To say it was an ambitious camp is an understatement. In the planning for the camp, we attempted several programs which had not been done before: ranging from a seemingly simple angel-mortal game, to an amazing-race at Sentosa, to a campfire. The latter two were really a step of faith, highly dependent on weather… and with no back-up plan. God was our plan! And boy, did He come through.
But it was no walk in the park. In the lead up to the camp, one of the greatest challenges facing us was not even the process of planning (though the sheer amount that was required seemed daunting enough, given that JC life is hectic!); it was the inter-personal conflicts between a few of the Christian Fellowship executive committee. Over many hours of listening and talking with the involved parties, the Christian Fellowship teacher and I came to the conclusion that we may not be able to facilitate a resolution, a reconciliation between the parties (save for a miraculous work of God). But a work of God was what we got to see. Just in the week leading up to the camp, several dialogues took place and God oversaw a transformation in the friendships I don’t think anyone could have foreseen. It was really heartening.
Day 1: God is sovereign over the weather. Nature bows to Him. Yes, the weather forecast was for heavy showers during our amazing-race at Sentosa. But we had glorious sunshine, and we had a glorious time of fun and bonding. (Fun-fact: it started raining when campers got back from Sentosa… :))
I had to leave early from Sentosa to prepare the night message. It had been such a hectic season for me leading up to the camp – chapel, devotions, night class assignments, CF ex-co retreat sessions etc. – I did not have much time to prepare. What to share Lord? was a repeated prayer of mine. I decided to share a familiar parable – the Prodigal Son(s) – and also included two personal testimonies. My stories had to do with a lifestyle of discos and the pursuit of a girl which ended in severe heartbreak – and how God met me in a special way, and showed me He loved me in a way no person could. Tying them together was Jesus’ parable: about the God who welcomes home lost sons (and daughters) no matter how far we have strayed. (Fun-fact: it was not till later that I discovered the party lifestyle was a pertinent issue amongst some of the campers; some group leaders reflected that the message connected with their groups… thankful!)
Day 2: there were two highlights. The first was the camp VIA (values-in-action) – where we partnered with Touch Community Services and were involved in their Meals-on-Wheels program; delivering food to elderly folks who found it inconvenient to get out of their homes.
I did not join in the VIA as I stayed back to prepare for the campfire. And this was faith-stretching. The rain that had started the night before had continued all morning. As I was going about the back-breaking work of soaking the wood for the campfire in kerosene, I was constantly praying, “Lord, stop the rain.” Finally, at the right time, at 4:30pm, the rain ceased! I was exhausted, but elated. God had come through again.
The campfire night was perfect. It was the highlight of the camp for many. For me, the worship session around the fire was powerful. The presence of the Lord descended as our voices ascended! Unity. Passion. Conviction. The physical campfire reflected the spiritual fire God was pouring out upon His people as we sang unto Him.
Day 3: Pastor Raymond preached 3 sermons during this camp. After this final message, he led us in a time of response and ministry. There was deep conviction upon God’s people and many responded as they came forward, many in tears, to be prayed for. The Holy Spirit, I believe, began a deep work in His people. Ministry time went on for a while, and campers also gathered in groups to minister to one another in prayer. It was an awesome sight.
Afterglow: Camps often end on a high. Sustaining the spiritual hunger and fire kindled during a camp is the greatest challenge. But this year’s camp theme offers an anchor and a hope… “But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8. God is ultimately the One at work in our lives, and He will accomplish it. We may stray. We may fall. We may be unfaithful. But He remains faithful. God is alive. And He is at work! Amen.