Reflections for VCF AnnTIC 2016: Unshakable

Now Playing: Crown Him – Don Moen

My first time, my second train wreck, my first good train wreck.

I first signed up for this camp as it began, and looked forward to it as it approached. And in writing this reflection, I’m going to use the same format which I used in my FOC reflection: Some general thoughts, a message to my group and message to specific group individuals. I think it’s quite good so I’ll continue to stick to this until I see the need to improve for future reflections.

[Section 1 – General thoughts about the camp – background, build up and how it went]

So to continue from where I left off earlier, I was looking forward to the camp. AnnTIC – Annual Teach In Camp: Something which I had heard was a really, really good camp It’s like a Bible study camp in which one learns so much more about the Bible, but also more than that – people meet others and they get to share more about themselves to the extent they’re comfortable with and receive advice or even just a listening ear.

Unfortunately the night before the camp though,. I was in decidedly low spirits. Some stuff had left me feeling like shit even as I was helping out in my church’s Xmas service, and it didn’t help that I felt woefully unprepared for the camp. This feeling came from a separation between what I had wanted to do and what I actually did:

[Ideal preparation – this is where I could say I had prepared well for my role as a BSL]

  1. Read through entire book that is being covered in the sermon series as well as a couple of commentaries about it and write down my thoughts.
  2. Go through the slides that were sent, brainstorm ideas and try to predict the flow of discussion based on a different composition of stereotypes and decide if there was any need to direct said conversation direction.
  3. Spend any free time I had on the first day going through all the morning devotions and preparing the necessary materials (conversation paths, prompting questions and diversions) for the rest of the week.
  4. Analyze my group members personalities and get a ‘feel’ of them on the first day, then use this new information to sort through my pre-prepared scenarios (see 1.) and decide which would be the most relevant and execute it accordingly.
  5. Go into the camp feeling confident, having asked God what His vision for the camp would be and knowing how I can best carry it out.

[Moderate preparation – this is where I could say I did a decent job at least]

  1. Read through entire book that is being covered and a commentary about it, then formulate some thoughts about the general themes.
  2. Browse through the sent slides generally and develop questions and the necessary materials for about the first three days, then use the extra time during the camp this preparation bought to prepare for the unprepared days as well.
  3. Get a general feel about my group’s members and use said information to attempt prediction about where the group’s interests lie and how this can be reconciled with what I think God wants me to do with the group so that everyone can take away something from the camp.
  4. Go into the camp anticipating God and feeling cautious but excited, wanting to see what God would do.

[Actual preparation – quite a big difference as you can see]

  1. Speedread entire book and watch The Bible Project’s summary of it to get some ideas about what the key themes were.
  2. Skip slide preparations because no time.
  3. No information about slides – kena blindsided (blindslided? xD) by the first day’s theme talk discussion.
  4. Attempted to draft some rudimentary stereotype for the group based on my superficial analysis of their interests, which wasn’t really helpful because it didn’t contain sufficient information for me to further work with.
  5. Go into the camp feeling distracted, woefully unprepared and apprehensive of what the camp would bring.

So…yea, one can plan, but if they don’t execute said plans then it just fades away as ‘could’ve-dones’ instead of ‘dids.’ I think it was this notion that carried with me for the first couple of days, but then things improved as the group grew closer and the girls started spurring each other on during the discussions which enabled me to take on a more ‘backseat’ role even as a BSL. Which come to think of it, might not have been the best idea, but it certainly helped.

The HTHTs too also went mostly as expected – they brought the group closer together with the help of one guy’s enthusiasm and sincerity, though I didn’t expect quite so much interest in my story. There’s a bit more info in the older reflection of the past of course, but I think that’s supplementary so it wasn’t brought up during the sharings.

The camp was pretty tiring though, but definitely worth it. I’d even skip an internship next year to attend it if I had to, because one tends to come away from it having learned something.

