Youth Ministry Thanksgiving

Every Youth A Disciple of Jesus

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 2023 saw two platforms for our youths to be growing and maturing in their Christian faith, namely Youth Camp and Missions Learning Journeys.

Through Youth Camp 2023 — Not Yet Home, 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. Three groups of youths, together with some young adults, also had the privilege of visiting overseas ministries, where 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. Thank you all who have helped the youths in various ways in the past year, be it for Youth Camp or the various learning journeys, your support is much appreciated.

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. Do keep in prayer the various Youth Ministry leaders (YF committee ’24 led by Ashley Tan & Evan Seet, and all the YD leaders across the twelve YD groups), for patience and love as they journey with our youths, and for the youths to grow and exercise their faith in Jesus.

And if you want to find out more about how you can be serving our ZB youths, speak to Jacqueline, Dns Ee-Wern, Dns Larissa or Ps Dev to find out more!

Youth Camp 2023, 11–15 December


“I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.” – Jeremiah 24:7 (ESV)

The first camp to be held outside our church premises since 2014, Youth Camp 2023 saw a total of about 75 campers, group leaders and committee members. The first three days were at BB/GB Campsite @ Sembawang, and the campers returned to Zion Bishan from exile for the last two days. 

The theme for camp last year was titled “Not Yet Home”. We explored what it meant to live in a world that we cannot call our true ‘home’, diving into the book of Jeremiah, helpfully guided and navigated by Elder Reuben Ang. The youths were also encouraged by the various stories shared during the night workshops, of how Christians are journeying together on a rocky road of faith. 

The camp sought to bring across the harsh truth to the youths: we as Christians are still exiles suffering in a dark, broken world full of worldly wisdom. Amidst that, however, we are called to stand firm, persevere and to endure until the day we finally return Home.

We thank God for honest, vulnerable conversations and sharings about personal struggles, inspired through the workshops and testimonies of other members in the Church. It really was a blessing for all who were there to be exposed to the different hardships of the faith and hear about how God and the Church are vital in every Christian’s journey.

We would like to show our appreciation to all who graciously extended their hand of support to the committee and youths throughout the camp, be it through prayer and funds, even coming down to have dinner with the youths during camp! Exposing the youths to the wider church family allowed them to interact with other members of Christ who are in different life stages, showing them how much the church family cares for them! Please continue to keep all of the youths in your prayers to remember what they’ve learnt from camp and continue building one another up, as they journey together as Christians who are not yet home. Thank you for loving our youths!

Missions Learning Journey to Radion
Phetchabun Thailand, 25 Nov – 4 December

A team of eight adults and youths had the joy of coming alongside the ministry of Radion International. Radion is a Christian NGO that has been working among the poor and vulnerable in the Hmong village of Khek Noi for the past sixteen years, and there was so much for our team to learn — It was our privilege to witness how God works through the local staff, as they work with this community, and with the children under their care. 

For this trip, the first few days were set aside for us to prepare our hearts, through prayer and through soaking in the culture and language. The basic Thai that we picked up allowed us to be intentional in building relationships with the locals, both the staff & the children. 

The team next spent a few days visiting families under Radion’s VillageCare programme. These are families with challenging situations, whether due to health or domestic issues. Through listening to their stories, the team caught a glimpse of a people with a beautiful culture, yet hungry for God. 

Despite the brokenness that the team witnessed, we kept in mind the vision that is shown in Revelation 21, that God will one day renew all things, wiping away tears from His children, and death and pain shall be no more.

Conducting a 3D2N camp for the local children was the climax of our trip. The objective of the camp was two-fold: to share the Gospel, and use the camp as a platform for Radion to sieve and identify children from high-risk backgrounds. A full-day outing provided extended time with the children (1 team member was tagged to 4-5 kids) such that we bonded quickly and very well. We learnt that simple joy can be found in spending time together playing games, visiting a small zoo and a public garden, and climbing a mountain. On the second evening, our team members shared their testimony and presented the gospel, telling the children of how they are loved unconditionally, and how each of them is precious to God. The children were excited to present the songs and dance they learnt at camp to their families during the Sunday outreach, where our team again shared a testimony and encouraged those gathered to come to Jesus. Pray for these young hearts to grow strong in their faith, as the local church follows up especially with the eighteen children who came forward to receive Jesus.

We thank God for the many insights gleaned from the short time we had with Radion. What we have seen of God’s love being expressed in very practical ways that touch the hearts of the locals, of the locals being empowered to impact their community, and of the gospel being lived out and preached by the Radion staff, are testament to God’s hand at work. We pray that the ministry of Radion will continue to shine amidst the ongoing darkness, and that God continues to reveal to us His heart for the broken, while we are longing for the day when every nation will proclaim Jesus is Lord and when He establishes rule and reign.

