CSS FOC 2016 Testimony 2

To know that there is a family around to reassure and help us in every way they can within a larger community truly excites me as I know they will journey with me


FoC Group Shot


With the reminder of how great God’s love is, I write this in hope of Him knowing how grateful I am for Him. Writing this testimony is not something I would have ever seen myself taking the courage to do, but this was my experience at FOC 2016.

FOC 2016 was my first of the few camps I decided to participate in uni and my first true Catholic camp experience. I was excited to know more about God through this camp – but with excitement, also came fear about many things (ie. Not being able to socialise, share much about what I knew about God).

Coming from a small church community, I had not imagined the level of comfort and inclusion we would have during this camp. I shared with my group that with God’s guidance and grace during the tough year of 2015 – which was emotionally draining for my family and I – we overcame our trials. Through the sharing from each individual during various sessions, I could really feel God’s presence amongst us. Each one of my group mates was like a little ray of sunshine – a ray of Hope, reaffirming others and letting themselves be reaffirmed that God is always present.Listening to my group really inspires me to love and to praise Him even more.

A sight that I seldom ever saw was the Eucharist displayed in the monstrance. During adoration, I could not stop looking at Jesus and the beauty of His body. The sight of it was so beautiful, that is seemed as if His heart was glowing and beating in front of us. It was truly a heart-warming experience having Jesus open up in arms and embracing me, as I allowed myself to open my heart to Him.

Through the FOC, I have also encountered God through the people around me – especially the seniors who guided us along the way and facilitated each activity. Not only have they inspired me to serve God in my own ways, but also taught me the various ways to express my love for Him. To know that there is a family around to reassure and help us in every way they can within a larger community truly excites me as I know they will journey with me. It also reminds me that God is with us at all times.


 

CSS FOC 2016 Testimony

To me now, community is another type of experience.


I had an unexpectedly meaningful time at FOC. So if you’re wondering if you should turn up for FOC (or some other CSS activity) and happen to be reading this, stay with me.

I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about going at first, and entertained the idea of just staying home instead. I was involved in church ministry, but wasn’t really into the idea of a youth community. I listen to and play music a lot, but am not really into P&W. Previous events I had attended consisted of seemingly everyone around me enthusiastically waving their arms about while I awkwardly mumbled and shifted my feet left and right.

But the people in my life told me that it was a good idea to be connected to the university community, and a senior convinced me that I should at least give it a shot. So I went, with the intention of getting to know the people around and experiencing some activities here and there.

FOC turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The people I met were warm and welcoming (extra thanks to the seniors btw!) and I did learn many things about myself as well as gain exposure to the numerous insights kindly provided by others. I would say this alone would be a good reason to go, because now I realise that it’s good to hear stories other than your own.

During the very first sharing, I somehow managed to share a personal opinion/viewpoint which I had never shared with anyone before. That was unforeseen, and I would wonder later how it even came out of me at all. As the days passed and we did more listening, commenting and sharing however, I came to better understand what having a community is like. To me now, community is another type of experience. I realised I was missing the point earlier on when I was reluctant about the the whole idea of being reliant on a community and all that. It’s just…not about that. You can journey on your own, and you can journey as one of many companions too. You can do both at the same time. Different things can shape and enrich your faith journey. It’s hard to put into words…but anyway I’m glad that I made that first decision to join.

On top of that, God even gave me a P&W moment:) During Eucharistic Adoration, Beautiful Saviour started playing and I was captivated by both the melody and words. (I was very happy when the music team played it for the second time later, haha) It resonated with me, and the entire song and its message simply clicked with all that was in my head and heart at that moment. It was moving, and I felt a deep sense of connection. Thank you!


CSS FOC 2016 Testimony: Isaac

“You are joy, you are joy,
You’re the reason that I sing” 

-Forever Reign by Hillsong

 Isaac FOC

Joining the Music committee for this FOC was not a hard decision to make, in fact, it was almost an instantaneous decision for me. When I heard that they were looking for sub-committee members for this FOC, I immediately felt drawn to the music sub-committee. This was despite having had no experience playing for Praise and Worship (P&W) and only playing a few times for Mass. Somehow, I just knew that this was what God called me to do, and personally I felt that since I had a good experience as a freshman for my FOC, why not pass it on and help make it a good experience for the freshmen this time around?

