Press On! was the theme of our combined church camp in Batam this year from 14-16 June.
God impressed upon me to Press On! in 3 areas.
Press On! in Obedience
I remember just nights before the camp when CM and I were talking about room arrangements or even as we were on our way to Batam we tried to consider division of labour in taking care of the children, my dad and our luggage, we were not able to reach an agreement. I found myself telling CM that we should decide when we get there, meanwhile throwing these burdens to our broad-shouldered Abba Father. I am grateful we didn’t dwell on the ‘what/when/where/how to do’. It was stressful enough just to think about it. I really didn’t have enough brain space for that 😦
It was when I arrived in Batam that I was reminded of God’s faithfulness when He called me to go to the Church Camp in Malacca with the 3 children two years ago. CM was overseas then, so I had to handle the children, our luggage, money and passports all by myself. The thought was overwhelming but God gave me peace to go and He saw to ALL my needs.
This year at church camp, I realised He gave me more to handle. As I reflected on this, I think God didn’t forewarn me about the increased responsibilities. Hahaha… perhaps God wanted to relieve me from that anxiety. During the camp, in addition to CM being physically with us only about 12% of the time (minus time for sleeping), I had my dad with us. My dad, a pre-believer, was generally not fussy but because he had health issues, he would tire easily. So he needed more time for many things – bathing, dressing, eating, walking etc. It wasn’t easy trying to accommodate everyone. It was especially trying when LA threw up on the first day, was a little feverish on the last evening and when my dad had diarrhoea on the first night. Everything happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to wonder ‘why’. As I submitted to the Lord, God remained steadfast, healed them both and made straight all my paths.
Proverbs 3.5-6 (NIV1984)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
As I arrived at each place, be it the checkpoints or on the ferry or the hotel, and as we participated in each of the activities, God gave me wisdom and showed me fresh approaches to handle the different situations. While there were increased obligations, the burden was light.
Matthew 11.28-30 (NIV1984)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Truly, Jehovah Jireh gave me the energy and rest moment by moment. I thank God for carrying me on His Mighty shoulders as I Press On! during the 3 days of the church camp.
Press On! in Service
In addition to seeing to the needs of the children and my dad, God allowed CM to rope me in to help him with the impromptu translating of announcements from English to Mandarin. Of course, I had to help my husband. 🙂 I thank God that as I took my place next to CM, God helped me connect with the audience and gave me the appropriate words to say. While I did feel split in many directions, I knew I was not going solo because God was with me. He gave me His peace as I obeyed Him in serving my family joyfully.
The children were generally very sensible and independent. The brothers and sisters-in-Christ from the different congregations were very kind and helpful towards my children and my dad. These angels offered timely help and expressed their concerns, showing their love for my dad and my family. I was touched by their warmth and generosity and in the ‘laying down of themselves’ for us although I knew many of them only for a day or two.
1 John 3.16-17
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
As I sat through the theme talks in Mandarin, I had more wonderful opportunities to interact with the campers in the Chinese and Hokkien congregations. I made many new friends of different ages and learnt what it meant to Press On! in serving and caring for others, particularly those in the golden years.
Press On! in Ministry
As my father is more fluent in Mandarin and since I had to take care of my dad, I decided to accompany him for the talks in Mandarin. The children, who had been attending Sunday School classes planned by the Chinese congregation, naturally also joined their friends for the children’s program in Mandarin. Do you see how God had it all figured out for me?
Reverend Dr Philip Siew was our speaker. His stage presence and fiery passion for the kingdom of God seemed rather incongruous with his petite stature. You must hear him speak to know what I mean. He was an inspiring speaker, one who allowed the Lord to work through him for His purpose and glory. Rev Siew spoke of the rather confusing times that we are in and how, being the salt and light of the world, we have to root ourselves in His Word, be in the world but not of the world and dare to take a different stand if God has called us to do so.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Rev Siew’s message affirmed what I had read and believed. Many times when I felt like an oddball as I thought through issues and pondered over concerns especially with regards to the children and the family, God affirmed me and gave me answers to my 4Ws and 1Hs. This was one of those times.
I was urged to Press On! in the ministry of prayer and encouragement for families, especially for those who are in Christ.
Would you Press On! too?