Pastoral 2017

Testimonies from GYF-GYAF Combined Retreat

Sunday, 31 December 2017

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Sharon dela Cruz

Thank God for His mercy, grace and providence which enable me to attend this retreat. Truly, “God’s Word is like a deep, deep mine with jewels rich and rare.” I admit that I did not realise how vital and precious the doctrine of the “Communion of the Saints” was, until Pastor expounded on it from the Word of God. I thank God for Pastor’s labour in teaching us. I am also thankful to the Lord for Aunty Carolyn and the helpers who laboured to teach the children so that I could sit through all the messages. (I think this is the first time I have been able to concentrate fully since I have become a mother!)

It is my prayer that I will have a closer communion with God so that I can be a channel of blessing to fellow saints, as well as increase and abound in ministering to others and in the work of the Lord.

It was indeed a communion of saints that I have experienced in this retreat. I am especially thankful to those who patiently took time to play with and teach Nehemiah during their free time, not to mention letting him join in the group games. It may have been something trivial to most people, but it was a great deal of help to me in giving Nehemiah good fellowship and company, while at the same time nurturing and encouraging him.

All glory and thanks be to God for this fellowship of the saints.

 

Chris

First of all, I would like to thank God for the love expressed by all the brethren during the retreat. As my left foot was injured during one of the games, some of the brethren really took care of me throughout the retreat, while all the rest showed much concern for me (always checking on how I was doing!). The care that everyone showed me was to me a practical application of the “Communion of the Saints” which we learned during the retreat. Oh, how I pray that this kind of love and care will continue among the brethren even in the future when we return to the church. May we care for and help those who are in need, comforting those who are struggling, both in their physical and especially spiritual life.

Since it is the Lord Jesus Christ who had broken down “the wall” between us and God, as well as between one another, it is vital to remember that our communion is, first and foremost, with the Lord. Without Him, all of the so-called expressions of “love” are nothing but vain babbling.

Now, as some of you may know, I will be away from the church for quite some time, while waiting to see if my permit to stay in Singapore will be granted or not. Irrespective of the outcome, I’m very sure that our communion with one another will continue, as we hold on to our common faith in Christ, serving the Lord in our respective areas. Brethren, let us pray for one another, that our faith will not falter. Till we meet again (here, there, or up in the air), may we all be kept in the love of Christ.

 

Tan Yeh Wen

I would like to thank the Lord for bringing me to my first retreat since I became a Christian in 2014. Praise God for His grace and mercy upon me that allowed me to come to this retreat, as well as for His providential care which has provided me with the funds to come to this combined YF-YAF retreat.

Thanks be to God for the spiritual feeding received through His servants, Pastor Koshy, Elder Mah and Elder Choy. I am grateful for the spiritual feasting of His Word, and also for the experience of the vital doctrine of the “Communion of the Saints” through the fellowship.

I learnt from Pastor Koshy’s messages that communion of the saints first begins from our communion with God, which He, out of His great love and mercy, extends to us. It then spreads out towards the saints. It is necessary, therefore, that such a communion can only be found as part of the church, where His saints gather, and nowhere else. I had the blessed opportunity to experience this during the 3-4 days of retreat, enjoying the pure joy and peace amidst the unhindered communion of saints, which I cannot find elsewhere in the world. Surely, it was a foretaste of that eternal fellowship that we will have in heaven.

Moreover, Pastor Koshy also taught us that through the communion of saints, God’s love will flow and abound in service to the Lord and His saints. I was joyous to see this truth being manifested as campers wholeheartedly fulfilled their various duties, whether it be kitchen duties, cleaning and washing up the entire compound, or even helping one another in small things.

Last but not least, Pastor Koshy taught us that the communion of saints can be hindered by sin. Through the discussions, I was able to understand that unless I flee from all sin, I would not be able to fully enjoy this blessed communion. How can I have blessed communion with the most holy God and know more about God, if I treasure sin in my heart? And how can I have true communion with the saints, if I am not strengthened by my communion with God? Having tasted this blessed communion, how can I then return to the world? I must indeed flee from all sin, that this blessed communion may not be hindered!

All glory be to God.