What surprised me was how much it proved to be one of the highlights of my faith journey and my spirituality. During music practices leading up to FOC, I initially felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of songs that the worship team was playing. I did not normally listen to praise and worship songs, so it was quite difficult to adapt. Thankfully, I had a fantastic worship team, who guided me and were very accommodating and Spirit-driven.

During FOC itself, God’s presence was truly with the worship team. Through the sessions each day, as I heard the voices of the participants fill the room with wondrous praise while I was playing my bass guitar, I felt amazed. Every person in the room was so willing to lift up their voices to worship Him. I understood then how my playing was an example of how I was just a vessel for the Lord to help others.

On the second night of FOC, during the Rite of Reconciliation, the worship team had to play for over three hours. Yet, we stayed strong. Towards the end, I remember a moment where the worship leader transitioned into a song that we had not practised before. Although I was initially caught off guard, I stayed calm and let the Lord guide me. It was that moment where I was playing, while the voices of the participants swelled, that I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit move through everyone in the room. It was a beautiful moment, and one that I would describe as a highlight of my faith journey, as I had never felt that feeling before.

I have always felt that music was one of God’s most beautiful creations, and it was really affirming to experience that through playing for this FOC. Truly, God moves in mysterious ways.


Isaac is a Year 1 going on Year 2 Political Science Major (and hopefully a History minor!) who was on the Music Team during this year’s FOC. It’s very fortunate that Isaac was able to encounter God much more deeply through his service during the FOC and thanks to him and many other talented brothers & sisters who contributed their musical gifts, the P&W sessions were really made that much more poignant and meaningful. If you see him around when school starts, don’t hesitate to wave and say hi to him!

 

CSS FOC 2016 Testimony: Helen

I felt God so tangibly and this reminder of my own heart burning within me, two years ago, set the tone for me when I was planning for this year’s FOC, together with the rest of the comm. Every decision and step has been taken with prayer and intercession, which is beautiful as it is reassuring that we are following God’s plan for this camp and listening intently to His vision for FOC

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Above: Helen (leftmost) at FOC 2015’s Community night!


It has finally come to the point where I can say we are less than a week away from FOC! I really hope you are getting excited to meet your companions and set off on this great journey.

Stepping up to be part of the FOC committee was no easy task. I was very keen on being on internship over the summer and thus was afraid of having too many things on my plate if I also had to plan for FOC. However God still lit a desire in my heart that burned so brightly, that I could not say no, and so that’s how I ended up being in the committee as the Programmes head 🙂 Nothing but joy has engulfed me throughout this process of thinking, praying, and planning together with my brothers and sisters in the FOC Comm. Although there have been stressful moments, and also worries about whether certain activities will work out, God has blessed me with a calm mind and heart that trusts in His grace and providence.

I thought back to my own experience as a freshman attending CSS FOC, and how greatly the eyes of my heart were opened up to God. My last retreat having been my confirmation camp, I had a very hesitant mindset, which was washed away soon after by the small, but impactful acts of love by my facils and fellow groupmates, and the prayerfully planned programme of the camp. I felt God so tangibly and this reminder of my own heart burning within me, two years ago, set the tone for me when I was planning for this year’s FOC, together with the rest of the comm.

Every decision and step has been taken with prayer and intercession, which is beautiful as it is reassuring that we are following God’s plan for this camp and listening intently to His vision for FOC. Whilst planning for this journey that you, our freshmen, will be taking, the comm has been on our own Emmaus walk, with revelations about God’s unending love for us, through each conversation we have had and through each step we have taken. May this camp be an offering of thanksgiving to our God who is Love and may we ask, as the apostles did, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road”?


Helen is a Year 2-going-on-3 English Linguistics major, and also this FOC’s Programmes Head. We thank her for sharing her perspective on how this journey in planning the camp has been! Indeed this upcoming FOC 2016 has been a labour of love and prayer not only for the Programmes team, but all the other Comm members as well – nevertheless, there is so much that we have received in the process as well! Indeed, as Helen puts it so eloquently, we have “been on our own Emmaus walk, with revelations about God’s unending love for us, through each conversation we have had and through each step we have taken”. We truly thank God for all the graces and guidance He has showered upon us in this process.

