When the committee first met to discuss the theme for the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (WFCMC) 8th Young Leaders’ Conference (YLC), little did we realise the full meaning of choosing the theme “Wonderlast 心游记”. In the end, the conference truly turned out to be a “journey of the heart” (literal translation of the Mandarin theme) as we stood in wonder of the everlasting God who watched over us.
The 8th YLC saw a total of 327 participants from Australia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore, and Taiwan. The WFCMC Discipleship and Nurture Committee also joined us for the opening ceremony, held in Batam at Harmoni One Convention Hotel, on 8 July 2016.
It was truly good to see people of different nationalities gathering and worshipping together. After the Opening Service and dinner, we shared our various cultures across churches in a Cultural Night. During the event, the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) President the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung and a select group of organisers were weighing the decision to relocate the conference to Singapore. At the close of the Cultural Night, the relocation of the conference was announced.
The committee worked through the night, securing ferries for the participants and making arrangements together with the Home Response Team headed by CAC Vice-President Ms Kwok Wan Yee. Although news of the relocation was unexpected, the packing-up went smoothly with participants’ cooperation, and we left Batam by 7.15 a.m.
Upon arrival in Singapore, the participants were greeted with breakfast prepared by the Home Response Team. The team had also worked through the night to find accommodation for the overseas participants at Ruth Home, Grace Methodist Church, Kum Yan Methodist Church, Queenstown Chinese Methodist Church, Toa Payoh Chinese Methodist Church and Charis Methodist Church. We had to provide sleeping bags, towels and simple toiletries for them.
Singaporean participants returned to their homes before continuing the conference later in the evening. Some stayed to play host to our overseas delegates and spent the day with them.
The relocation was a massive operation that was made possible only by our connections as an Annual Conference.
Our entire programme also had to be changed. The Rev Dr Niam Kai Huey graciously took the first session, reassuring the participants and encouraging them in this journey together. We ended early the first night in Singapore so the participants who had been travelling could rest.
The next morning, the host churches took the participants out for breakfast and hosted them for their morning worship services. Our Singapore young leaders were also involved in hosting our overseas participants in the afternoon and had many good interactions with them. The conference resumed in the evening with plenary sessions by the Rev Dr Wilfred Ho (Mandarin Track) and the Rev Ivan Tan (English Track), which the participants responded well to.
The conference drew to a close on 11 July morning with our Closing Service. The Rev Winnie Ho from The Methodist Church, Hong Kong (MCHK) shared the message. She also represented the MCHK in receiving the WFCMC banner, as the MCHK will host the 9th YLC in 2019. During the service, the Rev Dr Chong gave an altar call for young people to give their lives for full-time ministry. Many young leaders responded in faith and obedience. It was an uplifting sight to see young people responding to God’s call so freely. The conference ended with lunch where everyone exchanged farewells till 2019.
Truly, it has been a journey of the heart as we placed our trust in the everlasting God. I am most thankful to everyone who helped in one way or another – the list is so long that I could not possibly list everyone. However, the Lord sees the service of His faithful servants and He does not forget. Surely the Lord extends His kindness and grace to each one of us as we go on this 心游记.
For more pictures and videos, visit www.facebook.com/wfcmc.ylc2016
Photo by Hon Chee Seng
The Rev Jasper Sim –
is Director of the Board of Youth Ministry of the Chinese Annual Conference.