What happened at our Young Adults' Retreat?
Over the Hari Raya weekend, many Singaporeans crossed the Causeway to take advantage of the day off to enjoy the holiday. At the stroke of midnight on Hari Raya, the sky was bright with the fireworks lit by small community celebrations as people gathered for celebration.
The same weekend, around 40 of GBC's own young people took the journey across the Causeway for their own celebration – but not for Hari Raya. They went away as part of the Young Adults Ministry for their annual retreat, taking time to fellowship together and commune with God. The retreat theme was the "Clash of the Two Kingdoms’, describing the conflict between the kingdom of this world and Christ's, played out in the life of Christian disciples.
From different Bible passages that contrast God’s holy people from the world, Leow Wen Pin, Caleb Yap, Tan Yee Kiat and Nehemiah Chong taught on the topic of discipleship. From Ezekiel 29, Wen Pin taught about the clash of cultures and warned us of the allure of the world while reminding us of God's certain victory in this warfare. From Leviticus 19, Caleb taught us that the people of God were meant to be a community of grace, living God-centered lives marked by holiness and mission. Yee Kiat spoke from Jeremiah 29 about how Christians are to seek the welfare of the city God has placed them in even in spiritual exile, while Nehemiah spoke from 1 Peter 1 about how as new creations living in an old creation, we must endure suffering as strangers and foreigners in this world but persevering in hope.
The young adults were given plenty of practical life teaching as well:
- Leaders led workshops on issues of Christian living and discipleship such as ‘Working’, ‘Thinking’, ‘Resting’ and “Stressing’ which were well received. Many had rich questions about personal habits of mind, work and play and what the Bible had to say about these.
- Lunch times were filled with opportunities to talk about following Jesus, with Wen Pin leading two lunchtime discussions, one on family life as part of following Christ, and another on going into full-time ministry, which were both well attended. Shermaine Tan and Aaron Lum, who are engaged, shared from their experience on Christian dating. YA leader Bibianna Yeo led a lunchtime discussion on feminism and gender roles, and Bryan Tan shared from his experiences studying in Ireland on what it means to follow Christ as a student abroad and coming home.
In these different forms, we were blessed by the study of God's word. Truly, there is great profit in studying Scripture!
There was of course, time for fun and just enjoying one another. We had time for play and laughter in games, film screenings and rest and relaxation time too. Some of the YAs even visited nearby KSL mall and took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the booming durian harvest (including Mao Shan Wang).
There was also time to learn new habits and practice spiritual disciplines. We took time to learn to honor and encourage each other, with 2 hours set aside to discuss how to do so and write to persons we wanted to encourage. Some wrote to their parents, church leaders, friends and family. Many YAs shared that this was a new experience for them, but that the time of organized encouragement, as part of a culture of expressing love in the gospel was refreshing. We learnt to pray rigorously, with optional morning prayer time beginning at 8am before the morning devotions and we also spent time responding to God in heartfelt prayer after the teaching. Most significant of all was the introduction of the YA Ministry Prayer Journal, conceptualized, designed and written in-house by our own YA leaders. The 30-day Prayer Journal leads readers through Genesis and Exodus and offers daily reflections and prompts in order to encourage us to pray, which dovetails with the church's emphasis on prayer in the second half of 2015.
Through it all, the YA team is incredibly thankful to God for seeing us through another year's retreat and for all the wonderful things that God has done in us. May He continue to write His word upon our heart and cause us to bear fruit that will last.