When I first signed up for the first PREP session in Singapore in June, I had no expectations. It wasn’t because I didn’t know what PREP was about or hadn’t experienced it before. Of course I knew we would be learning about Pursuing Responsibility with Excellence Purposefully(PREP). I had attended PREP two years ago in the US and it was a marvellous experience. Rather, because the environment, culture, and facilities were so different, such speculation would be futile. And truly, the Singapore PREP experience was like nothing I had experienced before.
Being such a small area, most of the students in Singapore and Malaysia have worked with each other several times before and had contact outside of ICC events. Because of this, the ice-breaking period was over very quickly, as compared to PREP sessions run in the US which brought together students from all over the country, some of whom had never met before or had only met virtually. Having bonded together relatively quickly, it allowed us to set about tasks in a more organised and united fashion. Of course, this didn’t mean we knew everything about everyone. Being in such close contact and for 9 days taught us the different ways people worked as well as each other’s strengths and weaknesses. This understanding is extremely valuable especially for those of us who would be joining the Student Leader teams in the upcoming year.
Having PREP in Singapore also allowed us to do more things than what a regular PREP shift in the US would be able to do. We had to opportunity to volunteer with Willing Hearts and Keeping Hope Alive. Willing Hearts is an organisation that runs a soup kitchen, and provides meals daily to over 6000 needy individuals in Singapore. While most of us were enlisted to help in the packing process, a friend and I had the valuable opportunity to help on the delivery runs by dropping off boxes of food either at distribution points or at the beneficiaries’ doors. When volunteering with Keeping Hope Alive, we got to visit rental flats and distribute porridge and dumplings to the low-income or elderly residents living there. What touched me most was the smiles on the elderly residents faces as we gave them food, chatted with them about how they were doing and asked if they needed help.
As the house we were staying in is not as large as the Training Centre in the US, there was less maintenance work to be done which meant that we could spend more time together in worship, devotion, or playing games. Our devotion sessions were a series of podcasts by Andy Stanley in which he talked about taking responsibility for our life. My biggest take away from the podcasts was that regardless of how much opportunities or talents we are given, God demands the same amount of responsibility from us. Did we use what we were given to help advance God’s kingdom? This question prompted me to reconsider if I am fully taking responsibility for the gifts that I have been given, or have I just been lazy and let those gifts sit in a corner and collect dust.
At PREP, I gave myself the challenge of creating one video everyday for 10 days to document what the inaugural PREP experience was like. Not only did I manage to achieve my goal, I also mentored a few other participants at PREP who had an interest in media. Being able to do this was such a wonderful experience and so it is now my goal to pass on my passion for media to my peers and those younger than me. Be it talks, workshops or training, I want to responsibly use my gifts by sharing my knowledge and passing on my skills. Something I’m really aspiring towards is coming back next year, if my National Service schedule allows, to run Media PREP in East Asia, a training very much similar to PREP, but focusing on being responsible in our use of media. I have benefitted so much from the training and mentoring of Area Leaders Aunty Daphne and Aunty Cassandra, ICC Creator of Experience Wendell, ICC Media Producer Caleb, and so many more wonderful people. It is my dream to see a fully fledged media team formed in Singapore and Malaysia to take, not just the message of ICC, but the message of the gospel and spread it all around the world through the power of media.