CSS members reading this – we hope this glimpse into the planning process will plant a seed in your hearts to step up for the next FOC comm!! And most importantly, we hope all the participants know we’ve been keeping you in prayer for the past few weeks and can’t wait to meet you in 3 days time 🙂

If you’re reading this, it’s past the deadline for FOC sign ups… BUT, nevertheless, head over to http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016 and fill up the form, then drop us an email (ASAP!!!) at cssfoc2016@gmail.com – we’ll see what we can do. 😉

When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS UTown)

CSS FOC 2015 Testimony: Lorraine

If there is one thing that I have taken away from FOC it is the family I have in the friends I made there. (…) Through sad times, bad times, times of disappointment and when I lost all faith and pushed everyone away, they were there to encourage me and help me stand up again.

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Above: Lorraine during a Praise and Worship session at FOC 2015!


Coming into Freshman Orientation Camp (FOC), I really didn’t know what to expect. When I registered, I registered alone so I had expected to see many unfamiliar faces and be an awkward wall flower because I did not know anyone haha. But to my surprise, I met so many of my batch mates back from when I was in CHIJ Toa Payoh and CJC. Instead of awkwardness it was like a mini reunion! But FOC was not only a time for me to meet old friends, it was also a time to make new friends and forge a community that would soon become so very dear to me. If there is one thing that I have taken away from FOC it is the family I have in the friends I made there.

Having went through a tough time in university it is this group of people, who I am proud to call my family and my community in CSS, which I made during FOC that pulled me through. Through sad times, bad times, times of disappointment and when I lost all faith and pushed everyone away, they were there to encourage me and help me stand up again. Without them, I would not be where I am today.

I encourage all those who are hesitant because they do not have a group of friends to go with. COME and you will see just how funny God can be☺️


Lorraine is Year 1-going-on-2, studying Life Science, and we thank her for the heartfelt sharing! Indeed one will soon come to find that the Catholic circle in Singapore is rather cozy 🙂 But more importantly, that we are all one in the family of God!

If you’re reading this, it’s past the deadline for FOC sign ups… BUT, nevertheless, head over to http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016 and fill up the form, then drop us an email at cssfoc2016@gmail.com – we’ll see what we can do. 😉

When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS UTown)

FOC 2015 Testimony: Sarah

Through life-giving conversations during FOC and beyond, I have continuously been inspired by the faith stories they have shared. To know that we were all equally broken but clothed in the blood of the Lamb, and desired to know and love our wonderful God really gave me the strength to pursue my faith. FOC itself also taught me how to be a Catholic student, not just a student who is Catholic.

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Sarah with her group at FOC 2015!


As I began to reflect for this testimony, I was slowly drawn into amazement at how the Lord has blessed me with a Catholic community; one which I never thought I needed, but has proven to be an immeasurably great gift.

I was a cradle Catholic, like many, and my family used to attend Saturday evening mass regularly when I was younger. Unfortunately, it was halted. Being a child I did not think too much of it, but by some stroke of grace, I continued to pray.

As I approached my Confirmation, I slowly recognised the heaviness of my sin. I nearly left the church without being confirmed, as I could not bear to be hypocritical about my identity as a Catholic. However, by another great stroke of grace, my Catholic classmates invited me to attend a Penitential Rite that Lent. It was there that I resolved to return to my faith, and experiencing Jesus’ presence during my Confirmation camp strengthened it. However, because I could not join the youth ministry, I continued on a solo journey of faith, thankfully with my faithful God beside me.

It was an uphill task, as there was tensions at home regarding my new practice. Attending mass alone was intimidating too. Many times I stopped, but somehow there was a desire to continue. Every mass, I would give thanks to the bread I had received, and pray that I would be able to again receive it the next week. It was only years later that it hit me how this sacrament was called the Holy Communion- because we are continually drawn to Him at His sacred table.