Click here to see some photos and further learning points!

Missions Learning Journey to YWAM
Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand, 21 – 28 December 2023

Over the Christmas period, a group of 5 adults and 11 youths spent a week in Thailand with the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) team in Ubon Ratchathani. The ministries and activities run by YWAM Ubon aim to reach the lost and to raise up a Christian community among the indigenous Isaan people that will in turn be a light to the nations. Through our support of YWAM’s Christmas outreach activities, we hoped to see God’s heart for the lost and how He is working to bring many into His Kingdom.

In all, the team visited two churches to support their Christmas outreach celebrations, a centre for persons with disabilities, a children’s hospital and a juvenile detention centre. In the weeks leading up to the trip, the team had spent a substantial amount of time preparing various items to present at these places – a skit to share gospel truths, Christmas and worship songs in Thai, some games to engage children, and personal testimonies to share when opportunities arose. Despite these efforts, our plans at each of these places ended up changing, often at the very last minute; having to repeat the skit at one of the church Christmas celebrations, not being able to sing or perform the skit at the children’s hospital, not being allowed to bring mobile devices into the juvenile detention centre for our skit to play the background soundtrack. The team learnt to trust God, however He wanted His work to pan out as we did our best to adapt to the circumstances.

Despite all the uncertainty and a sentiment among our team that we could do more to engage the local people, the YWAM team often encouraged us to defer to God and His timing for when He chooses to let His people sow and when to reap. In some of the places we visited, the doors had been shut since the onset of COVID, and had only recently begun to re-open such that YWAM could resume its ministry programmes. As much as we wanted to share the joy of Christmas and longed for more to know Christ, we were also constantly reminded of God’s sovereignty.

Throughout the trip, God revealed enough of His great love for us and glorious vision of His return that we could only respond in awe and often in tears. We saw God’s faithfulness in the stories of obedience by the YWAM missionaries and how God enabled His work to be done at each step of their journeys. In our worship in songs and prayer, we caught a glimpse of what it might be like for people of every nation to gather and give unadulterated praise to the Lamb who alone is worthy of blessing and honour and glory and might. 

Please pray for God to continue showing us His heart for the broken and the lost, that we will indeed be a witness for Him to the ends of the earth. Pray also for YWAM Ubon to be a light among the many villages in the region that do not yet know Christ, with the hope that every tribe and every tongue will one day lift their voices as one, singing, “Worthy is the Lamb”.

Missions Learning Journey to SMO
Bacolod Philippines, 26 – 31 December

On Christmas night, a team of 5 adults and 7 youths flew off to the Philippines to join our mission partner – Student Missionary Outreach (SMO). SMO ministers to Filipino youths and their families, to spur them on to live out the gospel and be shining testimonies of Christ to those around them. We were very blessed to be welcomed with great hospitality as well as hearing genuine, heartfelt testimonies of God’s mighty work in shaping their lives individually and as a community. 

For the first half of the trip, the team joined SMO in their annual youth camp, Camp Forever, as participants and helpers. Camp Forever is an action-packed camp open to all youths. There were a sizeable number of youths who had yet to know Christ who attended the camp. Initially, we were concerned about the language barrier affecting communication. Yet throughout the camp, we were warmly greeted with overwhelming hospitality, as fellow campers actively engaged the team in conversation patiently throughout the day despite the language barrier. Some of us also picked up basic Tagalog/Hiligaynon from them too! As we joined them in lively games, insightful messages, fervent worship in songs, and honest discussions, we were moved by how deep and joyful fellowship could be in such a short period of time. We had a lot to learn from their hospitality and passion for Christ.

For the second half, the team first conducted house visits to nearby families. We sang Christmas carols and most of us (especially the youths) shared our testimonies of God’s work in our lives! Although brief, the visits gave us a taste of the weekly efforts the SMO staff would go through in maintaining relationships with their neighbors for the gospel. 

Wording and sharing my testimony helped me remember how God really worked in my life. I’m glad to have been able to speak about him through my story and use it to help others grow closer to God through this trip.” (- Mae, a youth who was part of the team).

Finally, we organised an outreach in a neighbouring village in the highlands of Canlandog. This outreach event required hours of preparation, as we planned to deliver the message of the prodigal son to the families there, including young children! We planned icebreakers, a skit, and an arts and crafts lesson to bring home the message. 

Our team is deeply grateful for being able to experience God’s grace and power through deep, earnest fellowship of the saints, being moved and empowered to intentionally fellowship likewise in our lives too. We thank God for his providence which has allowed SMO to thrive in its ministry for 47 years and counting despite the countless challenges they face. As we keep SMO in prayer, we are encouraged to likewise persevere in working heartily, as for the Lord, looking to eternity, knowing that our inheritance is secure, and our citizenship, in heaven. 

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