Young Adults' Retreat: Reflections
The Young Adults (YAs) held their retreat in July, and looked at how Christian disciples can follow Christ in a world with very different and conflicting values. We asked some of the young adults to share with us their reflections. Featured here are Miriam Yeo (MY), Nathanael Raj (NR), Samuel Ngo (SN) and Liew Ian Hwee (IH).
1. Why did you go for retreat? What were you hoping to get out of it?
MY: I actually had no expectations for camp - it was my first one and I wanted to go into it with an open heart and mind and not restrict my learning. When they asked during the introduction session for what we were hoping for in camp, I said 'To just let God do whatever He wants to.' and that became my guiding principle for the camp - when I felt compelled to, I spoke, when I didn't I kept quiet and let the Holy Spirit work through the words and actions of those around me, sometimes I stopped singing in worship to just savour the moment... It was definitely incredibly liberating to let my actions and responses just fall into harmony with God's rhythm.
SN: I wanted to catch up with friends and also wanted to get to know others. Going away together for an extended period of time away from the usual distractions of life at this retreat would be a great opportunity to do so.
NR: I attended the retreat because I thought it would be a great opportunity for fun and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in GBC. Also, I thought it'd be a opportunity to get to know better those that I don't always get a chance to catch after Sunday service or during CG. The theme of the retreat was really applicable and timely for me as I'll be starting university next month. Understanding what it means to live as Christians in a world with values and beliefs contrary to ours was my aim for attending the retreat!
IH: Having benefitted from the previous retreat but slipping back into the daily routines of things, I signed up for this retreat hoping, in some way, to be challenged again.
2. How would you describe the experience? What was one strong memory?
MY: It was a very precious time - you rarely have 3 whole days of setting aside every worry and care and just channeling your energy into deepening your relationship with God and worshipping him. I really appreciated the discussion times with my group, and hearing especially about how they all seek to use their present or future occupations for serving God and the people around them in love. Each one of them is so gifted, so willing and so full of potential, and I feel so excited for how God will use them for great works!
SN: I was reminded that we belong to the Kingdom of Heaven as its citizens, even though we are still living in this fallen world. This was something that I learnt through the various events at the retreat.
NR: Overall, I thought the retreat was pretty chill and relaxed which was a good thing. Wikipedia defines the Christian retreat as a time spent away from one's normal life for the purpose of reconnecting, usually in prayer, with God. (Yes, I know its ironic that I'm quoting a secular source!) Considering how busy most of our lives are with NS, work and school, the retreat was a blessing to us as we took time to just relax as we had Bible studies and enjoyed each other's company. I really enjoyed the sermons, group discussions and prayers! My one strong memory was when Wen Pin, Andrew and I prayed for each other about the one thing we thought God was saying to us and we just prayed our hearts out!
IH: It was fun in a different way, in that it involved a whole spectrum of emotions, ranging from serious conversations, general chilling and lots of laughter. I cherish especially, the chats I have had with the other YAs during the retreat.
3. What was your biggest take away from YA retreat? What did God
say to you there?
MY: This YA camp was very special because it came at the end of a whole month of grappling with my identity and where I truly belong. The camp, which reminded us about how gospel culture is so vastly different from the cultures of the world, felt like God calling me home, saying 'I know you feel strange out there, it's no surprise because you belong here instead, here with me!' I suppose it was a timely reminder of where my home really is.
SN: I was really challenged to learn to be a citizen of Heaven, in this fallen world, and how this can be applied in my life.
NR: My biggest takeaway from the retreat is learning that we can bless our cultures most by being most different from it! We do so by living like citizens of heaven as God's people, rather than living like the rest of the world and adopting their values, beliefs, goals, principles, motivations, meaning and gods. I think God is telling me two things from the retreat - something to do, and something not to do: He is telling me not to be seduced by the wealth, status and power the world has to offer and He is telling me to be more proactive in reaching out to the lost, marginalised and poor in society.
IH: My biggest takeaway is that the struggles we think are unique to us are not so different from what others face too. Christian community reminds us that we are not alone and allows us to encourage one another in our walk.
4. What's one thing you're thankful for?
MY: I'm very thankful for the speakers and workshop leaders who planned everything and found such a beautiful location and guided us back to fixing our eyes on God.
SN: I am thankful for the YAs that organised this retreat, for their dedication and how they considered our welfare so thoroughly (spiritual and physical)!
NR: I am really thankful for OUR CHURCH! I'm thankful for people who have prayed for me, for the people who have taught me God's word and helped me when I had questions, and for those who have cared for me and encouraged me! Of course, I'm also really thankful for the good food and nice accomodation we had during the retreat.
IH: I am thankful for how open and honest people were during the discussions. That takes a lot of courage and was very generous of them.
5. How can the church pray for the YAs post retreat?
MY: Do pray for rest for the YAs. I noticed that so many of the young adults craved peace and rest, and from talking to a few about their work life they definitely need it! Do also pray that we will be faithful in our prayer. On the final day of the retreat, we were each given prayer journals to look at and reflect over daily. I hope that we will pray with integrity and really focus our energy on reaching out to God to build a solid relationship with Him.
SN: The church can pray that we will be consistent in their daily walk with God.
NR: The church can pray for the YAs that whatever we've learnt during the retreat will stay fresh in our minds, that our hearts will be convicted of whatever truths God has revealed to us. Please pray that we will continue to grow spiritually and pray that God can use our ministry to be a blessing to the rest of the church and to the larger community surrounding us!
IH: Pray that the retreat would not be a one-off event but would lead to a strengthening of faith, even as we face the culture of the world in our different stages of life.