Over three days and two nights, nearly 80 of us met in an idyllic setting at Changi Cove this past week for our church camp. It had been three long years since we last gathered and it was a wonderful reunion. We experienced anew what it meant for Many Hermonites to be in One church. I was filled to the brim, for my spiritual, physical and emotional hunger was satisfied. May I share my reflections using the acronym C.A.M.P.?
Firstly, C for Christ’s significance. Through the book of Joel, we were brought face to face with the terrible disaster that awaits on the Day of the Lord — a disaster that makes the devastation of the Israelite army by locusts seem harmless. Yet, at the end of each session, Pastor Ben Thompson pastorally pointed us to the significance of Christ, for in Him, there is comfort and hope eternal. In the first session, he reminded us that it was never too late to repent and return to the Lord, for God is “gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster”. In the second session, we were reminded of the huge significance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The sending of the Spirit with the ascension of Christ enables us to have a true and abiding relationship now with our Heavenly Father, and we have the promise “that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved”. Finally, for all who are in Christ, at the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus, we can look forward to abundance: “And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the Lord and water the Valley of Shittim.” By reminding us of the significance of being in Christ when the Day of the Lord comes, Ps Ben provided me a biblical perspective on the issues and challenges I currently face. I was encouraged to walk wisely and Eph 5:16 make the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
Secondly, A for Adoration encouraged. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the midst of many voices, singing praises to God. The worship team at the camp so ably encouraged us in our adoration of God. The songs that were chosen and the spoken introductions were so apt in facilitating our praises to God. God worked so marvelously through them, for what we sang was so appropriate for each session. As we sang our hearts out to the Lord, the function room vibrated with our testimony of praise, enabling us to remind each other of God’s character, His redeeming work and His sacrificial love for us. Each praise session edified me, for those around me sang with conviction the truths of Scripture, and it prepared my heart to receive His Word.
Thirdly, M for Meal Fellowshipped. The quality of the meals served suited every palate. From the oldest to the youngest, there was more than sufficient variety. This is one camp in which only good feedback was received about food quality. But more than that it was the conversations that gladdened my heart. Thanks to the camp committee, there was adequate time for leisurely meals, which allowed conversations to flow. I thank God that campers were so willing to sit with different people at each meal so that we could re-connect with as many people as possible. Even young married couples were willing to sit apart so that they could interact with others. Not only that, I observed that many took the opportunity to bless others by serving them with the food from the buffet and to also take care of the children so that the parents could have time to eat and fellowship. Thank you, Lord, for filling my emotional tank to the brim through the meal fellowships.
Finally, P for Participation united. They say that a family that prays together stays together. And that was what we experienced as a spiritual family at the camp. We were led as a church to pray for our mission partner Somsart, for the Community Outreach at Henderson, for Ps Ben Thompson’s family and ministry, and finally for one another. As we prayed for one another in my group, two of our campers, who are naturalised Singaporeans, shared that they experienced the bonding of family at the camp. Though they did not have extended biological family in Singapore, they were however able to experience it at the camp. The warmth and inclusiveness that they and their family experienced was significant. It was a great encouragement to them that they have the Hermon family to depend on as they walk life’s journey. I thank God that we experienced the Dew of Hermon at the camp, for how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell in unity.
May I encourage you further with the testimonies of other campers:
“I was looking forward to this year's church camp, to spend time with fellow Hermonites, as there have been limited opportunities for interaction in church due to the pandemic. I enjoyed being spiritually fed by Dr Ben, the discussion sessions and being physically nourished by the food at the hotel. Many thanks to the camp committee for organising and coordinating everything, the worship team for leading us in songs and praise, and to God for watching over Hermon as a church.” – Priscilla Chan
“This is my first time ever at a church camp. When my daughter Malar Thomas invited me to the church camp organised by Mt Hermon, I gladly accepted. I thank God for the opportunity to attend this wonderful camp — I was so blessed to have received a feast for my soul through the book of Joel! I enjoyed the discussion sessions and am so blessed by all the sharing. I am so impressed and touched by the warm and loving fellowship of the church members. I am already looking forward to the next camp. Thanks be to God! – Mrs Sarojini
“As this was our first church camp as a married couple and also the first since the pandemic, we were looking forward to the fellowship with the Hermon family, as well as a good time of spiritual and physical rest away from the hustle of our work. And this camp exceeded our expectations in every way, from the programme to the worship/teaching/sharing/ prayer sessions, and even the food! Most of all, we deeply treasured all the meaningful conversations that we had with different members during the various activities and meals. We definitely can’t wait for the next camp and hope that more will be able to join us then!” – Dn Jiayi and Rebekah
“To get to know one another, camps are even better than CG meetings. We can get to know each other (preferences, viewpoints) during discussions, games and meals over many days. Since everything is planned, I don't have to worry about what and when to eat. Camps also provide me the discipline to be close with God. I've never dreamed of staying in a hotel in Singapore and this was a memorable first experience. COVID has helped me to realise that church camps cannot be taken for granted. I am thankful to God for being part of the Hermon family.” – Tan Wee Kok - Ps Daniel Tan