By Steven Chan
During this past week, some 65 members from various congregations (with the bulk of the participants from the Klang congregation) attended the Inter-Congregational Camp held at Refreshing Springs, in Kalumpang, near Kuala Kubu Bahru, in Selangor.
There were in fact two Camps held at the same time. Participants of the Family Camp were privileged to learn from bro Eddy Ee, long time preacher of the Jurong congregation in Singapore. Concurrently, the Young Adults Camp had bro Chang Long Jong as their speaker. Bro Long Jong had assisted in the Mandarin-speaking congregation in Jurong since 1977.
Bro Eddy Ee shared important lessons on how we can be effective people helpers by knowing how to get along with people, having self-respect, proper approach to solving problems and also learning the art of correction. Participants expressed their appreciation to bro Eddy for sharing these very practical and helpful lessons.
Bro Long Jong shared valuable lessons on how to treat people so that we can build good relationships with people, valuing others as equal beings (making a choice to treat a person as a person – not as an object – is always the better way), and the art of self-control and patience. As one participant puts it: “a simpler approach to see, think and act like Jesus”.
A highlight of the Camp was the baptism of 73 years-old Mr Tan Han Thor. He had significant experience in the palm oil trading business, has an MBA and is now an English teacher. He enrolled in the BCC program with Sherlyn Ho as his course facilitator. At the invitation of bro Chong Teck who is the BCC overall coordinator, he attended the End of the World Seminar held in Klang. Subsequently bro Chong Teck together with bro Chris Lopez had personal studies with him. As he lives in Cheras, they encouraged him to attend the services of the Cheras congregation. He has been attending their services regularly. The brethren there have been very supportive of him. Bro Liew Weng Lum provided transportation for him to attend the Camp. Mr Tan actively participated in the activities at the Camp. With the encouragement from various brethren (such as bro Eddy Ee and bro Chris Lopez) Mr Tan decided to obey the gospel on the second day of the Camp. He was baptized in the hot springs itself. We rejoice with him. His decision to put on Christ was the result of the combined efforts of many brethren and across several congregations. This illustrates the value of brethren from various congregations working closely together in the work of the Lord.
The principle of local autonomy of congregations should not be permitted by the local congregations to evolve into an isolationist stance that deprives the kingdom of the strength of brethren working together across various boundaries so long as local autonomy of the congregation is respected. The close working relationship of the churches in the first century was very evident (Acts 8:14; 11:22 – “Then news of these things came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch”; Phil 4:15-16; Rom 15:25-27). Local congregations in Malaysia are relatively small in numbers, and therefore the greater need to forge closer fellowship and working relationships between congregations. The combined efforts of various brethren across different congregations bore fruit in the Inter-congregational Camp with the baptism of bro Tan Han Thor. Let’s preserve this unity of efforts among brethren.
Another highlight of the Camp was the talent night where brethren from different congregations and different age groups worked together (as a form of team building exercise) to compose their own scripts and then present their skits. We were amazed at the creativity of the teams and their level of resourcefulness. It was more than just pure entertainment value. It shows what we can achieve together for the Lord if we were to work together.
Overall participants enjoyed the fellowship of fellow brethren – getting to know one another much more than before. We learned much from the two speakers. Our faith has been built up. We look forward eagerly to the next Camp. We thank the organisers, bro Richard Lim and his team members, namely sis Poh Sim, sis Christina Lim and bro Rick Kirk for their untiring efforts in making this Camp an enjoyable and beneficial one.