During a homily one weekend, my mind was incessantly distracted about my NUS admittance, and the huge unknown world I was stepping into much alone. I wondered if there was some society for Catholics in NUS, and resolved to Google for an answer once mass ended. Unsurprisingly, I forgot about it. It turned out that God was way more efficient than Google, because I received a text from a CCA senior asking if I wanted to attend the CSS FOC. This divine providence astounded both of us and despite my reservations, I decided to listen to God and take that leap of faith.

Attending the FOC had been an amazing experience indeed, because I never had a community to journey with in my faith. I found myself feeling thoroughly blessed for all the things we did as a community, though it was simple, like saying grace before we partook in our meal. I never had that at meal tables I was at, and this act was a beautiful extension of Christ’s fellowship with his disciples at their table.

Being a part of a praying community has also been something I am very thankful for. Through life-giving conversations during FOC and beyond, I have continuously been inspired by the faith stories they have shared. To know that we were all equally broken but clothed in the blood of the Lamb, and desired to know and love our wonderful God really gave me the strength to pursue my faith. FOC itself also taught me how to be a Catholic student, not just a student who is Catholic. The camp led to a renewal of my faith, and was just the beginning of a new chapter in my journey.

Although I have only been in the CSS community for a year, it has brought me lots of joy. Moreover, it has aided me in being accountable to my faith, as we journey together in Christ. Through the faculty contact group sessions, Friday campus masses, Wednesday frisbee sessions or even coincidental meetings at weekday masses, I continued to meet new people whom I could instantly connect with because we shared the same faith. That, I think, is truly the beauty of a church community built on the foundations of unconditional love.

My biggest takeaway from FOC has indeed been this Christ-centred community, grounded by the strongest gossamer of God’s unconditional love. If anyone of you walks alone in discipleship, come and share the light here!

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1:7 (NIV)


Sarah is currently Year 1-going-on-2, and we thank her very much for sharing so bravely and honestly! Indeed there are many of us whose faith perhaps meets with resistance from others, even (or especially) our loved ones, which makes it very difficult to continue in the journey. We hope that her testimony may speak to those encountering the same struggles, and convey the importance of having a community to journey with and be accountable to!

We have extended the deadline for signups by two days, but do hurry because there’s just three days left! (Although if you’re reading this past the deadline, drop us an email and we’ll see what we can do…)

NUS Catholic Students’ Society Freshmen Orientation Camp (FOC) 2016: A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing registration is now OPEN: http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016
When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS Utown)
If you have any queries email cssfoc2016@gmail.com!

FOC 2015 Testimony: Justyn

I found myself in this difficult position of choosing between my own faculty’s camp and CSS FOC. Till today I’ve never regretted the decision I made to go for FOC 2015. Why? …CSS FOC really gave me a family. We study together, play together and most importantly pray together(:

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Above: Justyn during one of the action songs at FOC 2015!


Just about a year ago, I was having trouble finding a community and as I was signing up for all the university camps, I happened to come across “NUS Catholic Students’ Society”. I found myself in this difficult position of choosing between my own faculty’s camp, and CSS FOC. Till today I’ve never regretted the decision I made to go for FOC 2015. Why? Family, and if you’re still finding a community to journey with for the next phase of your life, look no further 🙂 To be honest, when I compared my other freshmen camps with this, the people that helped me through my hardest times in university were all found here. I’m not saying that the other camps are bad, just that this camp is better 😀 and it’s definitely thanks to God and the many people who love him!

At the beginning, sure I was intimidated. Seeing so many new faces, and having attended so many camps, I was tired of introducing myself (hobbies, school, etc…) and had high expectations. As time went pass, I realised something different about this camp from the others: people actually wanted to get to know YOU. The deep, heart-felt sharings and the openness of the facilitators made us really comfortable and I could feel like I really connected with my group. The activities were really enjoyable too – beach day, games day, but the best part for me was Praise and Worship, EVERY MORNING. What better way to glorify god and give thanks than through music and dance? To sum it all up, CSS FOC really gave me a family. We study together, play together and most importantly pray together(: God surprises us in many ways, I guess if you’re reading this then this is His invitation for you to journey closer with others during your time in university!


