The Temasek Polytechnic campus community was a huge part of my faith life during poly. I came to know of this community through SHINE 2018, when I was just entering my first year.
Back in secondary school, I was active in my parish, and even in a ministry, so I thought I understood what community was, and I wasn’t really interested in joining another one. During the SHINE retreat, we were introduced to and encouraged to join our campus community, but I was still quite reluctant and unsure. Yet, at that time, I was fresh out of the retreat and even though I wanted to, I didn’t know how I was supposed to live out a life for Christ. I had heard about the secularism in poly and I was afraid of losing my faith the moment I started my studies.
When I talked to a friend of mine, she encouraged me to join and pointed out that everyone in the campus community would all be in a similar stage of life, and how it would be different from the community life I thought I knew. As such, after some thought, I decided to go for a few sessions to “try it out”.
God definitely worked through my curiosity. I’m a rather shy and introverted person, so at the start, I was very afraid to be vulnerable. I was worried that if I shared my struggles, others would judge me for it. Despite all my fears, everyone in the community was always very willing to encourage me and give me space, and I surprised myself by finding joy in attending the weekly sessions. As the weeks went by, I started to realize that my peers in the community were facing the same struggles as I was in different areas like friendships and studies. The phrase “Faith stirs faith”, is something that really applies to my community life. Sharing with my peers and seeing their vulnerability inspired me a lot, and encouraged me to continue coming for the sessions. As I slowly opened up to the people in the community, the weekly sessions became something I actively looked forward to. The community became a space for me to recentre myself back onto the Lord, no matter how good or bad my week was.
As I grew with the community, I was invited to discern stepping up to leadership, and this call came with a lot of worries. I had a lot of negative scripts that stuck with me such as ‘what if I make mistakes’ or ‘what if I’m not the right person to lead the community?’ Yet, as I surrendered these fears to the Lord, He assured me that He doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called. I was a leader for 2 years, and as I served the Lord in the community, the community continued to be a safe space for me to share my struggles, and continued to be a source of joy for me. Of course, there were still moments where I struggled. When I would be preparing for sessions, there would be times where the negative scripts would come back, and I would start unnecessarily worrying about how prepared I was and the fear of failure would start to creep in again. But it was in those times that I learnt to turn to the Lord and ask Him to help me, instead of getting caught up in my negative thoughts. The encouragement and affirmation of my fellow leaders and community members also assured me that Jesus is always with me.
Eugenia (second row, second from the left), with the TP Community
Looking back, I am able to see how stepping up to leadership was also a call to mission. As a leader in my campus community, I was called to share Jesus with the rest. After all, since I had encountered the Lord, I wanted others to encounter Him too. The Lord empowered me to reach out to others, to invite them for sessions, or to simply check in with them. Even though it was tiring sometimes to choose constantly to give myself to the Lord, it was a very joyful time of service for me. Through community, the Lord has shown me the importance of journeying together with others. Whenever someone in the community is struggling, we can always count on the other community members to lend a listening ear and to bring them to Jesus in prayer. Journeying with community has also helped me to bear fruits of faithfulness and joy in my life, where I am able to stay faithful to Jesus even when it might be difficult.
Today, even as I graduate from Temasek Poly and the community, and as I enter into a new stage of my life, the truths I received then are still truths I hold close to my heart. It has taught me to continue saying my ‘Yes’ to Jesus, no matter how small each yes may be. With each small step I take towards the Lord, He will make good of it.