Testimony & Thanksgiving: Community, My Second Family

Olivia Tian
By: Olivia Tian

I joined 1 Peter when I was in my final year of university. At that time, community to me was like a social club and it also allowed me time to spend with my boyfriend who was in the community as well. However after graduating, I came to realise the importance of having a catholic community outside of my work and 1 Peter became an integral part of my life.

I initially felt as though I was not considered an official member of the community, rather I felt that I was like a “plus one” in the community. Hence my involvement and commitment towards the community was minimal- I did not understand why and how anyone would want to put in any effort towards the growth and development of the community. I felt detached towards the community and felt that as long as the community and its activities stay compartmentalized, all would be good.

However I was proven wrong. My boyfriend and I had a big argument and we were close to breaking up then. I thought to myself then that if we broke up, then naturally I would leave the community and no one would care or think too much about it. During one of our suppers I broke the news to some of the members of the community and what surprised me was that everyone rallied around me to offer me advice and support and it ended with the community praying over me and for me. After that over the next few days the members constantly texted me to see how I was doing and to offer up their support and prayers for me. I felt touched as it dawned onto me that I was being accepted as the person as I am with my imperfections and struggles and that here was a group of people who would be walking down this road with me.

To me now 1 Peter is like my second family. Like a family we have our disagreements and we hurt others while getting hurt along the way. However there is always reconciliation and it makes me more mindful of my words and actions towards others. During CGs on Fridays, I am constantly reminded that God is truly present in each and every one of our lives and listening to the sharings of my fellow community members makes me want to get to know God more and it constantly reminds me to be as Christ-like as possible in all that I do. Like a ship returning to its harbour, I return to 1 Peter at the end of a busy work week. Where my secular friends and colleagues are out enjoying the start of the weekend, I come for CG where I share about my struggles, worries, fears, joys and triumphs knowing that I am not being judged but supported and affirmed.

I also used to think that community was all about being holy and prayerful and only talking about God. However recently a group of us planned a three day vacation together just touring Singapore and we had a lot of fun throughout the process. We even have walking/ running groups to make sure that we all keep fit, and each walk/ run starts with a prayer to keep all of us safe and happy. I do not think that we simply threw God out of the equation but rather we managed to enjoy fellowship with one another while keeping God in the centre of everything.

My most memorable memory of the community will definitely be when my boyfriend proposed to me after our AGM last year, after which the entire community gathered around to pray for us. Knowing that the community was involved in the process of the preparations touched me deeply, seeing how excited they were for us. I felt blessed to have my second family around me to witness this milestone event in our lives.

Someone in the community once joked about us growing old together and having CGs with our walkers and wheelchairs. For me I thought that it was a very beautiful image and looking forward, I feel excited growing old with my community through the different stages of our lives. I am proud to say that I am going to grow old with my community!

 

To find out more about the 1 Peter community, please click HERE.