Preparing well for Camp

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Time certainly flies, and we’re almost midway into the year. And one of the key highlights of the year is our English Family Camp/ Chinese Retreat! As you’ve noticed in the church bulletins, we have begun to pray for the upcoming English Family Camp/ Chinese Retreat. These major events for the year are a little more than 2 weeks away. Excitement and planning are certainly stepping up as a lot of finer details need to be finalised and arranged prior to the events. As briefings are announced and announcements increase, this would typically stir even more excitement for those who have signed up. We are thankful that many were able to take leave from their work to attend this on an annual basis. This is important, and I hope that all who signed up this year – and more – will sign up again next year. But do we prepare for this the same way we prepare for our holidays, packing our bags, snacks, and food? Is there more to it that we should do? Ultimately, this is a church camp – a time for spiritual learning and retreat. Therefore, there is more preparation than just packing that we must view as being as, if not more, important than the physical.

I cannot emphasize enough how prayers have a great impact on camps. How much you benefit depends on how much you pray that God will give the messages to feed you. Many of you know and have experienced this. But we can easily take things for granted after repeated years of camp. Hence, I am writing this pastoral.

Pray for the speakers. This year, God willing, we will be able to have the messages delivered in person instead of online. In these uncertain times, we cannot take things for granted, and so must remember to pray that there won’t be any last-minute events that may prevent the thematic speaker from being able to travel here. But more importantly, the thematic messages are based upon our church theme for the year, a topic that is very pertinent to all of us because of the times that we are living in. Pray that God will guide the guest speaker to prepare messages that are needful to our congregation and situation. At the same time, I covet your prayers that God will lead me to His choice of topic for the thematic morning devotion messages, and grant the details for preaching. Pray together with us that these messages will do what the Word of God is intended to do – to be as “a fire … and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces” (Jer 23:29), to be “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12). The responsibility to feed is heavy, and God must be the Help to the Minister of His Word before it can minister to the hearts. This is what you must pray earnestly for. “Ye have not, because ye ask not” (James 4:2) – let us not fail in asking for His blessings!

Pray for your hearing. Even now, before the camp, let us pray for preparation of our hearts for the camp. Has your heart grown cold these days? Are there sins that you need to deal with in your life? Is something troubling you spiritually? Are you weak and heavy laden? Pray that the time of retreat at the camp will deal with the spiritual malady and lethargy in your life. Pray that God will grant you the needed illumination and conviction of heart. You must seek God’s help also for your own hearing so that the messages will speak to your heart and instil in you a sense of urgency to change – because of love for your Lord – and not just to listen and be unmoved. Plead for God to help so that you will listen to the sermons not just to answer the discussion questions but to know what you must do to repent, love Him more, and joyfully walk back in the straight and narrow path. Pray that we will also live a victorious Christian life – not just during or in the days immediately following the camp – but for the long haul till we see Christ.  And let us not forget also the children’s program, for the children are hearers too!  Pray that the lessons taught will cause the young hearts to turn to Christ and live for Him for the rest of their lives.

Pray for the fellowship. We encourage all worshippers to join the camp or retreat because this is a unique opportunity for us to fellowship together, like no other time in the year, though we may meet weekly. For the duration of the camp, we will stay together, eat together, have group discussions together, and of course, learn together, and even play together. Again, let us not take things for granted, but pray that everyone will “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3). Pray that this opportunity will enable us to increase our love and charity towards each other. And pray that it will result in lasting Christian bonds that will help us to grow together as a church family, mutually encouraging and praying for each other and for the church even after the camp and retreat. Pray that those who are newer to our church will have the opportunity to get to know others in the church better and build lasting spiritual friendships. Likewise, let us ask God also that our younger ones will learn to build edifying bonds, not just to enjoy fun together, so that they will stir each other to grow spiritually stronger as they grow up with each other in the church. Let us plead that God will use this camp to help BPCWA be a close-knit covenantal church family that will be united and mighty for His kingdom’s work.

Pray for other aspects. But before the camp and retreat, much yet remains to be done. Pray that everyone (but especially the key planning and serving personnel) will not fall sick, God willing, so that no one will not be hindered from going to or serving at the camp. Also, seek God’s Hand that there will be good weather as we drive up and down from the camp so that we can all arrive at our destinations safely. Pray for the many logistical aspects that must be considered, even how to get the meals sorted out and distributed. Since this is a new camp venue where we are largely unfamiliar with the resort, the management, and the restaurateurs in the area, pray for wisdom to know how to address any issues that may inadvertently arise. Finally, seek God’s directing wisdom so that we will know whether to use this as a camp venue again for next and future years. This is something that we need much prayer support in, as bookings must often be secured a year in advance.

Even as the days draw near, let us most importantly pray that the camp and retreat will fulfil its purpose and cause us to –

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matt25:13)

Yours in our Lord’s service,