Living Ark Retreat Testimony

Written by Arielle Chua

I went into the Living Ark community retreat thinking that it would be a relaxing time with community, but as God revealed to me and many others, He had better plans for us this time. He made use of our five loaves and two fishes, and moved my heart once again in ways that are beyond anything I could dream up.

He spoke truth into my heart through, among many other things, the simple state of being that is communion. Of being together, one, and united in Him.

Communion, is the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially on a mental level. And looking back at the retreat, everything added up to this one idea.

Communion was us sharing two bungalows for two days, and sharing resources too—drinking water, food, blankets, and even toothpaste. Communion was our dedicated retreat committee sharing their time in planning, and sharing their hearts during each of their sessions. Communion was the sharing of joys at seeing how far each one has come with their faith journey. It was the sharing of tears through hearing the struggles of others. It was sharing a common voice lifted in prayer to God. It was sharing of the most Blessed Sacrament, twice in one day! It was sharing both smiles and unflattering moments while running around the chalet and solving puzzles. It was sharing the gift of praise, and giving our hearts to God in the form of song. It was uniting our hearts in prayer for a much loved member who is right now starting a journey in School of Witness.

These and many others make up the small parts that form communion, yet the concept is much bigger and far more incomprehensible than the sum of these little things. To experience a small taste of communion within these two short days somehow gave my heart a certain peace and joy, to cap off a long period of personal struggle.

And it was only through this time of communion that I received something else. I got to truly witness how far each member has come. I am so overjoyed to see each member slowly creating a bigger and bigger room for Jesus in their hearts. Some of these rooms may be more equipped and others more plainly dressed, but they exist and how He delights in dwelling within us! As a shepherd, I am very privileged to be a witness to all of this and it was an edifying moment for me.

And now I realize that all of this is the perfect lead up to the next leg of Living Ark’s journey. How perfect is that? It was many weeks ago when the shepherds decided on communion as our next focus, and here it is, returning to me in through the entire experience of our community retreat! Praise the Lord for this!

I pray that you too, may find sweet peace and joy in the experience of communion—remember that it can be found in the littlest of things!

PS In the few days that have passed since, I have come to have this song in my heart that tells of the awe and joy I’m feeling right now.