YAYP Retreat 2013: LIBERATE

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YAYP Retreat 2013 finally came to an end yesterday, 10/8, where we saw the faithfulness of God and the hand of God move so mightily among our midst. 

Retreat this year was held at Le Grandeur Palm Resort in JB, from 8/8-10/8. Planning started as early as…..probably about one year earlier. I was give the privilege and honor to serve as one of the two Programmes IC. I must admit that initially I felt really cheated when work started because there was sooooooooo much that the Programmes ICs had to do, but I wasn’t told so. Yeah.. So honestly, there was quite a bit of unhappiness within me as I worked in the committee. Furthermore, the people that I worked with weren’t people that I have worked before, which made things worse. 

So work started and everything seemed to be not going anywhere. Whenever we had meetings, it doesn’t seem to be productive. Whenever I went onto Google Docs to do any work I could do, it didn’t feel very satisfying or anything good. 

Then there was one meeting that we had, when J, the camp commandant, shared that we should pray more. Honestly initially, I felt like we were praying too much. Like keep praying and praying but no work was done. We weren’t moving forward in terms of the planning; we were just praying and praying. I mean…we can’t just keep praying and not work right? Of course I still prayed for the retreat in my own time, but I never attended any of the prayer meetings because I didn’t want to. (Yes I am being very honest here)

People received visions and words at the weekly prayer meetings of what God is going to do at the retreat. People were getting excited, but certainly not me. The nearer retreat got, the more sian I was, the less excited I was. This is not the usual me. Usually I’d be REALLY excited and can’t wait for what’s about to happen, but this time things were different. I didn’t know why.. 

So when I came back from Australia, it was about 3 weeks to retreat, and guess what? I fell sick…for 3 weeks! Yes, I was sick for 3 weeks! Not like sick to the extent that I couldn’t get outta bed, but I was sick enough to prevent me from doing any work. I didn’t know what was going on in the first week, but when I continued to be sick for the second week, I felt within that something was very wrong. So I didn’t allow my sickness to stop me from working and praying for the retreat. I was sick, but I continued to work because there was still so much undone (well, at least I felt unprepared). This whole time I felt so frustrated because I didn’t know what was happening…

So the day of retreat came. I was supposed to go with the advanced party on 7/8 but didn’t because I had to go for ear syringing in the morning and FYP in the afternoon. Ear syringing cleared my ear but it still felt blocked after that. So we met at Bukit Gombak MRT on 8/8 at 8.15am. There was supposed to be 4 coaches to bring all of us up to the retreat site, but only 3 came on time and the 4th one was delayed. It came only at 10am! Ridiculous. Yes, I know. But it’s true.. And then at Woodlands CP, we queued for an hour to get our passports chopped! So we only reached LG at about 1pm when programme was supposed to start at 11am. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. 

The last coach of people finally arrived at LG at about 1pm, and while the retreaters went to have a quick lunch (whatever food that was left), I went to prepare the games stuff as soon as we arrived. At that moment, I felt really quite sian cos everything was not as planned JUST BECAUSE of the last coach which claimed that he was stuck at 2nd link since 6am! 

When the people in the last coach had more or less finished eating, we started off with some admin matters, followed by the first sermon by Ps A. I don’t know what exactly happened at the start because I was all busy with the games preparation, but hearsay from others that the sharing from Ps A wasn’t too bad. 

After the first service, it was games time! We started off with a mass ice-breaker, where the retreaters were assigned an animal for their group and they had to go around the hall to look for their group members, but all they could do was make the sound of that animal. Initially I was quite upset because everything felt very rush and disorganized due to the games time being cut short, but later on when we moved on to the games at the field, I’m glad and I thank God that even though they didn’t get to play ALL the games, they actually enjoyed themselves 🙂 the best part was the Games Money and the Auction on the second day! It’s really very effective in getting the attention and enthusiasm of the retreaters! And I’m glad they enjoyed the auction 🙂 HAHA. I really enjoyed every moment of seeing the retreaters enjoying the company of the others and their enthusiasm throughout the whole retreat.

