What an apt theme! Ending = Beginning was chosen as the theme for the last CA of this semester because our friends (or seniors) who are in the ALM and ALG programs are going to sit for their A-levels finals soon, which begins on May 12 and that implies they are going to leave INTEC pretty soon. Those dear friends of ours include Helen, Erin, Patricia, Eunice, Shiau Hooi, Johnson, James, Yi En, Timothy, Grace and of course all of the students in INTEC who are in the same batch with the mentioned names. Well, it’s that cliché again; the ending of one journey leads us to the beginning of another. Besides that, much to our surprise and joy, 2 juniors namely Alvin and Yan Siong who are in French program also joined us for the CA. It will be their first and also the last CA because sadly, their stay here in INTEC is a very short one (just one month), and then they will be heading off to France to do their pre-U. That further accentuated the aptitude of the theme……
CA kicked off at around 7.45 pm. The meeting commenced with a worship song entitled Let Everything That Has Breath before the emcees (Dian Han and Amanda) welcomed the 2 newcomers, Alvin and Yan Siong who hail from Sabah and Sarawak respectively. After that, Shalisha and Eliza took over the session as they were the game masters for that night. All who were present were being separated into two groups (groups 1 & 2). Group 1 consisted of those who took up the role as “trees” while group 2 comprised “squirrels”. The “squirrels” were required to outrun or to cleverly manoeuvre themselves through a bunch of “foxes” and then cling on to the “trees” in order to survive to the next round. Those caught by the “foxes” will not be eliminated from the game just yet, but they have to be one of the “foxes”. So, the difficulty of the game increased with every round as the number of “foxes” went up while 4 “trees” were taken out each round so as to make it harder for the “squirrels” to escape. Of course both groups got to get a taste of how it feels like to become “squirrels”, trying their best to outwit the “foxes” when the groups switched their roles. The enjoyable session culminated to its climax when the seniors were called to the front of the congregation, with plain papers stuck on their backs so that the juniors get to scribble something on the papers. Guess what.. three seniors who had the most writings on their backs were required to do one of the “stuns” written on their respective paper. The “chosen ones” were Patricia, Johnson and Erin. The “stuns” written on the papers were read out aloud by Shalisha and some sounded somewhat really off the beaten track and inhumane in a sense. Patricia was asked to scream like a girl, which she eventually did after much contemplation. Next up was Johnson, who was requested to sing Up Town Girl. It wasn’t quite a success as he could not recall the lyrics of that song. So, he sang I Love You by David Tao instead and many were surprised that he could actually sing (Wow…. ). The last “victim” was Erin, whom I think got the most out-of-this-world request. She was required to turn her head continuously, balancing herself on one foot and sing the chorus part of My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, simultaneously. It may sound like a mission impossible but eventually she managed to rise up to the challenge and I was really taken aback (Salute…Erin). All of us really had a good time and we really enjoyed the session.
Then, it was time for us to sing praises and worship the Lord. The worship team for this occasion made up mainly of the seniors as it was their last CA and they really grasped every opportunity that they had in order to serve in CA for one last time before they leave. We sang songs such as I Love You, Lord, Set Me Free, One Way, Mengejar HadirMu and as well as Hosanna. The worship team put their best foot forward and went all out leading us in worshipping the Lord. Our spirits were really lifted up and the Youth Centre just turned into a place for God’s glory to dwell. As usual, we had the time of offering and were led into a quiet time of prayer by Dian Han. Shortly after that, came the presentation from 8 ALM juniors accompanied by a video clip which showcased numerous photographs of the will-be-leaving seniors whom we love so much and also documented some heart-warming messages dedicated by Pei Ling, Chewie, Derrick, Samuel, Steffie, Amanda, Eliza and Dian Han to our seniors. It was truly an unforgettable moment for each one of us.
There was no pastor preaching this time around as the slot had been reserved for testimonies from just about anyone of us who would like to share. It was managed by Dian Han and Amanda, who kept embellishing the session with their “lame” jokes as well as some evocative Bible verses. The friends who shared include Andersen, Helen, Erin, Dian Han, Patricia, Eunice, Shiau Hooi, Johnson and also Uncle Yong, who is a member of the CA committee that has been guiding and supporting us for all this while. Andersen started the ball rolling with his own testimony.
He said that God is expanding his capacity as His servant as he now serves in a church as a drummer, a part of the worship team. Besides that, Andersen also drives the church van and sends us back to our hostels after each CA. He strongly believes that one’s capabilities and capacity can be expanded by serving God whole-heartedly and sincerely.
