Riding God’s rollercoaster – with a giraffe

Singapore’s first Giraffe course was held in December, 2008.

Giraffe is based on the principle that good leaders are people who have engaged with their own faith and personal journeys, asked themselves hard questions and are committed to seeking and deepening their relationship with God.

In a Giraffe community, participants learn more about themselves, living and understanding other people. They also learn more about who God is and what it means to follow him.

Five young people from Singapore, five from Malaysia and four from Australia participated, with presenters also coming from each of the aforementioned countries.

Faith Inkubators Australia’s Peter Eckermann was part of the Giraffe leadership team, an experience he will never forget.

The late, veteran youth worker Wayne Rice once described youth ministry as an unbelievable rollercoaster ride. As we respond to God’s call to ‘cross borders’ in mission with – and for – young people, we won’t always know where God is going to take us: east, west, right, left, up, down and sometimes, upside down.

Giraffe Singapore was one such wild rollercoaster ride!

For years, the LCA have enabled many young adults from partner churches throughout South East Asia to attend Giraffe.

Pastor Sam Wang noticed “something different and special” about Angeline, Mervyn and Sam, three young people sent by the Lutheran Church of Singapore to the first International Giraffe course, held in Darwin (July, 2006). Within Giraffe’s environment of grace, justice, freedom, mercy and love, the trio had noticeably grown in the two years since the Darwin conference.

Within this group, a strong sense of direction and purpose to create a Giraffe course in Singapore was born. This became a memorable reality last December.

I was honoured to be invited to be part of the leadership team for Singapore Giraffe. You might say I was offered a front seat on the rollercoaster! Through teaching and experience, the Giraffe participants were equipped. Through pain and tears, laughter and release, God brought healing and life.

I feel a reflection made by Daniel Teh (Bangsar Lutheran Church) captures some of the ride: “The ‘safe place’ that was created in the first few days allowed us to remove our walls and masks, so that we could truly share with one another our lives, hopes, and dreams, plus our pain, disappointment and assumptions toward each other. From hearing each others stories and lives, we know we were ‘chosen’ to be here and it’s not by chance, nor choice…I have personally grown in my faith, hope and especially love towards the people around me and to Jesus my Lord and Saviour and friend.”

“I am changed.”

This story was also published in the April 2009 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

Many of our partner churches are working in new territory for the kingdom of God; therefore, spiritual attack is their everyday reality. As a member of a congregation, school, or family, or a couple or individual, you are invited to commit to praying for our partners in mission. For regular prayer point updates, go to www.lca.org.au/international-mission/act-now/pray

Read more stories about our partner church in Singapore at http://www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/international-partners/singapore/