Testimony & Thanksgiving: Community As My Source of Joy and Strength

by Anna Tseng

Anna from SMU Fides shares her experience of God’s unceasing faithfulness and how her community has been her source of joy and strength! Read her testimony below.

Before coming into Kickstart, I was a typical Sunday Catholic who was comfortable with doing the bare minimum. Growing up as a cradle Catholic, I was spoon-fed with knowledge of the faith without sustaining an intentional relationship with the person of Jesus Christ.  I knew about Jesus but didn’t personally know Jesus HIMSELF. Much of my identity hinged on academic excellence, achievements and worldly definitions of success. I was spiritually very young and at that point before Kickstart, it was the transition period into university and I felt lost and uncertain of what this new phase of life would bring.  

As I entered Kickstart, I was slightly wary of how much I could receive from a short online retreat, yet nervous to encounter God once again in 2 years and desired to reignite my spiritual life.

Despite the online nature of Kickstart 2020, I have received much from it. The many reflective and thought-provoking sessions prompted much reflection and re-examination of my identity, priorities and relationships. In particular, a reflective exercise on the first night of Kickstart allowed me to become aware of my brokenness and doubt that I had been harbouring for some time. We were tasked to write all our fears and trepidation for university on pieces of paper and cast them on a small paper boat which we folded.  It was then that an image of a lighthouse shining through the haze of raging waters came to mind. It was truly comforting to know that we have a God who walks beside us and guides us even as we navigate uncharted, unpredictable waters. This reflection helped me understand my brokenness and awakened a desire for Jesus to be my guiding light in a world of change. My biggest takeaway is the truth that the Lord is not who abandons, but one who sees me, holds me and loves me for who I am, His beloved daughter.

Recognising the desire to ground my identity as a beloved child of God as I enter university, I joined Fides, the Catholic community in SMU, and started attending weekly sessions and CG. Fides is a source of joy and strength for me, and a community I am so thankful for. They remind me of God’s love even in the midst of the busyness of university life and point me towards Christ.  Truly, faith stirs faith, and being lovingly surrounded by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ challenges and inspires me to continuously deepen my personal prayer life, reminding me to lean on God with a child-like dependence. A quote by Pope John Paul II beautifully sums up my Kickstart journey and my invitation to you, “It is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else satisfies you”.

Will you allow yourself to discover the Lord’s abundant love for you as you enter university?


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