Growing through ‘tracking’ Christ

Team Kroursa (Cambodia) playing with bubbles with children from an orphanage in Cambodia.
Team Tumatawa (Philippines) with mothers, from the women’s ministry in Laguna, Philippines, with the team’s self-designed tote bags.
Team Tumatawa (Philippines) with some of the youths they made friends with as part of the street outreach ministry in Laguna, Philippines.

“God gave me a vision!” shared Jan Chiang, 19, from Sengkang Methodist Church (Chinese Annual Conference or CAC). “God’s face was peeking out from the right side of what seemed to be the centre of a temple – and that’s why I chose to go to Cambodia.”

Jan had prayed about which country she should visit in the TRACKERS programme that she had signed up for.

“I discovered a new perspective of God as my heavenly Father. I discovered anew that God is not only my God, but everyone else’s too. I learned what it means to love God’s beloved, his people, and not merely my family and friends.”

This was Jan’s experience in her first week of the mission trip phase of TRACKERS, a discipleship programme for “youths in transition” organised by the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) Youth Ministries.

Jan continued: “My team visited Angkor Wat on our day of rest and recreation at the end of the mission trip. As we were walking down the road leading to the temple, I saw the sun shining between the centre and right towers. Immediately, I recognised this image as the one God had shown me when we were praying for the country He wanted us to go to.

“Even in a place where other religions are so prevalent, God is present, and His grace and mercy extends to everyone. He is the God who is more powerful than anything else, yet loves both the Khmer and us, drawing us to worship Him. God’s surpassing love for His people certainly inspires me to love them too!”

There were 39 youths in total from 16 Methodist churches. Nine of these youths were from CAC churches. They embarked on this “adventure of faith” from January to March this year to Sit (lectures and lessons), Serve (overseas mission trips and local internships) and Surrender (faith and character formation) while being exposed to different traditions of spirituality.

These three movements – Sit, Serve, Surrender – are based loosely on Richard Foster’s book Streams of Living Water.

This year, our Trackers graduated on April 6, and we pray that the Lord spoke in a special way to each. To God be all praise and glory!

Jesus challenged me to live out His commands
David Lim, 21, Bukit Batok Preaching Point – Barker Road Methodist Church (TRAC) “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” In retrospect, my three months in the TRACKERS programme have truly been God’s fulfilment of this promise from 1 Thessalonians 5.

Last December, God called me to join Trackers and showed me that it could fulfil my desires to be more assured of my identity in Christ, know His purpose for my life, and be awakened to the reality of His presence each day.

He also impressed upon me that the overseas mission trip would let me witness and participate in the work He was doing elsewhere, as a global God. God faithfully granted these desires – even when I had forgotten them midway – and He took me on a journey of truly experiencing Him.

Through the lecture phase, I learnt to wrestle with God in prayer, lead spiritually, evangelise and love fellow disciples in the exemplary way Jesus commanded us to do. God challenged me to move from merely knowing in the head to living it out in my everyday life. This took a lot of painful surrender and obedience, but I have never felt more joy and assurance that I am walking in His will.

A constant reminder of God’s never-changing faithfulness
Angelyn Ong, 19, Bedok Methodist Church (TRAC)
TRACKERS has given me the perfect platform to reflect on my life; to see how God’s faithful hands have always been carrying me. Many times throughout these three months, God has reminded me that His faithful hands will never leave me.

Learning about His faithfulness during the lecture phase and seeing how God was indeed faithful during the local and overseas missions phase reminded me that His faithfulness will never change. Even when I fall off the narrow path, He has helped to strengthen my faith.

Through TRACKERS, I have also learnt to appreciate the Methodist community a lot more. Interacting with my fellow Trackers, people who are similar to me yet have their own different stories to tell, was very eye-opening for me.

Romans 10:17 says: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” It was refreshing to hear a Tracker’s testimony every morning. I have been very encouraged by just seeing how each of them lives out their faith in small and big things, and how they deepen their personal walks with our Maker. Every day spent in TRACKERS has inspired me to want to grow closer and closer to Christ.

A turning point in my life: meeting God in a personal way
Jonathan Phay, 21, Wesley Methodist Church (TRAC)

Over the past three months of lectures and missions, I have gained knowledge and understanding of the Christian faith. More specifically, I have learnt and experienced how Christianity applies to my life, and how much Christ desires our relationship with Him to be personal.

Prior to Trackers, I had never truly grasped the depth and intimacy of the relationship I could have with Christ. Though theologically I understood this, I had perhaps subconsciously assigned to God the role of an almighty grandfather in the sky, one who charts out the overarching trajectories and major events in life, but who was removed from the minutiae of everyday occurrences.

However, through the many occasions in TRACKERS during which we were encouraged to spend time alone with God, wielding only pen and paper, I learnt how to seek out His voice in the stillness. I have come to be a better listener of God through TRACKERS, and time spent alone searching out and discerning His voice may have seemed strange and awkward at first, but now assumes an intrinsic value of its own – spending personal time with my God and Saviour, just as one would with a loved one.

I firmly believe that my journey in TRACKERS has been a definitive turning point in my faith, and my three months here have offered me a revelational, transformational platform to continue my pursuit of a personal and intimate relationship with God – one that I have always desired. Perhaps, you may desire it too.

From L
Phay. -R: David Lim, Jan Chiang,
Ong, Jonathan

Pictures courtesy of TRACKERS

The Rev Raymond Fong is the pastor in charge of TRACKERS this year and Assistant Director of the Board of Youth Ministry in the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) of The Methodist Church in Singapore.