thorough rest and refreshment which the soul of man gets in the quiet study of God’s Word could have sustained me in the severe physical labour I had at this station on the equator. Working hard as I did all six days, and still harder on the seventh, I should have been soon completely worn out, if it had not been for the continual renewal of strength which a man obtains in the study of God’s Word. He giveth power to the faint, and to those who have no might He increase the strength. I could not, perhaps, better express the state of joyful communion with the Lord in which I lived during these years, than in copying a few lines I wrote one morning before going down to the barracks on Duty. They flowed out of my heart faster than I could write them.

The second desire:

My life is hid with Christ in God;
How safe, how blest am I!
For me to live ’tis therefore Christ
And therefore gain to die.
I would not change this blessed state,
The gift of freest grace,
For all the world could offer me,
Of glory, wealth or place.
I would not give the Christian’s hope
For everything on earth:
In Christ I am a son of God,
A king and priest by birth!
How great His love who honored thus
A sinful child of man!
Eternity will be too short
To tell Redemption’s plan.
O ye that have no hope in God,
Why do ye doubt His love?
His Son has bought you by His blood;
He pleads for you above.
Why do ye cast away the grace
To all who take it given?
Christ calls you,
‘Come thou, come to Me!
I’ll bring thee safe to heaven.’
Oh, come to Him, and you will find
In Him unceasing measure ?Of joy and peace!
His yoke is sweet,
His love life’s highest pleasure.
A soldier who committed his life to God and proved,
“There is nothing that God’s love and power cannot do – right here in Tanglin”

Major Malan