FES News and Updates (Oct 2021)
Reflections on FES National Conference 2021
The FES National Conference 2021 (NC21) with the theme “Cast Our Net”, was held from 24–26 September with about 90 students and staff in attendance. The conference focused on how digitisation has redefined our Christian identity and the mission of God. Below are some reflections on NC21.
Calvin Thenarianto (NTU ISCF)
NTU, Material Science and Engineering, Year 3
One of the reflection questions posed to us by Jeremiah during the first keynote session was, “What distresses you on campus?” After pondering, I realise that I am not distressed about the current situation on campus. When I attend class, I never really think of what gods my classmates in university may be worshipping (well, other than the bell-curve god). On further reflection, it may be because I still partially pay homage to these gods, the gods of grades and achievement. As such, it is a reminder for us to continue to engage and converse in our campus context.
Yet, in this digital age, our way of engaging others may need to change. Personally, it remains difficult to have deep, fruitful conversations digitally. Too often we just voice our opinions without truly listening and considering those we are engaging. This could be due to the format of the current digital platforms. However, if we want to have more meaningful conversations, a reflection on how to engage people and deliver our thoughts may be necessary.
Irvin Lum Jun Weng (SP ECF)
Singapore Polytechnic (SP), Biomedical Science Year 3
The biggest takeaway for me was to adopt a more missional approach to my digital life. As someone who grew up on games and memes, the digital space has always been used for recreational purposes. However, during NC, one key thing that stood out for me was the use of our digital life for the redemptive work of God on our respective campuses. This helped me reflect and see that even in a digital space, God’s work can still be done.
The most difficult thing moving forward for me is to continue witnessing for Christ on my campus. Classes being fully online, I struggle to reflect Christ to my classmates. Even the CF sessions feel more distant now compared to when we had physical meetings on campus. Despite all these, I pray that God will allow me and the CF to continue being His witness, be it through social media or our activities, in these digital times.
Jensen Chan Jie Sheng (NUS CVCF)
NUS, Year 3, Mathematics
The keynote sessions by Jeremiah prompted me to reconsider the way I engage with social media and the digital space – that I should be identical across my online and offline personas as well as be aware of the digital footprint I leave behind through my online activities.
I was challenged to find ways in which I can present the gospel through how I present myself on the internet. An area of consideration is how I can be less withdrawn from the world through being more purposeful and visible on my social media accounts so that my friends might be able to see Christ in how I live. Even in “anonymous” online spaces, I can be more careful to consciously reflect God’s goodness through what I post and say, and intentionally relate more with the people I interact with.
Learning to be a witness of Christ through how we present ourselves as individuals and as a CF in the online space remains an issue we need to work on together. In the new normal of this pandemic, the digital space is not just an accessory, it is a critical means through which we are called to be missional and proclaim the gospel to the world.
FES staff worker
Regardless of whether an event is held online or on-site, I think the largest hurdle has always been the inertia to be creative. In these digital times, the inertia feels even greater when working with digital tools that we are unfamiliar with and have been designed by others. As an FES staff, I am always looking for digital tools that transform the work we do, but I often feel limited by the tools available to me online and cannot find the specific tools needed for a particular activity in mind. Even if we do find a tool, many are too complicated to use or are still in their beta stages of development. In a physical setting where “the world is your oyster” there are not as many limits to what can be done.
While we work within the current limits of the available digital tools, and at the same time, explore the wide array of new technologies being developed and refined, it is important to continually reflect on how the CF can engage the campus through the digital realm, and on our witness for Christ in the digital space.
Listen, God is Calling You!
From 4–8 October, the Polytechnic Chinese Christian Fellowships (CCFs) held a Combined Bible Study Camp with the theme, “Listen, God Is Calling You!” During this five-day online camp, we studied Genesis 3:6–9, and had sessions on the following topics:
1. How to do Inductive Bible Study
2. Introduction to the Prophets
3. Old Testament Canon
4. Old Testament Overview
5. Biblical Narrative
6. Apocalyptic Literature
The first session on how to do inductive Bible study impacted me the most. I learned how to use the OIA (Observation, Interpretation, Application) method when reading the Bible. Most importantly, we need to find out the “5W1H” (who, when, where, what, why, how) and the “result” (so) by reading the Bible first. In addition, the fun part is that we can act in different roles while observing, like a policeman, lawyer, and director, to assist us in discovering the “5W1H” and the “result”. Lastly, I also learned to ask myself questions after reading the Bible to help me understand more and how to apply them in life.
Besides learning how to read the Bible more efficiently, I got to know the history of the Old Testament, especially about the Jews. I also learned the meaning of some terms used in the Bible, and how to look for messages from God in the Bible. Having exposure to the Prophets helped me to understand more about their experiences and see the difference in what we go through today.
I thank God that through this Bible study camp, I have learned many new insights but most importantly, I received the call and blessings from God!
Eve Tong De Sin (NP CCF)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Nursing Year 1
FES Singapore Celebrates IFES World Student Day
On 16 October, approximately 105 students and staff gathered over Zoom for a time of prayer for God’s work in the student world, focusing on the student movements in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia and Hong Kong. There was also time for the campus CFs to discuss, reflect and pray over how the pandemic has affected them as a CF.
It was heart-warming to listen to the representatives from several student movements in the region, share about the current situation in their country. The sharing by Theresa, a student from Myanmar, particularly stood out for me. After she described what it was like back in her country, it opened my eyes to see how blessed and fortunate we are in Singapore, where we do not have to worry about unstable political climates or having secure internet access for our church services and fellowships. I admire the faith of the staff and student leaders who continue to lead their respective groups even in these tumultuous times.
Elycia Choo (SIM SCF)
SIM, University of Stirling, Year 2, Sports Studies and Marketing
We praise You for the work that You’re doing among the nations!
Thank You for the testimony from our brothers and sisters in the faith – choosing to serve You and persevere in love amongst various personal and ministry-related challenges.
May the peace of Christ rule in their hearts, the Word of Christ dwell in them richly, and may all they do be done in the Name of our Lord Jesus.
May they rest in the truth that You are sovereign, mighty to save, and will be with them till the end of the ages.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Kalista Wan (NUS VCF)
NUS, Medicine Year 4
Hearing how the student ministries both in Indonesia and Myanmar struggle to keep in touch with each other despite technological difficulties highlighted the blessings that I have taken for granted. In fact, it was a point that was raised during the campus CF discussion. I believe that we, as a CF, should lament over this reality – that many students are facing such challenges and suffering in these times. Being in a country where safety is a given and technology is always available, we have forgotten those with whom we are not connected. Realising this has given us a new conviction to make full use of the technologies we have here in Singapore to reach out to others, especially those whom we rarely see.
To be a signpost community and make a more meaningful impact in our community, we resolved to start small by reaching out to our members first, particularly those who have rarely attended any fellowship sessions since the pandemic started.
Naomi Faustina Limarno (NTU ISCF)
NTU, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Year 3
Pray with Us
In the coming months, FES will be planning and preparing for 2022. Specifically, this involves coming up with new initiatives, programmes, events, and a budget. In light of the transition towards an endemic state and with traveling becoming an option for students and staff again, we expect yet another year of many transitions. Pray for this season as we prepare for 2022: to embrace new opportunities and also to recover what might have declined this past year.
Pray for the many upcoming CF camps in November and December. Besides planning the themes and content, there is always the added challenge of responding appropriately to the ever-changing safety measures. As far as possible, students would want to meet up physically, and to have opportunities to experience Christian fellowship beyond their screens. Pray for wisdom and guidance for all the planning committees.