by Jamie Lin
The first time I entered 2 Lorong Low Koon, I thought I was doing a favour to God. It had been a few months since I had last attended a Sunday Mass, and an even longer time since I had even prayed. By chance, I had been there when they were doing their last call for participants for Combined University Retreat in 2017. My plan was to attend one one retreat, ‘do my duty to God’, and return to normal life after. That day, as I gazed around at the sea of strangers in this strange compound, I was both curious and confused — who were these people who loved God so much and why did they seem so… free?
Over the next few days, I met many people who challenged my idea of Catholicism. Instead of a ritualistic, traditional, conservative church, I encountered a vibrant, young, and free one. I met many young men and women who knew and loved the Lord, and who spoke with so much conviction and love. I had felt so empty for so long, and this freedom and joy I saw was a breath of fresh air.
Since then, my life has taken a wildly different turn from the trajectory it was on before I had come to truly know God — and for that, I am forever grateful. What I thought was a favour to God, was actually God’s favour to me and upon me. I did not expect to gain anything out of that first encounter with OYP, but it was within its confines that I first found myself falling in love with God. Within those four walls, I have met so many of my dearest friends, struggled through hardships, and rejoiced in good times. Through the ever-changing seasons of my life, OYP has always been a safe place to return to, where I know I am always welcomed for who I am.
For nine years, the halls of OYP have welcomed hundreds of young people. Its walls have been decorated a thousand times over for various retreats. Its tent space has stretched, stretched, and stretched to fit the ever-growing number of young people who are inspired to live for something greater — Someone greater — in a world constantly telling us living for ourselves is enough. Its arms have opened wide to accept people from all walks of life, who simply desire to fulfil God’s unique dream for their lives. Today, I simply thank God for this great mission He has planted in the hearts of the shepherds He has called to build His church, on this little plot of land in Hougang.
Happy 9th birthday OYP! Here’s to raising up many more generations for Christ!
As we celebrate OYP’s 9th anniversary, it is only fitting that we do so in a spirit of deep gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord. He is the one that continues to write the stories of our dear young people and brings healing to their lives. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing nine such stories as we celebrate the past nine years. We thank you Lord for your faithfulness! #OYPTurns9
See more of our 9th Anniversary thanksgivings:
OYP Turns 9: Fullness of Life
OYP Turns 9: His Vessel of Love
OYP Turns 9: The Saving Grace of Community
OYP Turns 9: He Moved Me Into A New Way
OYP Turns 9: Jesus Will Always Welcome Me
OYP Turns 9: My Incredible Adventure with the Lord