Every Youth A Disciple of Jesus
By Jacqueline Lie
At Zion Bishan, we desire to see every youth become a disciple of Jesus, enjoying fellowship with Him and His People, and challenged to be sent for His Mission — in line with the Next Lap vision for every member mature in Christ. The close of 2022 saw two platforms for our youths to be growing and maturing in their Christian faith, namely Youth Camp and an overseas ministry trip.
Through Youth Camp 2022 — the Bond Identity, the youths not only learnt gospel truths, but also experienced being part of the body of Christ, as they spent extended time together and grew to relate to one another in love, through their everyday interactions and through intentional workshops and games. A group of youths (17 – 18 year-olds) also had the privilege of visiting an overseas ministry, and they further experienced how God works in and through the body of Christ, to bring the Christmas message to unreached regions.
In the new year, as we continue to affirm that the youths are essential members of the body of Christ, it is critical that the rest of the church be supporting and building up the youths. Besides these ad-hoc camps and trips, the week-in-week-out work of regular Saturday Youth Fellowship, Sunday Youth Discipleship groups and personal life-on-life follow-ups must not be overlooked. As such, we are so thankful for the many volunteers that have been consistently truthing in love to our younger ones, from YD leaders to YF small-group leaders — how can we especially encourage them as they plough on in 2023? And if you want to find out more about how you can be serving the youths, speak to Jacqueline, Ee-Wern, Larissa or Ps Dev to find out more!
Youth Camp 2022, 12–16th December
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22 (ESV)
Finally an overnight camp since the pandemic, Youth Camp 2022 saw close to 75 participants. Our ZB youths spent extended time together for five full days, and also welcomed many newcomers. The theme for this year’s camp is titled ‘The Bond Identity’, with the messages, expounded by Edric, helpfully leading our youths through the book of Ephesians. We praise God for how the campers were challenged to think hard about their identity in Christ, from the truths that we were #mostblessed because we have every spiritual blessing in Christ, to seeing how Christians are part of God’s larger, glorious #masterplan as we are being built into His holy temple. The various fun and games re-iterated the gospel truths, such as a workshop where the groups used domino pieces to build their unique identity, but were called to ultimately build one big domino set-up, even amidst obstacles thrown their way.
“Participating in this year’s Youth Camp has definitely been fruitful and enjoyable. It wasn’t an easy journey as I had expected because it was my first time taking part as a WGL, and there were new responsibilities I had to take on and prepare for before camp even started. Despite that, I am grateful that God had provided throughout the camp with supportive co-leaders and a group that really helped me to step out of my comfort zone. In addition, the messages were a good reminder of how each and every one of us are an important part of His plans to unite all things in Him. It was also comforting to know that we were once separated from God but through Christ, we were able to have a relationship with God, and that each one of us can use our gifts to contribute to the maturity of the church. All in all, I am grateful that camp has helped push me to grow spiritually and mentally, and I look forward to more camps like this one.” (Wan Yu, group leader)
We would also like to thank the many people in Zion Bishan who have graciously extended hospitality to our youths in various forms throughout this camp, be it in support in prayer and funds, or in making time to have dinner with youths on two of the nights during camp itself! The meals with the wider church community definitely did help the youths to understand what it means to be interacting with members of the body of Christ, and also to show them that the church does care a lot about its youths as well! Please continue praying for our youths to remember what they learnt from camp, to continue seeing that each of them plays an important role in the body of Christ, and to deepen the friendships and the fellowship that have begun through camp! Once again, thank you for loving our youths!
Overseas Ministry Trip to Ubon, 19th – 28th December
The week after Youth Camp, some of our ZB youths spent another ten days together, and further experienced God working in and through the body of Christ, as they came alongside the local ministry team at Ubon Thailand for their Christmas outreach.
During the first half of the trip, the team went to various hospitals, carolling in the common areas and in the wards; the brokenness and suffering of the world was tangibly seen during these visits. The carolling sessions in fact opened doors for the local ministry team to continue visiting the hospitals, to befriend not only patients but also the medical staff. For our youths, the first week brought much growth, as they asked questions about the unfamiliar and learnt to turn to the Lord in prayer. Indeed, the youths could not remain indifferent once they caught a glimpse of God’s heart for the broken, and recognised that the hope that Jesus brings makes all the difference to the seeming helplessness. It is with this in mind that the youths sang their hearts out in the hospitals — songs that tell of how Christmas is a time to love, that speak of the gospel that holds out hope amidst the brokenness.
One of the mornings was spent visiting a school; the children enjoyed the games, skit and songs that we shared, adding onto the good work that the local Christians have been doing in this school community. Christmas day itself saw the youth team joining in a local church’s celebrations. The local community was invited to the party, and it was a joyous occasion indeed; the youths were pleasantly surprised at the unique cultural elements of singing and dancing among the audience, that complemented the Christmas messages and testimonies shared onstage.
Even as the Christians celebrated Christmas joyfully, so many in the region do not yet know of the hope of the gospel. The region we were at has some of the lowest reach of Christianity. Outside the small city of Ubon, there are villages aplenty with no Christian community. Therefore the next day, the local ministry team carried out an amazing feat, as they drove the Christmas party set-up to an unreached village four hours away, right at the national border, bringing light literally and metaphorically into the darkness. Our prayer is that following this Christmas party, there will be a great awakening in the Isan region.
“This trip has been truly impactful and fulfilling for every one of us. We’ve learnt so much more about the world around us, and about God’s heart for the broken. Although there is much suffering, we must hold onto the hope that can pierce through the darkness! Though it’s over, we know that there is much more waiting to be done and we pray that we will be hungry to know Him more.” (Grace, team leader)
Our team praises God for how He was working mightily during the trip, and we are very thankful for the many insights gleaned from the short time we had in Ubon. What we have witnessed, and the stories from the missionaries of God’s hand in their lives and in the ministry there, have been really inspiring. We desire for God to continue showing us His heart for the broken and the lost, as we keep on praying, let Your Kingdom come, so that everyone might know Your Name.