Justyn is a Year 1 (going on 2) Chemistry Engin major! Thank you for sharing so earnestly, and we’re sure that some of you might be facing the same issue as him with regards to choosing between the many camps going on during this period! Nevertheless we strongly encourage you to take the leap of faith and to come join us – as Justyn said, CSS FOC is a good platform to enter the CSS family that studies, plays and prays together (:

NUS Catholic Students’ Society Freshmen Orientation Camp (FOC) 2016: A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing registration is now OPEN: http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016
When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS Utown)
If you have any queries email cssfoc2016@gmail.com!

FOC 2015 Testimony: Brian

I was reminded that the call to prayer is a universal one, not just meant only for “holy people”. I learnt that God can take the little that we have, our very broken selves, and use them to bless others. I learnt not to dwell in my inadequacies but to offer them up to God for him to direct according to His will.

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Above: Brian at Foc 2015, first from left in the front row!


I come from a family where initiative and helpfulness are highly appreciated. I’ve served in many church camps, always trying to step up where I’m needed and doing my best to make myself useful. And the more experience I gained, the more compelled I felt to continue serving, to share with others the wealth of blessings I had received from serving God and his people. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make myself sound like a saint, but I am trying to help you understand that I am someone who loves to move, to do, to help. This is a part of me, one that I brought into CSS FOC.

Having served at so many camps, I found it hard to hard to be a participant again, not to look out for other people but to just keep myself open to receiving; to stop doing and simply be.  All through the camp, my mind was constantly in “service team mode”, ever on the lookout for potential pitfalls– things that could cause problems that would spill over to the rest of camp.  So many times, I saw situations that left me thinking: “No, there is a better way of doing this. I need to rectify this” and then subsequently catching myself and reminding myself that I was not there to “fight fires” but to receive.

I experienced the peak of this desire to do something meaningful, to spend my time constructively during the session where we had Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I know in my head that it is Jesus who is present before me in the Blessed Sacrament, but even now, at times, as it was then during the camp, my heart struggled to believe that my Lord and Savior could be contained in a small wafer. So, wanting to spend my time more constructively, I decided to take the time in that Adoration session praying for my group (including the facils).

Coming from the parish of St Ignatius, I recognised that prayer during a camp such as this is very important, and we actually have an Intercessory committee every camp set aside specially for this purpose. Even so, maybe it was the fear of boredom (huh, spend whole day praying?), perhaps the feeling of inadequacy (I’m not as holy as all these other people praying), but I always shied away from joining in these sessions. On that day, however, I chose to break away from my comfort zone and try it.

When I went forward to the prayer team, I was pleasantly surprised to see the familiar face of a family friend. I told him and his partner of my unusual request–to ask for prayers not only for myself, but for the rest of my group. Though a little thrown off, they quickly adapted to this different request and we settled into little structure, where for each group mate, I would state my petition for them, then we would intercede in the Spirit, followed by a Hail Mary. At the end of praying for about ten people, I expected to be extremely drained, but surprisingly, I felt rather at peace.

This experience was eye-opening for me. I was reminded that the call to prayer is a universal one, not just meant only for “holy people”. I learnt that God can take the little that we have, our very broken selves, and use them to bless others. I learnt not to dwell in my inadequacies but to offer them up to God for him to direct according to His will. As the chorus of the Corrine May song, Crooked Lines, goes:

God writes straight with crooked lines
He takes the mess we make in life
He turns our groaning into perfect rhyme
Hidden by the veil of time, 
The Wisdom of His love’s design
God writes straight with crooked lines

So I may never be able to word eloquent and inspiring prayers, nor be able to share prophetic visions with people whom I am praying for, but I now realise that that should not stop me from praying for them anyway. For as I stumble, I believe that my feeble attempts to grow God and to bring others to him do please Him. And so, regardless of where you are at in your faith journey, do consider coming down for the CSS FOC and let God reveal to you what you need to know at this stage of life. Open your mind and heart and allow God to work and you may be surprised at what He has in store for you!


