By BEATRICE MOK and IVEE TAN
JOURNEYS. Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Paul
all made theirs. All
of us make ours.
For 27 youths, their journeys crossed paths as they reached a crossroads of their lives. They all made the same decision: to dedicate two months of their holidays to God, grow closer to Him, delve deep into His word and seek out His purpose for them. Little did they realise that joining TRACkers was going to change their lives radically
TRACkers is a two-month programme targeted at youths who have finished their "O" or "A" Levels (or army) and are seeking to deepen their relationship with God. The programme is called "a journey of discovery in the pursuit of our destiny in Christ", and aptly so. TRACkers is organised by the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) Board of Youth Ministries.
The programme is split into two phases: the first being a month-long immersion into God's Word, the second being an overseas mission exposure. For this year, the TRACkers were split into three teams of nine, and sent to Chiang Mai, Laos and Cambodia - each led by an experienced mentor.
In the first phase, through the lecture-style sessions conducted by mostly pastors and teachers from Methodist churches, we discussed crucial issues such as repentance, faith, and the Lordship of Christ; understood more about prayer and intercession; and were imparted skills such as inductive Bible study.
Through the lectures, we saw God revealing Himself to us, convicting us of past sins and hurts, and leading us to repentance and healing. Encouraged by our mentors, we journalled diligently and saw God's hand working everywhere: around us and in us.
Undeniably, one of the most meaningful lessons we learnt was on the first day, when we were told to draw our "tombstones" and write our own epitaphs. It was not only a poignant way of making us consider how we were to live our lives; it also signified us dying to our worldly self and picking up the cross to follow Jesus.
Throughout the programme, this issue surfaced repeatedly: to surrender our lives to the Lordship of Christ - to continually deny ourselves and let the Holy Spirit guide us.
The equipping lecture phase culminated in the mission trip, which served to reinforce the skills and lessons learnt. Each team had a very unique experience, from ministering to villagers in Chiang Mai, to visiting a rubbish land-fill (inhabited by countless children) in Cambodia, to cross-border troubles and a religious clampdown in Laos.
We learnt the meaning of faith, obedience and unconditional love as we applied God's truth to our daily interactions with locals, missionaries and our team members. We were challenged to put aside self-interest, be disciplined, and to step out of our comfort zones. We learnt to be prepared for everything, anything and nothing, and simply trusting God in every situation.
The mission trip put us all in an environment where we had such an acute awareness of the presence of God in everything we did, everywhere we went. Even after we returned and had our debrief and reflections, we could still see God working in us, crystallising the lessons we had learnt and directing us to set goals for our future in Him.
Truly, TRACkers has been a life-changing experience for all of us. It has produced a batch of youths who have come to such a great revelation of Him, and are yearning for more.
Youths of our churches need to be grounded in their faith. The church needs to equip them with skills to navigate in an increasingly obfuscated world that seeks to confuse and lead them down the wrong path.
TRACkers can be that place for our young people to be discipled, guided and empowered as they reach the crossroads of their lives.
Through TRACkers, youths will be challenged to seek God's calling for themselves and be responsible stewards of their lives.
As one part of the Body grows, the church benefits as an entirety; one more well-girded youth adds one more citizen in God's Kingdom.
Beatrice Mok and Ivee Tan, from Trinity Methodist Church and
Bedok Methodist Church respectively, are graduates of TRACkers
2007, which was held from Jan 3 to March 2 this year.
Ministry to children at a mission trip.
Dedication of the TRACkers at their graduation night. At left is the Rev Paul Nga, Director, Youth Ministries (TRAC).
A rubbish land-fill in Cambodia.
- All Trinity Annual Conference pictures.