Empower is a discipleship and leadership retreat for Polytechnic, Private Diploma and ITE students. The theme of the retreat was, “You will see greater things” (John 1:50).
Despite being held online, God’s love transcended technology and screens; seeing the participants open their hearts and minds to allow Jesus to renew them! We share their experiences with you below:
Before attending the retreat, I felt that despite being in so many communities, my faith was slowly being lost. I focused on secular things, and attending Church became a chore. I attended a number of community gatherings but felt like I attended them for the sake of attending. The words shared with me seemed to fall on deaf ears.
I was invited to attend Empower and reluctantly agreed. Initially, I thought that I would not be able to experience God’s love and mercy as it was being held online, and it would be difficult to praise Jesus openly, learn more deeply about the faith, share the challenges I faced from day to day, and receive prayer from others.
However, I was wrong and received much more than I expected. Despite the retreat being held online, I still experienced Jesus’ love for me. I realised that I could receive His love if I just opened my heart. Despite not having face to face interactions with my facilitators and group members, I could still share openly with them. Through sharing, I learned that I am not alone in my faith journey and that there are others who are willing to walk with me and bring me closer to Christ. I learned about my faith more deeply, and how I am loved by God. I learned about the brokenness I feel, and about what it means to have wholeness in Christ, and I learned about having the faith and courage to be obedient to and follow the Lord.
Jesus showed me that I am loved and can take courage to believe in Him and continue to walk towards Him in faith. He revealed that though I may not know what His plans are for me, I should let Him be in the center of my life and let Him guide me to where he wants me to be as He knows me and what I can do. Lastly, I learned that until I am ready to commit fully to the Lord and live a life in Christ, I will continue to be stuck in a cycle of being near yet distant with God.
With that knowledge, I am going to start making the conscious effort to integrate God in my life by my actions, and acknowledging my brokenness. In order to be whole, I need to allow Jesus into my life fully. I realise now that God is the only one who can give me fullness of life.
This is just the beginning, and every journey begins with one step. I am going to continue on this journey no matter how many times I may fall because I know that God will be with me every step of the way.
Will you allow Him to walk with you in your journey as well? – Johann Mikhail Hervas, Nanyang Polytechnic
I was a person who never really made an effort to include God in my life. My life revolved around my negativity. I was quick to anger, and would usually direct this anger at myself for fear of hurting others. However, in doing so, I inadvertently hurt those around me. This kept me away from God because I was not sure that He would want a child like me.
During the retreat, Jesus kept reminding me that He has always been by my side and had never left me. He had been waiting for me to open the door of my heart and embrace Him. I was struggling a lot to let my guard down because I was fearful that He would change His mind about me. I can say that although He did not make His presence known to me in a big way, He has truly shown me that I am loved by Him. This simple experience of His love has softened my heart of stone.
Now that the retreat is over, I desire to rebuild my relationship with Jesus again and remain in His presence even in times of dryness. I also desire to make an effort to not become angry so easily and think about what Jesus would do to allow myself to temper my emotions. I also desire to no longer compartmentalise Jesus and instead, make Him the centre of my life. – Dani Fuentes, Republic Polytechnic