And so, what I was looking for in this camp…was the last 10/20% that I had told my group about. I was first reminded of this when I was watching Hai to Gensou no Grimgar and came across the following scenes in Episode 7 (1:29 onwards):

Context: Hayashi, a former party member of Mary, speaking about a past when she (Mary) felt guilt over her inability to stop her party members from dying in a disastrous dungeon foray. Michiki, the party leader, had sacrificed himself to buy time for Hayashi and Mary to escape, and Hayashi had forcefully tore Mary away from her futile attempt to heal him.

“I don’t remember how we got back above ground. Maybe my body remembered the way back.

Shinohara took us in, and we joined Orion, but Mary left soon after. It was painful for her to be with me – she didn’t say that, but I could see it in her eyes. When she was me, she saw a past she couldn’t regain. She couldn’t help seeing it. And that was painful.

After that, Mary moved from party to party, never staying long. From what other people say about her, she isn’t the same as she used to be. I’m pretty sure I brought Mary back above ground, but I wonder if that’s really true. Right now, she’s an empty shell. She might have left herself down there.

It wasn’t a long scene, but it resonated with me deeply. I felt like most of me had gotten out of the own ‘dungeon’ that I had found myself in due to the past, and that was largely due to the peace found within the FOC camp.  But when I reflected upon my thoughts, feelings, why I felt the way I felt and whether it was part of my nature or a product of the circumstances I found myself in…I felt increasingly convinced that there was still a part of me that was down there, and that needed “just a bit more” to step out of it and breathe the nice fresh air once more.

And by and large, I didn’t manage to find it as the days of the camp went by. But I did find it in the end, and that was pretty good. How that happened is for another time :D, but it’s also tied to the Now Playing song.

This grappling and tussling characterized most of the camp for me, which is somewhat ironic because it was supposed to be a theologically rich Bible study camp and I viewed it through these lens instead. Still, I’ve learned quite a bit more head knowledge than I previously had and seen some amazing examples of steadfast faith in God, so it’s helped to encourage me in perseverance.

[Section 2 – To my group]

I’m a lot less hyped than I once was – probably a result of being old and feeling my age. But yayyyy group 1…


Anyway, it’s been great being your BSL. Great for me, at least, I’m not sure how it went for y’all. But let me first explain why it was great for me (despite the long face I think I had throughout most of the camp):

  1. Learned a lot from you guys. As I wrote in several of your cards, I can be very stubborn at times and I think that nature definitely showed itself throughout the frustrating HTHT discussions we had for the first few days. But being corrected in theological understandings by these mature (or more mature) Christians and having contrasting viewpoints offered to me about my poor life choices was incredibly insightful and humbling, so that’s what I most liked about having y’all as a group.
  2. Y’all were super chill too. Not the ‘let’s wait for BSL to make a decision’, but y’all took initiative to keep the discussion going, keep it focused on the topic when some felt it was going out of topic and also kept me accountable when I shirked from making a decision. So though it was uncomfortable at times, it’s a pretty good experience for me in retrospect.
  3. Y’all spurred each other on in conversation. Like, it’s not something that I had to force to keep going, but even outside BS discussions everyone slipped into their natural conversation roles – some excitedly talking, others patiently listening, others somewhat listening and others thinking or reflecting. So that too was a huge relief to me because I was wary of having an uncomfortable silence – there was not much silence looking back with seven hyper girls feeding off each other’s energy, but I daresay most of it was fruitful/purposeful.

Of course, I feel that I didn’t prepare enough (as shown above, the ideal was what I wanted to accomplish) and that’s why I feel guilty that y’all might not have taken away as much from the camp as y’all might’ve been able to. I’ll try not to repeat this mistake in my regular BS sessions that I lead though, and hopefully not for any future camps that I’m a BSL in. I honestly don’t think my past sad/bad experience was worth very much to y’all (it sounds more like a surreal drama or something that happens to other people but not very relevant for me kinda thing) because most, if not all, of y’all wouldn’t make the same mistakes I did, so I don’t think it helped much anyway. But at the very least, I can probably take some heart in that I kind of facilitated some discussions, and so things went a bit more smoothly (hopefully) when I was there.