 

Jenice Choy

I would like to thank God for a blessed time at the combined GYF-GYAF retreat this year. The Lord has blessed us bountifully and we have experienced much goodness from the Lord. Thank God for His Word that has taught me that communion with the saints stems from our personal communion with God. If our communion with God were to be in a disinterested, dry and cold manner, then likewise would our communion with the saints be so affected. Thank God also for the daily morning devotions through which I have learnt much about the sovereignty of God in our lives. Truly, God’s name alone must be praised!

 

Shu Mun

I thank and praise the Lord for enabling me to join this retreat. It is only by His providence and timing that I could come to study God’s Word while clearing my leave.

This retreat has taught me the vital doctrine of the “Communion of the Saints”, which tells us that the love of the brethren is a sure evidence of salvation (1 John 3:14-16). I experienced God’s blessings and spiritual nourishment through the wonderful messages preached by Pastor and also through the fellowship of the brethren. Even the resort that we stayed in afforded us a conducive environment for the purpose of the communion of the saints.

Despite the difficulties faced by our church, God has by His grace continually used His servants (namely our pastor and elders) to care for and minister to us, that the body of Christ may be “fitly joined together” (Ephesians 4:16a), and enabled to “increase and abound in love one toward another” (1 Thessalonians 3:12).

All praise and glory to God!

 

Dorcas Koshy

Personally, I had been praying that God would grant us youths a rightful understanding and application of true scriptural unity during these difficult times. Truly, what a pleasant surprise to find out that the topic was “Communion of the Saints” – a wonderful and timely answer from God, which was beyond what I expected!

I was rebuked, corrected and encouraged through 1 Thessalonians 3:12 – “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you”; and Colossians 2:19 – “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Admittedly, I have waned in my concern for fellow brethren, thinking that if they’re backsliding, I’ll just let them be since they are willingly disobeying the Word of God which they have heard and known very well. These passages, however, showed me that, as believers in constant individual communion with God, we can only grow more and more in our love for other members of the body of Christ. I should love them to the point of death, for God says in 1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

The morning devotion from Psalm 46:10, with a quote of Isaiah 55:8 (“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”), encouraged me not to worry or be despondent even as I am praying as to what to do after my impending graduation, but rather to be still and wait on Him who is God. May God help me to be loving and forbearing with all lowliness and meekness, as well as to submit to Him who “will be exalted among the heathen, (and) in the earth”.

 

Cornelius Koshy

I thank God for this youth retreat – a blessed fellowship with the YAFers and youths of our church. I thank God for the many lessons on the theme “Communion of the Saints”, of which I shall mention two that I have learnt.

Firstly, communion with the saints is dependent on my communion with God. He has given the fullness of Himself (and not just a part of Himself), and so I must know Him more. Only with the fullness of God can I enjoy the fullness of communing with the saints. Secondly, I must love the brethren with wholeheartedness, longsuffering and meekness. Personal grievances cannot be allowed to impede fellowship. I love the brethren because God loves me; I must forgive because God has forgiven me; I must serve, yea even unto death, because Christ gave His life for me.

Indeed, I pray the Lord will help me with regard to these two practical applications which I have learnt. Moreover, I also learnt that each Person of the Trinity plays a unique ministry and role in the communion of the saints. This really gives me a fuller appreciation of the distinct ministry of the Triune God, Who “systematically” extends a divine plan such that I can truly bask in the communion of the saints!

 

Duaine Kabingue

The theme of this year’s retreat, “Communion of the Saints”, was so apt because I have been so blessed by the communion and love of the saints during the retreat.

I was not well on Sunday during the service, so I was a little apprehensive to join the retreat as I might be a burden to others. Nonetheless, God is gracious, and I attended the first two days with a healthy body and a thankful spirit. Among the many points I learnt during the first few messages, was a timely reminder that a Christian’s communion is first and foremost with God, and then with fellow saints.

However, on Tuesday evening, I became nauseous and kept vomiting. During this time, many brethren cared for me, showing the virtues of kindness and love, as mentioned in Ephesians 4:2 which Pastor had preached about in Message 6. Thank the Lord for sustaining me through the rest of the retreat, so that in the midst of my sickness, I was able to recount the words of the hymn ‘Constantly Abiding’ – “Tho the trials of life may surround like a cloud, I’ve a peace that has come there to stay!”

May the Lord bless everyone who has shown care and love for my sake. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).

As 2018 dawns upon us, I pray that our communion with God and fellow saints will be “sweeter as the years go by”. All praise and glory be to God!