FES News and Updates (July 2021)

VCF FOC: Back to Basics

The NUS Varsity Christian Fellowship Freshmen Orientation Camp (VCF FOC) 2021 was held recently from 12–15 July. Isabella Cai (Sociology, Year 4), the Ex-Officio in the FOC Committee, gives us a glimpse of what took place during those few days.

As the everchanging COVID situation continues to pose much anxiety in our hearts, it is easy for us to lose sight of our sovereign God and His commands. Reflecting on how we have all perhaps been jaded from a period of wandering in the desert, much like the Israelites in Moses’ time, the camp direction was set based on Joshua 22:5.  “Back to Basics” sought to be a time for freshmen to make new friends, and be a space for all involved to realign ourselves to the Father’s heart.

While most of the camp was conducted over Zoom, the 110 freshmen were able to enjoy one of the four days participating in programmes on campus! The theme talks, delivered by Rev. Allan Lee, further served to encourage freshmen to think about how they were to love the Lord, walk in His ways, and serve Him as they enter a new season of life.

Apple (back row, left) with half of her Orientation Group (OG) at the NUS campus for their offline day of camp.

Apple Koh, a nurse who is returning to school this August, shares:

My fondest memory was the physical day of the camp. We came together for workshops and games, dwelling on God’s Word while having fun. Despite being more mature in age than my friends, they had been super encouraging and assuring. I was glad to share my life stories with them. Just as the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I am looking forward to my NUS journey with all my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Andrew (bottom image) and his OG participating in one of the Amazing Race station games.

Andrew Lam, one of our overseas campers, shares:

Listening to the sermons by Rev. Allan, highlighting our relationship with God, intentions, and aspirations in university, coupled with the environment I was in, collectively allowed me to look introspectively and deeply when sharing with my OG, even though they were people I had just met. Despite calling in on Zoom from overseas, I felt that the orientation reached a depth in conversation and communication that is unusual to achieve for orientation camps, and it allowed me to build stronger bonds.


Work Style Conflict Resolution

On 3 July 2021, FES, in partnership with Dr Tan Soo Inn of Graceworks, held a workshop for the various CF Excos on work style conflict resolution. Dylan Kwok (Art, Design and Media, Year 2) who currently serves in the NTU CF Exco as Small Group Coordinator, shares with us what he learnt from the session.

Dr Tan explained how conflict can arise even among mature believers who love God, and that the way to deal with conflict was not to avoid it but learn how to deal with it biblically.

But why do people have conflict? Is it because the people concerned have fundamental disagreements? A lot of times when people who work together have conflict, often the disagreement is over the practical implementation of a vision that they both share. When they don’t realise this and think instead they have fundamental differences, conflict arises.

Understanding this point was quite important to me. Often in a conflict situation, it’s very easy to believe that the other person stands for everything you are against, but when it comes to our colleagues in Christian ministry and fellow believers, this cannot be further from the truth.

Once we recognise that those with whom we have a conflict are not trying to antagonise us, then we can work together to find a solution.

Everyone has a different idea of how to resolve conflict and it is important to recognise how we as individuals like to resolve it: whether we like to compromise, to give in, or to be firm in our position. In any of these cases, there should be a willingness to work with other people.

But the part that stuck out to me most was what Dr Tan told us, that while conflict can be painful, acrimonious, and sometimes bitter, but when handled maturely and with Christlike wisdom, it can really strengthen relationships between people, and overall strengthen the organisations they work in. By clearing up misunderstandings and reaching a decision, opinion, or direction that everyone can work with, those in conflict can come out stronger and more able to work with each other.

As a final exercise, we got into groups and looked at common scenarios that CF Excos would face in the course of our planning. We role-played various roles so that we could empathise better with other members of the various Excos.

Overall, the session encouraged me to be more willing to confront conflict and work together with my fellow Exco members to come together to resolve our differences.


Pray with Us

On the week of 2–6 August, IFES will be observing a global week of prayer to gather in lament and offer prayers of hope. Throughout this week, Zoom rooms will be open to students to join in and offer prayers when they can. The week culminates in a special, global service of lament and hope on 6 August at 9:00 p.m. If you wish to find out more about the service, please email us, or check out: https://connect.ifesworld.org/networks/events/63147

In these past two weeks, there has been much that FES has to lament and hope for. We remember the tragic loss of lives at the River Valley High School and the basketball court. We also remember our international students from our CFs, many of whom have had no chance to return home even for a visit despite the escalating problems in their families and their home countries. I ask for us to remember, to lament, and to hope.