by Steven Chan
In Mark 6:7, the Bible records the occasion when “Jesus called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits… and “so they went out and preached that people should repent.”(Mark 6:12). Thereafter, “the apostles gathered to Jesus and told Him all things, both what they had done and what they had taught. And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves.”(Mark 6:30-32)
The Bible records the time when the disciples were so busy “coming and going” as they went about preaching that the people should repent, that Jesus had to ask them to “come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while”. In effect, Jesus was echoing what the wise king, Solomon had said from long ago that “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecc 3:1). There is time to work and there is a time to rest a while.
The recent Inter-Congregational Church Camp (“ICC”), a time of rest, was attended by 122 brethren and friends from Malaysia, Singapore, USA and also for the first time from Mainland China with 8 participants. Thanks to the good work done by the organizers, brethren Richard Lim, Poh Sim & Christina Lim (Klang), Richard Lee (Cheras), Tee Chee Lik (Kota Kemuning), Renga (Subang) and Albert Wong (KL), the participants were treated to a wide range of activities such as:-
- Practical lessons on how to sing and praise God by making melody in our hearts to the Lord – by bro Paul Goh from Jurong who also taught song leaders on how to lead congregational singing more effectively – the singing workshop was certainly a highlight of the Camp as brethren learned new songs as well as learned to sing in beautiful harmony;
- Bible lessons on “How to build strong spiritual families” were shared by bro Kwan Tai Choom, Mandarin-speaking missionary;
- Special Mandarin classes taught by bro John Grubb, missionary from the USA; Special Children Classes by Sis Pooi Lai, Anita and Wai Lin from the KL congregation;
- Special classes for non-Christians by bro Richard Lee;
- Outdoor games such as soccer, basketball & captain ball (organised by bro Tee Chee Lik), as well as indoor board games – all of which fostered social fellowship among many;
- Special presentations by song leaders;
- Special game of charade (organized by Tze Wei & Zelda Chan) requiring participants to act out Bible events (such as Adam & Eve, the parting of the Red Sea, David & Goliath, Samson & Delilah, Jonah & the big fish) by one to another with the last person required to state what was the event that was acted out by the participants;
- Special two hour live cowboy show presented by the A Formosa Resort;
- Last but not least, sumptuous breakfast, lunch and dinner – buffet style – which meant that everyone had more than their fair share – with much left over. For some who ventured outside the Camp, they also had their durian feast!
We can say with the Psalmist, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psa 133:1). The spirit of the brethren gathered together at the Camp was somewhat akin to that described in Acts 2:46-47: “So continuing daily with one accord … they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” It is certainly good for brethren to come together from all over the geographical regions at least a few times a year (even as we do in our own congregations on a twice weekly basis) so that we can get to know one another and encourage one another unto further love and good works (Heb 10:24).
A big “Thank you” to members of the Organizing Committee headed by bro Richard Lim for their selfless work of organizing activities aimed at building us up spiritually as well as enhancing fellowship among brethren. We are also much encouraged by participants who came from afar to contribute to the success of the ICC. We look forward to another wonderful time of fellowship with like-minded brethren at the next ICC in the New Year. We encourage brethren to keep the ICC in your list of activities to support every year just as we do the City-Wide Campaign for Christ, the Evangelism Seminar, the Restoration Seminar, the Chinese Asian Bible Lectureship (for Mandarin-speaking brethren), the Four Seas College Lectureship in Singapore and especially for the Youths, the Youth Enrichment Seminar (YES) and the not-to-be-missed Youth Development Programme (YDP).
Brethren, there is also a serendipity effect in such inter-congregational gatherings. We have heard some brethren voiced their concern that their children who are young adults have not been able to find Christian spouses. But brethren, if they do not encourage them to attend such inter-congregational events, then how are they to going to have the opportunity to meet other Christians who may be their prospective spouses? Indeed the YDP and other “such like” events have fostered many such healthy and happy relationships. So, brethren for this and many other positive effects, let’s give our support to such get-togethers.