God had completely transformed her. She used to be an introvert who liked to keep all of her problems to herself but after coming to INTEC and getting to know Erin, whom she said was the one who took the first step in trying to know her, her life had been changed for the better. Helen also told us about the hardships that she went through during her 1st semester in INTEC. Among them were her mediocre results and problems in relationship with her friends. Despite all of these, God had given her courage and confidence and turned her into the person that she is today. Before she retreated, much to the delight of the juniors, she promised to offer her academic help to the juniors so as to guide them through their studies.
Related her stories of how she came to know CA through her seniors and also how she was so touched by the loving care of her friends when she needed support. She recounted how friends used to cook her all kinds of porridge when she was recuperating from the stitch wounds in her mouth. Time flies indeed and she never expected that CA would come to an end that fast. She capitalized on that opportunity to remind us to keep encouraging friends around us as we may just touch someone’s life and make a difference. She also prompted us to always serve God with a passionate heart. Sometimes, things may not go according to our plan, but God’s plans are always higher and bigger. So, as long as we continue to obey Him, we would get to where He wants us to be eventually.
Came to know CA through friends. Recollected an incident where the church van that he was in got knocked by another vehicle. But thank God, the Lord was with them all along and in the end they managed to get out of the commotion unscathed. He emphasized that CA is not just about having fun but most importantly is the time for us to serve Him, to fellowship with the Lord and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
She strongly agreed with Andersen that serving the Lord would truly expand our capacity because our God is generous and rewarding towards those who obey and are willing to serve. She openly declared that she would surely miss CA a lot and could not imagine living without CA.
She came to the realization that CA is a way which God had opened for her to serve. She reminisced her first time coming to CA, where she met Erin, whom she described as the “super-cannot-smile” girl at that time, probably due to their unfamiliarity. As time went by, their friendship blossomed and Erin became one of her best friends. She thanked God for everything before passing the microphone to Shiau Hooi.
As soon as she got the microphone from Eunice, we sang her a birthday song as her birthday was on 28 April 2008. She felt very grateful getting to know a bunch of friends in INTEC whom she depicted as angels. She spoke about the way her friends cared for her when she was down. She shared that God had changed the way she sees things. She used to have a pessimistic view about this world around her, but CA gave her a new definition of the word life. Challenges from the Lord taught her an invaluable lesson, that is to put her focus on the Lord instead of her problems. She motivated us to never give up in the face of challenges as God is always with us no matter what happens. We might not know what are His plans for us, but the fact that He loves us remains invariable.
He conceded that he was so obsessed with his studies to the extent that he neglected relationship. He did well during the 1st semester but what seemed to be a blessing from God turned out to be something that began to sink him as he back slid in his spiritual life. He did not go to church as often as he should and forgot about the power of prayer. Fortunately, Joash came into his life and lifted him up. Trouble came when there was a misunderstanding between Johnson and his former roommate. Johnson started to lose focus in his studies and suffered an emotional upheaval. That was when God made His presence felt to Johnson through Johnson’s mother and Joash. After confiding in his mother all of his problems plus the motivation from Joash, Johnson finally found the courage to set things right. He took the initiative to apologize to his roommate and everything just got back to normal. They are now the best of friends once again. Besides that, Johnson also realized how important his mother is in his life, being his confidante.
Uncle Yong underlined the importance of unity among all of us. He likened every one of us to the parts and organs of a human anatomy. Even if merely one part of our body does not cooperate, the whole system would suffer directly or indirectly as the result. So, unity is of utmost importance in our lives as well as in our walk with Christ. He challenged us to put our focus onto the Lord when we are faced with problems and hardships as these challenges would be taken care of in the mighty hands of the Lord who loves us unconditionally.
After the testimonies and sharing, all of us enjoyed the refreshments prepared by Pei Ling. The seniors also spent some time taking photographs. What’s more, we also took this opportunity to pray for the seniors who will be sitting for their finals and also not forgetting Alvin and Yan Siong who will be leaving for France in less than one month’s time. CA came to end with us going back to our respective hostels.
Into the hands of our Saviour we surrender our lives, our future and our everything. Let’s pray that He would strengthen our friendship, make it stronger each day and that we would be able to meet each other again. Deep within us, we do not like to be separated from the people whom we have grown to love and to be comfortable with, but our mighty God has great plans for each and every one of us which are waiting to be carried out and accomplished. Bidding adieu to our friends is part and parcel of life which is inevitable. It is His way of making us stronger, making us grow in every sense as we walk this path with Him in preparation to fulfill even greater responsibilities in the future. So, let’s rejoice in His name, have faith in Him and let Him take control of our lives as He is an unfailing God who will never ever forsake us. Amen. Also, please pray for those who are desperate for His word and enlightenment.
In His service,