Moving on, I’m good for meetups/reunions in the future. Or if I happen to see y’all at future camps, say hi to me because I might not recognize you due to problems in facial recognition. Or more commonly, I might say hi but then think ‘oh this nice girl is saying hi to me but I forgot her name so I’ll just say hi back and hope she doesn’t ask me for her name’.

tl:dr please don’t ask me for your name if we meet in the future haha, I’ll just give a polite nod if I see you at FTs.

Also, sorry for my listlessness on the final day of the camp. ASD (Accumulated sleep deprivation – slept at 4+, close to 5 and woke up at 7) along with a general feeling of ‘shit I TMI’d the girls and now that hong’s gone, there goes the only bridge between us’ left me feeling quite reluctant to force myself into the convo. But thanks for being inclusive even with someone acting like me ^^

[Section 3 – to individual group members]

I’ve forgotten what I wrote for who (or who I called what) but I’m just going to come up with new names for each person so sorry if they’re the same.

To the Dramatic ‘-Sean (LOTP): The sporty girl and unabashedly enthu about things. Don’t choke on the last line of the card 😀

To the Earnest ‘elicia: Earnestness displayed in your sharing was much appreciated, along with your thoughtful contributions during sharings. That combo, though…

To the Excitable ‘telzy (LOTP 2IC): Was great seeing you again and you’ve def tweaked my perspective on some things. I think we agree on some things…? haha

To the High ‘Ee En (VOTG 2IC): Along with the Honourable ‘achel, learned a lot from the way you think and your past experiences. Might cya in cg, and now you might know a bit more abt me to better understand where I come from when I’m quiet in cg ><

To the Honourable ‘achel (VOTG): As mentioned above, the voice of reason (for me at least) in the group. And maturity too, but that combined with other aspects amounted to the adjective ‘Honourable’.Was a blessing having you in the group!

To the Mature ‘irsten (VOTG 3IC): I feel that way because of the way you share and speak, it just gives me that feel. Probably combined with a preconceived notion of your past to reach the ascribed adjective. Anyway, thanks for the theological correction along with ‘anessa to help me better understand the Bible and for being open~

To the Passionate ‘anessa: Silk hiding steel. Perhaps unpolished or unsharpened, but it’s there nonetheless. Thanks for your correction, open and passionate sharing and for handling the admin side of things, hopefully you’ll come for some cf meetings in the future ^^

To the Friendly ‘uo Hong: Yea, that’s definitely an apt moniker. Thanks for your perspectives and also earnestness in trying to help me during those HTHT sessions and thanks for being another listening ear. God bless, you’re gonna go on to achieve great things. I particularly liked your sharing about the parang too: As you said, in situations like that, it’s just between one and God. Nothing to hide to others, no pretense. Very encouraging.

To the Thoughtful ‘ance: Cool name, really cool name. And cool personality too, the three Cs that I’d like to try to adopt. But I can see how it came about as the camp went on and the sharings went deeper, and your insight + sharings were also much appreciated. Best of luck for the future, and we may perhaps meet again in FTs or camps.

[Concluding Thoughts]
2.3k words, much shorter than my FOC reflection but that’s okay. Got a few more reflections to do after this xD

All in all, it was a good camp. Met a lot of nice guys and hyper friendly girls, and I’ve been significantly encouraged spiritually and emotionally. A new sense of peace, a new direction, a new motivation, and a new word – Focus.

And now, I’ll lay down my pen.

On a certain evening after an exhausting but fulfilling past week,

Quaerit020 – What seekest thou? Seek, and ye shall find.




Truly a blessing to have been with y’all ❤


3 thoughts on “Reflections for VCF AnnTIC 2016: Unshakable

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