Experiencing Jesus through His people

Daryl TanFeature

Experiencing Jesus through His people

It takes a village to raise a child. For Melodi Ng, this saying reflects her personal faith journey. From her early years of being nurtured in a devout family, to her experience of comfort and healing through the Church and particularly the OYP community, she has received much from the Lord. Now she passionately serves the Church as a youth worker, in deep gratitude for what she has received.

I have discovered the joy of being a part of a Church that brings me Jesus through His people. The Office for Young People (OYP) has taught me a newfound way of encountering God here on earth! We need not wait till we are in heaven.

 

Receiving Him

God placed many individuals in the different seasons of my life, to remind me of His faithfulness. Growing up, I had parents and relatives who were great witnesses of God’s love, and taught me how to love God in return. One of my aunts used to write postcards to me filled with bite-sized sermons. Another aunt, who is also my godmother, would always answer any questions about the faith with a great sense of humour. As an adult, the first two years of my career were a dark period of my life. It was my friends and the people I was surrounded with, who pointed me back to the Church.

OYP who accompanied me on my faith journey was crucial in rediscovering my faith. I had heard of them partly through social media and word of mouth, but particularly because I lived just down the road from their compound. When I first came to know who they were, I was met with a lot of liveliness and warmth from the staff and communities. Everyone seemed so connected with each other and so full of joy.

 

Growing in Him

Unknowingly, as I began to spend more time there, I started to feel a sense of belonging amongst this community of worshippers who were like-minded in their pursuit of God. I began to attend the various events there, such as Nox Gaudii (Night of Joy) and retreats like Treasure, and slowly my love for Jesus began to grow.
I gradually developed a deep love for the Church. I was introduced to various young adult communities in OYP.

It took me a while to get used to being surrounded by big groups all the time, and as an introvert with a lukewarm faith, my journey back to the Church was initially uncomfortable to say the least. Yet there was something irresistible in encountering Christ Himself every single time, despite the discomfort. I strongly believe that God has a hand in the people He chooses to bring together.

The young adult community in OYP that He led me to has become a place of refuge for me. We meet every Saturday afternoon at OYP for spiritual formation sessions, prayer, praise and worship, Mass and fellowship. No longer a lone ranger, I now journey with fellow pilgrims towards heaven. We see how God works through our lives – a reminder of Christ’s faithfulness and everlasting love. More importantly, it is where I can freely share my joy and struggles, a place where I am heard and loved.

I have also received healing in areas of my life that I never imagined possible. Without them, I am not sure how much longer I would have taken or how much more difficult this journey would have been. Using OYP as His instrument, God planted a seed of faith within me that made me desire Him daily and lead a fuller life. I learned to be authentic with myself and to stop placing my identity in everything else but Him, and in turn grew to be more confident of myself.


Giving Back to Him

After my joyful return, I wanted to do my part to help build the Church. With my OYP community, I served at last year’s Catholic Youth Day at Mass, and befriended and prayed for people. It was a great joy for us to share His love with others after having experienced it ourselves. Just like how Jesus called Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip and Nathanael, the young people of today are also invited to simply “come and see”, then to be transformed into fishers of men by Jesus Himself.

The Church needs more people who embody Christ in their lives and are willing to offer their time, talent and treasures, so that others too can be guided back into the Father’s house. Each of us individually has a role as a “body part” (as St Paul would say) of a living Church who strives to grow in unity and holiness towards the Lord. In choosing to lead a life in the way of Jesus, our actions, whether big or small, is significant in helping to build the Church.