We are family

That was the theme for this year's church camp. Sorting through my photos from camp, I was reminded to finish writing this entry.

Is it bad to have a favourite church? I fell in love again with the church I loved, a group of believers who taught me, and continues to teach me, much about building a God-centred community, rather than building a social clique.

After being with mostly similar aged people my age, it was refreshing to be reminded about the full spectrum of life, from the very young, to the very old and dying. I loved sharing a room with a lovely lady my mum's age, who loves books, and an elderly lady who was there when our student accommodation was a nursing home. I loved waving hello to the beautiful baby with a serious face, and seeing his grandparents dote on him. I loved spending time drawing with the girl who could possibly be mistaken for my sister, reliving high school life with a teenager who's using the same textbook as I did years ago, listening to the dessert making adventures of all the ladies who are into baking, or hearing stories of parents who worry about their children growing up and becoming indepedent, and being listened to and encouraged by pastor and his wife.

I love how inclusive you are, and how even the bratty teenagers show love to, the man with a probable intellectual impairment, but who nevertheless has such joy, thankfulness, and humour. I love how you are Australian, Chinese, Singaporean, Korean, Japanese, Nigerian and more, being family through the same Jesus, though we look, talk and think differently. I've talked to so many friends who have lived in Australia for years but feel that they have nothing in common with the typical Caucasian Australian. And I share those sentiments (though I spent more of my life here than not). But it was in this church, and in this town (through classmates, and others I met through school), that I realised that the gap isn't as wide as we imagined, and that depending on the community I'm with, I can feel completely at home in this country though I don't have curly blonde hair, or pale skin with freckles. Even though I have zero interest in booze or footy.

I love how you share your lives with each other, and with me. I love how openly you share prayer requests, and pray for each other from the heart, rather than sharing prayer in a guarded, generic way. And in a short time, even after a year away, how we can talk about your children and grandchildren, your siblings, your schools, your work, your farms, your ministries, your struggles, the illnesses and deaths in your families, the joys and celebrations, with such familiarity. Truly living the words: "rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn." - Romans 12:15

Thank you for being such a warm community, a beautiful channel, and shining example of God's love. It's a love that inspires me to keep learning to love others and build communities that reflect God's love. May you all continue to love God, and love your neighbours.



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