SHINE 2022: Thanksgivings

Ezekiel giving thanks on Day 2 (middle)

Ezekiel Ho, Temasek Polytechnic

SHINE 2022 was my first ever retreat. As I entered reluctantly, I had the mindset of being here simply to make new friends. On the first day, Fr Brian immediately called that out – that this was the wrong place to be if I was here for social reasons. Trying my best to then approach the retreat differently, I came into Day 2 feeling more open and ready to be here for God. As I gave just this small Yes to God, He already began to speak with me. In the morning, we were invited to write down one truth that we would like to claim that day, I wrote “Jesus is forgiving” – coincidentally, that happened to be the day when the retreat covered the topic of Sin & Salvation, and confession was made available. That day, I experienced just how Jesus seemed to be working little miracles in order to reach out to me.

Another encounter that touched me deeply was during a praying over session, when a brother shared that he saw an image of 2 doors, one leading to Jesus and the other leading to worldly desires and pleasures. That was something I related to very much: since young, I have become obsessed of with my life goal of making money for my parents’ retirement, that I haven’t been able to see God in my life at all. The brother then continued “Even if you pick the door to worldly desires, you are not trapped in there forever. You can always come back and take the other door to Jesus as it’s always open”. These words spoke directly into my heart, as it restored exactly the worries, doubts and fears that I had kept secret in the depths of my heart. It released me from the lie that I’m too far away from God and that I can never turn back to Him again.

After this retreat, I feel like my faith has been strengthened greatly. I desire to have more of God in my life, and I desire to live in His light as I begin my Polytechnic journey. Amen!

Kimberly with her CG (second from the left)

Kimberly Bristol, Singapore Polytechnic

Coming into the SHINE, I was really excited as I felt like I have been losing grip on my faith life for awhile. I doubted my own faith and my identity as a Catholic because I was afraid of how others – my friends and family – would perceive me. I wanted to reconnect with my old self, to find that missing piece of love that I was yearning for.

Throughout the retreat, I have encountered God in ways that I never thought would happen to me. I didn’t realise the amount of pain and fear I had bottled up inside until the Lord took it all away from me. During SHINE, I was showered with God’s warm embrace, I was brought back to his warm embrace, and I felt more at peace with myself. Leaving this retreat, I have learnt to own my faith proudly, and claim every truth that is laid out on me. I have learnt to be courageous and be Christ-like in my relationships with family and friends, and in my everyday life.

Shye-Anne with her CG (rightmost)

Shye-Anne Brown, Laselle

I came into this retreat timid and afraid, but I knew I had a hidden desire to seek more and to know more. I’ve always yearned to be part of something greater. All I had to do was just take the first step, and the first step was this retreat.

I received so many truths and so much love, both from God and the people around me. I formed more friendships than I thought I would because I’m usually shy and afraid to say hello. I allowed myself to be vulnerable for the first time in a very long time and it ended up healing me so much. It was so inspiring to be surrounded by living testimonies of God’s love and power.

I felt so incredibly moved whenever I look around during praise and worship. The joy and love that filled the hall is something I will never ever forget. This retreat has become a point of transformation and u-turning back to God. It has changed my life for the better. I’m so excited to continue journeying with my brothers and sisters in Christ, because this is just the beginning!

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