Testimony & Thanksgiving: CAYA – My Solace and Encouragement

by Ethan Mark Chia, 21

At the beginning of NS, it was a steep uphill climb for me. I was not accustomed to a life of regimented order, and a rigid schedule. Being in SCDF, it was even tougher as none of my friends had been assigned this posting before. I felt like I was walking into unknown territory and that there was little support for me. When I was posted to my unit, I had a large workload on my shoulders and big shoes to fill.

I sought out a community that I would be able to confide in and to share my experiences with. Thirsting for God, I also struggled to find how God could be present and work through me on this National Service journey. That is when I found CAYA on the OYP website and though nervous, I decided to give it a shot – I had always wanted to be more involved in OYP activities and I was excited to grow my faith in a new community. Even in the very first session, what I found was a community of like-minded brothers, finding God through the everyday events that happened in National Service – who came not only from a wide variety of vocations, but also from all walks of life.

For more testimonies by our NSFs from CAYA you may want to check out:

I found the community a source of solace and encouragement, and because of the motivation that I had from my brothers, I was spurred on not to lose my God even while being in a situation I could not control. Instead, I was firm in my resolve to hold Him ever closer to my side, as my Shepherd, to teach me how to lead and how to be a role model to my peers around me.

The environment of openness in CAYA is a true embodiment of the community’s name – I could come as I was and share my experiences and stories with a community keen to refine my faith and bring me ever closer to God. When I reached my Operationally-Ready-Date, I had grown from a recruit who was fearful and confused to a section commander keen to embody the values Jesus had as a leader, nurturing my own men and encouraging them on their own journeys. I am glad that I had the company of my brothers to see me through this journey – the fruition of the spirit of camaraderie that CAYA had nurtured in me.