Every Christian is the salt and light of the world (Matt 5:13-14). To me, this statement is not something to be taken lightly. As “salt”, we indicate a sense of purpose to an otherwise meaningless world. As “light”, we help to shine a light from our faith to a world marred by darkness in every corner. This isn’t a statement of pride or boasting but a call to duty and an enormous responsibility for all Christ followers.
But I personally struggled to grapple this seemingly simple but profound truth. My introverted melancholic personality would sometimes amplify the problems I have and the problem I think I have. Life is meaningless, like the Teacher said in Ecclesiastes and there’s so much to worry about – work, personal safety, national security, world peace, economy, relationships, church life among others. I believe many of us worry about these things to a certain extent. If we are preoccupied with worries and issues, how can our saltiness flavour and our light shine upon the world?
The iBridge ministry by Graduates Christian Fellowship (GCF), with its long-running iBridge Camp seeks to plug this gap for young working adults from diverse backgrounds and denominations through encouragement, fellowship, sharing and learning from each other. iBridge Camp tracked its roots back to 2001 and have been organised annually ever since with a steady attendance of 60-120 participants every year. A typical format of the Camp would be three plenary sessions and three workshops on topics relevant to young working adults. I have been joining every iBridge camp since 2014 and this year, I was given the honour to serve as the Camp Commander for the 2017 iBridge Camp.
The 2017 iBridge Camp was held in El Sanctuary in Malacca from 24th – 27th June with the theme “Pit Stop: Refresh my Heart, Renew my Love” for a total of 65 young adults from places as far as Singapore, Ipoh and Penang. This year’s workshops focused on three areas: Work, Apologetics and Relationships. I personally feel that these areas are spot-on and relevant for Christian young working adults for reasons I will explain further below.
One of the memories I would always cherish in each iBridge camp is the worship session. To see fellow Christians from various denominations coming together to worship the Living God is a priceless experience and it reminds me of the amazing event depicted in Revelations 7:9-10 where a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language congregated to praise our Lord. All “sensitivities” were put aside and we just worshipped God who brought us all together through our faith in Him!
iBridge Camp is often filled with timely messages for the young working adults group and 2017 was no different. Bro. Wong Fook Meng, our Camp speaker for the plenary sessions aptly reminded us through the story of Elijah that God’s ways and plans are bigger than ours and that greatest transformation of our hearts may occur through God’s still small voice and not necessarily through the louder miraculous acts.
Deborah Lee made connections with our hearts when she addressed the difficult subject of grief and loss. Her extended self-help session moved some campers to tears as they tried to reconnect with their past experiences in a controlled manner. Dr. Ng Kam Weng opened our eyes and mind on competing ideologies to the simple question: Who is Jesus? He gave a brief outline on the various theories which directly contradicted the Bible and his views on the subject. Benny Kong delivered a talk on the five love languages. Leaderonomics organized an amended version of the famous board game Power Grid to educate the campers on the value of unity, teamwork and shrewdness.
Activities aside, the primary focus of iBridge Camp is the fellowship and encouragement among the campers. After a successful debut in 2016, the “mailbox” practice made its appearance again in 2017 version where campers would have a mailbox each and other campers could drop personal notes of encouragement to motivate them throughout the camp. The practice was also well received this year when all campers returned home with full envelopes filled with messages from friends.
Besides the passive approach, campers also had fun with activities such as board games, captain ball and food excursions to Malacca town during the leisure time. The end result from all these is the friendship being formed among the campers and it could be seen from the campers’ sharing on the last day that many campers have found true friends during the 4-day camp and they have been blessed. The 2016 camp even saw some brothers putting their arms around each other during the campers’ sharing. They are still keeping in touch with one another regularly today and I feel that this truly encapsulates Jesus’ prayer in John 17 for us “to be one”.
As in any endeavor, follow-up is paramount and any iBridge Camp would be followed by post-camp meetup sessions and Headstart, a 12-month mentoring programme in a small group setting to encourage deeper sharing and lasting friendships. This year, GCF would also launch Beyond Headstart to cater to brothers and sisters who have been working for quite a while and would have different needs as compared to fresh graduates. All in all, they are meant to encourage continuous growth in the campers.
To end this article, if I may use one word to describe the camp, it has to be “realign”. Realign what, you may ask? I felt that this camp helped me to realign my priorities going into second half of the year. Since the camp, I resumed my Bible reading programme and I found new purpose in my stressful day-to-day work of managing contractual matters. I would certainly make time to attend the next camp and I humbly encourage and challenge all young working adults to join me for the 2018 session. The 4-day investment may make a lasting positive change in your life. Give it a try!
Sign up now! For next year iBridge Camp 2018 : https://goo.gl/forms/VWPaBhfHnbwTKmYg1
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