FES News and Updates (Impetus Apr 2021)

MELT 2021: Continuing Under COVID

From 9 January to 17 March 2021, the combined polytechnic Missions Exposure Leadership Training (MELT) worked yet again under the heavy influence of COVID-19. Typically MELT involves an overseas trip to a partnering student movement so that our young poly leaders get hands-on interaction with locals and mission work. We heavily modified MELT in 2020 as it was affected by the closing of national borders. We modified MELT again this year as even having overnight camps for our youths below 18 years proved challenging. Yet, leadership training still went on. Here is Josephine Surya, a Year 1 Biomedical Science student from Singapore Polytechnic, reflecting on her MELT experience:

“I decided to join MELT without much hesitation as I had felt God open the door for ministry to me through this programme. And rightfully so, I was able to grow spiritually and develop my leadership skills in student ministry. Since it was my first time participating in such a programme, I was initially nervous – worried that I lacked many qualities and attributes. But I was reminded that God looks at the heart over one’s capabilities and strengths. I also felt grateful that God has provided me with an excellent team of brothers and sisters in Christ who are my age and share a profound passion for serving God’s kingdom. Although we came from various denominations and backgrounds, we were still able to work in tandem with one another, allowing me to expand my worldview on Christianity. Through MELT, I learnt what it means to truly trust God and not lean on my own understanding. I learnt to tread on God’s path with humility and servanthood in uplifting His kingship. The experience was truly a blessing in my life and I constantly thank God for providing me this platform to serve His kingdom.”

Dialogue with an Open Heart and Mind

On 1 February 2021, 12 students from NUS ISCF and the Indonesian Buddhist Society participated in an interfaith dialogue. 30 students from NUS ISCF and the NUS Muslim Society gathered for another dialogue on 8 March 2021. The purpose of engaging in these dialogues was to listen to each other with an open heart and mind. In doing so, the ISCF desired to show empathy and reflect Christ’s love to friends of a different faith. James Yaputra, who is in his final year of Computer Science, reflected on his experience after participating in both dialogues:

“I got the chance to participate in the dialogues conducted by ISCF with the Indonesian Buddhist Society, and with the NUS Muslim Society. As someone who was born and raised in a predominantly Muslim country, and who grew up in a Buddhist family, I was surprised to learn that there was still so much I did not know about these faiths. I learnt the importance of having such dialogues to help us better understand those of different faiths, and how this understanding equips us to better share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes, I find myself coming into these conversations with preconceived notions, knowingly or otherwise, and these can hinder me from connecting with them meaningfully. Another lesson I learnt is how important it is not only to answer questions regarding our faith as it is. Questions that non-believers ask may reveal their struggles and doubts with the faith more broadly, and we need to be able to address these concerns as well.”