In this series of testimonies, the incoming leaders from Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Yale-NUS share their faith journey and their decision to lead.
Part 1 of this series can be found here: http://oyp.org.sg/thanksgiving-testimony-university-communities-oyp-part-1/
SIM Catholic Society (SIM CS)
I am Jonathan Chng, currently a student studying in SIM, also the incoming President of SIM CS. I am a cradle Catholic and have been serving in church since a young age as an altar server and helping out in various church retreats. However, my faith was just for that hour on Sundays and I did not have a close relationship with the Lord. For many years, I held onto many past hurts and it was only in recent years where I experienced His infinite love and mercy that I began to deepen my faith. And since then, my conversion has been an ongoing process.
My faith journey in SIM CS has been amazing so far! I still remember vividly stepping into SIM CS freshmen orientation retreat last year, it was 2 days after I had touched down from World Youth Day, and to be honest I did not want to be there because I was tired and jet-lagged. However, I was met with many friendly people who approached me and made me feel welcomed despite my tiredness. SIM CS has since provided a place for me where I can share vulnerably about my struggles in school and my personal life. And having experienced the Lord through Christ-centered friendships, I felt that it was my turn to give back to the community.
The desire to serve the community also came as a casual remark from Melissa, the previous president, on me becoming president when we were serving at a retreat together last year. But I did not really think about stepping up to serve until they opened the link for members to express interest in serving the community. Somehow, I felt the nudge from the Lord to sign up, it was the working of the Holy Spirit!
The desire to serve came even more strongly, as I participated in this years’ School of Christian Leadership (SOCL), where the Lord planted in me a deep desire to make SIM CS a safe place where people can come to share vulnerably and to get to know more about the faith. He affirmed me that He will not give me anything that I am not capable of doing and to continue in trusting in His divine plans.
Since then it has been a journey of allowing myself to trust even more deeply in God’s providence for me and the community. Saying yes to Him has blessed me with a wonderful team of people to work with in the coming year, and in knowing that I have fellow brothers and sisters in this journey.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
My name is Bennett and I am part of the Refuge Catholic Community at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). I took up the role of President this year and this is my second year of leadership in the community. I am currently on my internship term (SUTD has a very peculiar time-table) and will be starting my final year soon. I am extremely thankful for the presence of a Catholic community in our school as we support one another through one killer school term after another and remind each other of the fullness of life that we already possess. Sometimes engineering for its own sake can leave one jaded and disenchanted, as we seek one technocratic solution after another to solve problems in society. These are often short-lived. Refuge reminds me that God has given me a gift, one that can edify and add value to society, and this is the meaning that colours my entire school life. Done in love, our actions will transform the world.
Our community is also a very peculiar one by nature of our school- made up of future programmers, engineers and architects – basically doers, and our members are all over the place, working on projects, collaborations, on exchanges. Admittedly, there are moments in which it is a struggle to commit to God who is physically intangible, versus creating something that is of immediate value or purpose, which seems like a more constructive option. Our members are very practical, and if I may say, efficient people. Yet God comes to us in various ways, and there are many in community who have experienced His touch in their lives and come away forever transformed – maybe not externally, but totally changed inside. A software upgrade, if you will.
I stepped up to leadership because I was pained that so many of our members struggle with over-commitment, relationships and other issues, especially during the toughest parts of the term. If only they would cling to Jesus, instead of trusting in themselves. Also, I am grateful to the older generation of SUTD alumni who have set up what is truly a refuge in a busy, secular university that sometimes likes to go into overdrive. Going into the next year, I really hope to bring the fire of faith to SUTD, to let our members know they are loved by the same God who made the earth, created DNA, and died on a cross for us.
Yale-NUS Ubi Caritas
Hi, I am Rachel Lim and Ubi Caritas in Yale-NUS began in 2014 when three unlikely friends found common solidarity and Christian love in their small and humble fellowship and desired to share this with other Catholics on campus. As the name suggests, Ubi, meaning wherever or whenever, and Caritas, meaning love, charity and dearness, is a campus family centered on Jesus Christ and exists in union with the greater Catholic Church. Today we have grown considerably and God’s grace continues to send hungry sheep to our sheepfold.
One of the earliest and fondest images inspired by the Holy Spirit within our community is that of the people gathering around a fire — we come for many different and sometimes personal reasons but in the giving of ourselves to the fire and to each other, at the end of the day God meets all our needs and blesses us with good company.
Some of the things we do throughout the semester includes attending weekday mass across the road at Holy Cross, holding weekly cell groups and theology or bible study, as well as having regular meals and hangouts. As far as possible we try to organise and celebrate the popular Christian celebrations like Easter and Christmas together with our protestant as well as non-Christian friends and faculty from the larger Yale-NUS college. Praise the Lord, for he has been generous with his graces and has truly walked with us and made his presence known in our campus. Thank God for he continues to lead by his hand in our small but growing community, and directs our hearts everyday towards him.