Brian is a freshie (going on Year 2) studying Chemistry. We thank him for sharing so openly; indeed as a community we keep each other uplifted in prayer! We hope that those who are more active in parish will still consider coming for this FOC 🙂 Just ten more days until registration closes, so do hurry!

NUS Catholic Students’ Society Freshmen Orientation Camp (FOC) 2016: A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing registration is now OPEN: http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016
When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS Utown)
If you have any queries email cssfoc2016@gmail.com!

FOC 2014 Testimony: Zhi Ler

It does not matter whether one has been living a faithful and religious life. One does not need to be a Catholic in good standing to come for this camp; and if one is, all the more it would be good to come! In fact, speaking from personal experience, you will find a place here even if you are not a Catholic!

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Above: Zhi Ler helping out at FOC 2015, after his first FOC experience!


I went for the CSS FOC in 2014 as a freshman. At that time I was not just a freshman to university life. But also a freshman to the Catholic faith. For around 2 years I had been exploring and learning about the Catholic faith. I was keen and curious, but my knowledge about it, and about the Church and her teachings are no more than book knowledge. At that time I was in fact quite contented to stay that way, attending mass every Sunday while I ‘figure things out myself’.

Then I had a friend from army who went to NUS a year ahead of me and, when he found out I was going to NUS, sent me an invitation to come for the FOC.

I don’t know what compelled me to sign up for it though. But I guess this is one of those wonderful little surprises that God so loves to arrange. Still, I signed up and went for the camp with a very uncertain mindset, not knowing what to expect. But it turns out my experience at FOC marked a major milestone in my faith journey. This was when I first experienced the warmth, the support and companionship of a community of faithful believers. I had lots of fun, and laughter, and late night convos, and a hot day out at the beach.

However, this is unlike any other camp you find in NUS. It is more than just about having fun. It is not just about being wild and crazy.

It is also a time of recollection, of learning, of discovering. In my first FOC, I learned how a community prays together. I discovered how lovely it is to attend mass among new-made friends – a feeling I didn’t know going to Church alone every Sunday. I also found out how to open up and share about personal feelings, and sometimes secrets, in a group of people who had only been strangers not too long ago. Sharing was uncomfortable for me initially. I am not a talkative person, nor am I inclined to open up about myself. But through the camp I found myself learning how to do so and realised how much it benefited me. Through the sessions and through the sharings, I managed to find support and encouragement and even guidance to prepare (spiritually and academically) for a new phase of life. But most memorably, I also had a tearful evening in front of the Eucharist (first Adoration; not an emotional person too, but strangely and tremendously moved by that touching experience).

These experiences I had in those four short days are really unique and amazing to me. In fact, FOC gave me the conviction I didn’t have before to sign up for RCIA at my parish.

I believe beginning the challenging university journey by returning to God marks a good start. Many of us come in from a long period of busyness and stress. Be it A-levels in JC or FYPs in poly, or -for the men- army life, FOC gives a wonderful opportunity to recollect, to rediscover our true calling and purpose, to find God once again in our lives, and to pick up our identity as Catholic students (not Catholic students – 2014 FOC tagline!).

Now, having served as a facilitator for last year’s FOC, I get to meet even more Catholics coming from all walks of their faith life. It does not matter whether one has been living a faithful and religious life. One does not need to be a Catholic in good standing to come for this camp; and if one is, all the more it would be good to come! In fact, speaking from personal experience, you will find a place here even if you are not a Catholic! The friends I made at FOC also became important sources of support for me for the next 2 years of my university life. Journeying with this group of supportive, faithful and encouraging people was really edifying and enormously beneficial for me. For these experiences, and for these companionships, I will always be thankful to God.


Zhi Ler is a Year 2 (going on Year 3) studying engineering 🙂 Thank you Zhi Ler for sharing your testimony!! Even if you’re non-Catholic, we hope this testimony will encourage you to join us and check out this community 🙂 Indeed as Zhi Ler has put it so well, “FOC gives a wonderful opportunity to recollect, to rediscover our true calling and purpose, to find God once again in our lives, and to pick up our identity as Catholic students.” 

