Blessed by the Next Generation

#Covenantfaithstories from Generations Camp 2021 

Surprises from God

My daughter was looking forward to join this year’s Generations Camp. Two years have passed since the last one so she was very excited. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity for us to bond, especially after recently navigating some rough patches in our relationship.

But things didn’t go exactly as I expected. God had some surprises in store for me. Firstly, I wasn’t in the same group as my daughter. The thought of being with people I hardly know made me quite nervous. Secondly, I found out during the camp that our group’s assistant facilitator couldn’t make it due to work-related issues, so I had to help facilitate the youths.

 

Feeling Inadequate

I was feeling very awkward not knowing how to interact with them. I was from a different generation and race — how do I connect with them?! I was feeling very inadequate. But I remembered that during my personal devotion before the camp, God was speaking about coming home to Him and that it was not going to be an easy journey. I had the assurance that God has prepared me for what’s ahead.

 

Touching Gestures from the Youths

On the camp’s first day, I was having bad cramps. That was also the day for the “Amazing Race” activity where we had to go around Singapore. I didn’t want to be a burden to the group so I tried to endure the pain and just kept on going. But the youths were very kind and sensitive. They would constantly check on me and ask how I was, “Auntie come with us. Are you ok? Is that [what I was carrying] heavy?” I thought I had to look after them, but they were the ones looking after me. I was warmed by their genuine love and concern. I truly felt loved.

During the plenary session on “Coming Home”, I was deeply moved by the message: coming home is not about what you can give; it is an invitation — you are invited to come home because you are loved. I was crying like a baby as it addressed my primal wounds as a child, and felt God’s loving presence. At that moment, the youths prayed over me one by one. The last one approached me and said, “Auntie, I don’t know how to pray but I want to pray for you.” So she did. Her willingness to step out of her comfort zone was a such touching gesture.

The third and final day was the day to B.L.E.S.S. — a day of reaching out to strangers to be a blessing to them. We were all feeling uneasy and fearful, but I tried to look calm and confident so as not to discourage them. As we went out in pairs, I sensed the pressure that the youth I was with was feeling. So I tried to put her at ease by telling her that we can just give it three tries and even if those end up in rejection, we don’t have to do more. It seemed to allay her fears. I was pleasantly surprised that as we went on, she felt so encouraged that she persevered even after experiencing more than three rejections. She wanted to keep on blessing regardless of the outcome.

 

Unlearning Pre-Conceived Notions

Those three days taught me so much about the next generation. It was an unlearning of my pre-conceived notions about them and learning what was really in their hearts. Spending time and sharing those experiences with them showed me how I have misunderstood them. I saw their intentionality, genuineness and compassion. I saw how they can be very enthusiastic and fearless in serving God when given unconditional encouragement and support. And how humble they were to admit they needed to know more.

They shared that Generations Camp is a place where they don’t feel judged. I thought to myself that maybe that’s one big thing that we can do for the next generation — to withhold our judgment, give them room to make mistakes as they explore and learn, and just be beside them to support and encourage.  I realised how important it was to be willing to learn from each other and about each other. And it can all begin just by reaching out.

 

Heart Aching to Pray and Love

After this year’s Generations Camp, I found my heart aching to pray for the Joshua generation and to love them as the Lord loves me — to see the goodness in them and to extend understanding, encouragement and grace.

 

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Daily Devo

Daily Devotional Journal

Scripture:
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3; 3:1-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4
Mon, 28 November 2022

1-2 Thessalonians Revisited: Establishing the Walk

Observation:

What significant observations can you make about discipleship and
disciplemaking in these passages?

Deeper Reflection
IN THE 1970’S, WHEN I WAS A YOUNG BELIEVER AND DISCIPLED by a Navigator, 1 Thessalonians was seen as a letter of Paul on following up new and young believers, especially chapters 1 to 3, from which we could glean principles for disciplemaking. The Thessalonians were young believers whom Paul was forced to leave abruptly by strong opposition against him (Acts 17:1-9). They were left to fend for and feed themselves spiritually – and in adverse circumstances, facing persecutions and suffering afflictions (1 Thess 2:14; 3:4). Paul was fearful that they might fall apart spiritually and fall away from the faith under the onslaught of Satan (1 Thess 3:5).But the Thessalonians did not just survive spiritually but thrive, growing in “work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope” (1 Thess 1:3). Faith, love and hope are fundamentals in the Christian life. And they are grounded in and grow out of a living relationship with God characterised by a consistent, faithful walk with God. The Thessalonians’ faith, love and hope were “growing abundantly” and “increasing” (2 Thess 1:3). Their abundant growth shows that Paul had laid a strong and firm foundation in their walk with God by discipling “each one of you” personally (1 Thess 2:12). The “word of God” that Paul fed them continued to be “at work” in them as they now fed themselves the living Word of God (1 Thess 2:13). And further and deeper disciplemaking took place when Timothy went to “establish and exhort you in the faith” (1 Thess 3:2).True discipleship will not stop there. It wants to give by discipling others.
Application:

How can I grow from discipleship to disciplemaking?

Prayer:
Lord, teach me the way of Your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep Your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my eyes away from worthless things and turn my heart toward Your statutes.43
43 Adapted from Psalm 119:33-37 (NIV)

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