Testimonies from Shomerim-Ebenezer Retreat
13-17 June 2023

We truly thank the Lord for His grace and mercies in preserving us
through the Covid pandemic and allowing us to have another Shomerim
and Ebenezer combined retreat in Mersing after a 5-year hiatus. The
retreat took place from the 13th to 17th of June, at Resort Lautan Biru.

We thank God for providing us with a suitable venue for our retreat, a
place isolated from worldly distractions, allowing us to fully focus on
learning God’s Word and truly enjoying the sweet fellowship with one
another. We also thank God for Mr and Mrs Raymond Tan for keeping the
venue clean upon our arrival and for their warm hospitality towards us
throughout our entire stay there.

The theme of this combined retreat was, “A Dying Church…What Can
God’s People Do?” Upon first look of the idea of a dying church may
seem rather demoralising, however, the main focus of this theme acts to
remind us that revival is of the Lord, and we must fulfill our duties as a
church to seek it.

We thank God for the speakers who could serve during the retreat as well,
for Pastor Clement as our main speaker and Deacon Hong Hao who led in
both morning devotions as well as the workshop. Through the
consideration of God’s Word across 8 thematic messages, Pastor taught us
that it’s not a question of what can God’s people do but rather what must
God’s people do. We must therefore have a heart that truly seeks revival.
Deacon Hong Hao also covered in detail the various aspects of Christian
fellowship over the 3 morning devotions. Our study of this topic was
further supplemented with the workshop on, “The Duties of Christian
Fellowship”, where campers were able to practise the application of the
lessons learned as well.

There were 19 campers who could attend the retreat this year. We thank
God for His enabling in clearing up our schedules and allowing us to
gather for a blessed time of learning His Word. Amongst us were many
who served in various areas as well & we thank God for their labour of 
love. Indeed the Lord provides as there were no lack of hands from the
preparation of food, games & outing to pianist & chairmen, everyone
served with much zeal unto the Lord. It is my prayer that this attitude of
serving with a willing heart does not end with this retreat. May everyone
in church, regardless of age, willingly rise up to serve, as we remember
that it is a privilege to give our service unto the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast,
unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as
ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

May the Lord continue to work in the hearts of those who attended the
retreat. May the Lord also grant us more opportunities to have more
combined retreats at Mersing in the coming years.

Brother Gershon

We thank God for His grace through the Shomerim and Ebenezer
combined retreat from 13th to 17th July at Resort Lautan Biru, Mersing.
There were about 18 members in this camp. The theme of this camp was
“A Dying Church…What Can God’s People Do?” The camp master
conveyed that the focus of this camp was not on a dying Church but how
God can revive the dying Church. If God does not revive the Church,
then the Church will die. Ezekiel 2 – 3:1-3 records that God sent Ezekiel
to preach the Word of God to a people who rebelled boldly and without
fear. Here, God began to revive the people who were far away from Him
through His people. When we talk about the dying Church, we must
realize that it is always God who begins to raise up the Church. He uses
His people to raise up the Church by proclaiming the truth of the Word of
God in Church.

Besides that, we must be aware that when the Church dies, we can’t do
anything or we can do nothing as we are sinful human beings and cannot
understand the truth nor to do God’s will. However, by His grace, He
awakens us and saves us so that we can walk in the light and truth. God
does not use everyone to resurrect His Church, but only those who are
born again and will obey the truth of God’s Word. Thus, when a Church
dies, what should God’s people do? The answer is God’s people must be
born again, repent from sin, do God’s Word and proclaim the Word of
God. If not, the Church will never be revived. Without the preaching of
the truth of God’s Word, the Church will die. We see many churches
today are actually dead, but they are not aware that they are dead. If the
Church does not exalt Christ and does not preach the Word of God, the
Church is actually dead.

We thank God for the speaker, Rev. Clement Chew, who expounded
God’s Word in the eight sessions. We have learnt a lot from God’s Word
and to understand what is a dying Church. At the end of each session, we
discussed a number of questions to help us better understand each topic.
What was discussed were related to the problems faced by the Church
today. We also thank God for Rev. Clement who answered questions in
the Q n A session.

We thank the Lord for Deacon Hong Hao who led the morning devotions
and workshop. We learnt how we can be our brother’s keeper and to
encourage and edify one another in Christ. Encouraging our brethren is
the duty of each of us who calls himself a Christian. Hebrews 10:24
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good
works.” This verse reminds us to show our love in Christ and to help our
brethren grow in Christ.

We thank the Lord for the camp master, Brother Desmond Yeo, who
worked hard to plan and help make the combined retreat run smoothly for
the glory of God. We also thank God for Brother Gershon who served as
the assistant camp master. Thank God for enabling several activities
during the retreat to run smoothly, such as the games and picnic. Thank
God for the fellowship at the dinner table, where we encouraged and
cared for one another. We also thank God for bringing all campers to the
camp and for the prayers of the congregation in Tabernacle Bible
Presbyterian Church.

May the Lord continue to work in our hearts to live for Christ and to be a
good testimony wherever we are, especially in our Church. May the Lord
bless our Church to be a good testimony and to proclaim the Word of
God. We pray for the Pastor, Preachers, Elders, Deacons, to be faithful to
follow God and exalt Jesus Christ as well as to preach God’s Word

Brother Willem