NUS Catholic Students’ Society Freshmen Orientation Camp (FOC) 2016: A Disciple’s Guide to HiKing registration is now OPEN: http://tinyurl.com/NUSCSSFOC2016
When: 27th June to 30th June 2016
Where: Church of the Holy Cross (Just beside NUS Utown)
If you have any queries email cssfoc2016@gmail.com!

FOC 2015 Testimony: Samuel

In no time you will be entertained by their nonsense and just let loose and be yourself. Sharing with them was not a problem as we are all of the same age group and the problems we face are very relevant, this is a hallmark of a youth community in campus… At the camp, I learnt a few things which struck me like how as Christians we are the body of Christ and every part of the body has a specific role and function to fulfil and yet we all make up one body of Christ in a community.

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Above: Samuel anointing one of his groupmates in an icebreaker game for FOC 2015


Hi there, I’m Samuel Lau, currently Year 2 (going on Year 3) NUS Pharmacy. The idea of having a Catholic community was bugging me ever since I drifted away from church and Amplify after serving NS. As most guys would probably know, NS was a hard period of my life in which God was there every moment with me but due to staying in camp my circle of Catholic friends in which I stayed in contact with slowly dwindled after the two whole years serving the nation.

So it all began when… prior to entering University, I was fortunate enough to be approached by my dearest Aunt Theresa who once worked at the Office for young people (OYP) as a caretaker. She invited me to participate in this event called ‘Kickstart’. Curious about her occasional talk about the happening youth events at OYP, I decided to give it a shot. And I haven’t regretted ever since

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Enough said. Hahahahahha

I went to the Camp being myself: reserved, shy and more of passively waiting to get approached rather than to actively approach others. Not to worry fellow introverts, these people are the most friendly and welcoming people ever. In no time you will be entertained by their nonsense and just let loose and be yourself. Sharing with them was not a problem as we are all of the same age group and the problems we face are very relevant, this is a hallmark of a youth community in campus which attracted me unlike other groups back in my parish whereby it’s a struggle to understand people with ‘generation gaps’ and are in very different phases of life. It’s not that its bad to have variety but I guess I feel a sense of belonging here in CSS with the Catholic youth of the same age. (Plus point!!!! Expect to see your Catechism/Catholic school old friends!!)

At the camp, I learnt a few things which struck me like how as Christians we are the body of Christ and every part of the body has a specific role and function to fulfil and yet we all make up one body of Christ in a community.

1. Community challenges you to be more like Jesus. The camp was a good balance between play and pray so don’t worry about it being ‘too spiritual’. The sessions really catered towards freshmen like me and it really brought me a step closer back to God. Throughout my University life, there were Catholic friends who journeyed with me during cell groups. Their faith and example as well as their sharings really inspire me to strive towards Jesus. Simple daily encouragement to go for mass or pray and lending a listening ear whenever I needed help really spurred me on in my studies.

‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.’ – Hebrews 10:24-25

2. Community carries you emotionally/opens your eyes to the needs of others. Being with CSS throughout the past year really carried me though university life. There were so many times that I could feel the presence of God and just experience him in this community while at school. Even after a tiring and emotionally draining day at school, I had the opportunity to unload all of that sadness and frustration and fellowship with these people. We definitely need friends in our faculty and courses, but a fellow Catholic friend is always a bonus to help me in this journey of faith.

‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.’ – Galatians 6:2

3. Community empowers your relationship with God. I can’t stress less about this point whether is it playing games in the camp or saying prayers before meals and just getting to know new people. The community will bring you closer to God and this camp taught me the importance of journeying with a community rather than alone.

‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.’ – Proverbs 27:17

So to end off, if you don’t remember anything that you just read, just sign up for CSS FOC! Your own faith adventure will begin and I will assure you that you will have loads of fun while growing closer to God in faith. It’s a 2 for 1 deal, how much better can it get?


Thank you Samuel for sharing your testimony! For those fresh out of National Service, or those who may have drifted from God, we hope his sharing has encouraged you to step out of your comfort zone and answer God’s call to return to Him 🙂 Who knows what you might encounter at CSS FOC 2016! Do sign up now if you wish to join us on this exciting adventure 🙂

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. – Revelations 3:20