Fast forward to the highlights of the retreat as a committee member… It was the spiritual warfare and the intercession on the second night and third day that made this retreat memorable for me. Never ever in my 5 years of being a Christian have I seen spiritual warfare being so REAL. It was as if we were armed and fighting in a REAL battle, on a REAL battleground. It was so scary but yet it was such an eye-opener for me. We saw how God moved in the whole retreat, how God was faithful in keeping His promises, and how God fought the battles FOR us. It was then and there that I finally knew that spiritual warfare was VERY strong; but thank God for keeping me sensitive to the Spirit even though I was feeling all sian before retreat started. 

I thank God that we, as a retreat committee, had the privilege to serve God in such a manner. We may not have met God in the same manner as the rest of the retreaters did, but we sure did meet God in this retreat. We felt His heart for the people as we prayed, we cried His heart as we interceded… It was there and then that I truly understood what it means when we sing “Break my heart for what breaks Yours”.

I started out frustrated and angry, but I ended everything liberated of my frustrations because I met God in this retreat. Indeed “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, chains are broken, and eyes are opened”.

All glory to God!

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Not just an experience, it’s an encounter.

For the past three days, I was suffering from a lack of sleep and my mind was constantly active. I am emceeing for YAYP service this weekend (today) and it’s my first time doing it at yayp, hence I thought I needed more time to prepare. But no, things happen and I wasn’t given the time that I think I would need to do it. I was totally stressed up and I feel overwhlemed everytime I thought about it. Yes stressed up and that is something that I have never felt before.

On Thursday night, ST happened to text me right after I told LC that I needed to talk to ST about it. So as I replied ST, it gave me an opportunity to talk to her about how I was feeling about emceeing this weekend. She affirmed me and shared with me abit of the flow of emceeing in yayp. I felt more relieved after talking to her, but still, I wasn’t feeling perfect about it. I continued to pray and ask God to place His words in my heart that He wants to speak to His people about. I asked God for strength and for sensitivity to hear Him speak.

Friday past, Saturday came and 45 minutes before service started, there wasn’t any word that the Lord has given me. 30 minutes to service, I felt the Lord lead me to Psalm 127:1 for pre-service prayer. I continued to pray in my heart for words to speak to His people.

Service finally started. I went up, shared the verse and prayed… there were moments that I felt there wasn’t words to pray but I was constantly reminded that ministry belongs to the Lord. Prayer isn’t about me, it’s about God. In fact, nothing in this world is about me, it’s all about God.

As soon as worship started, and the next thing on my mind was closing worship. “God, what is it that you want to tell your people? Speak to me Lord. Use me.” Thats all I could tell the Lord because I really didn’t know how I should close worship. Then I felt God saying “dont worry. Just focus on worship” so I did and when I sang the songs, the Lord used them to minister to me. The Lord brought me back to the past three days that I was struggling to prepare for emceeing. He showed me that truly what I needed was just to trust Him and find rest in Him. His grace will always be enough for me (and you).

Then at the fourth song, my attention went back to closing worship again, but this time, Psalm 23 was placed on my heart. I read this Psalm to the congregation and closed in prayer.

Next was welcoming guests, tithes n offerings, and announcements. Honestly, this section is my weakness. I’m not fluent and sometimes even incoherent when doing this section of the service. This time also like that.. sigh.. maybe I need more practice. Haha..

When the time for sermon came, I was all ears. I had to pay special attention to what was preached because I had to close the service. That doesn’t mean that I don’t usually pay attention, it’s just that I had to pay extra attention. Haha.. and as I listened to the sermon, I realise even more how good God is. Truly God brings us through life to learn and to mould us. I start to realise even more that throughout this emceeing journey, from the prep to the end, God was teaching me something new. Well, perhaps not something new but something that I’d never realised.

Although there were parts that I think I didn’t do too well as an emcee, but at the end of the day, when I think back, I can only thank God for the opportunity because He is more concerned about me rather than whether I am a good emcee. He cared more whether I learnt something out of it than simply letting me enjoy the process of emceeing. God loves me (and you) and cares about me (and you too!). 🙂