Report by Pr Jeremiah Sim
The Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry praise and thank the Lord for His grace and mercy upon its members. As we recollect and commemorate 18 years of God’s goodness, care and faithfulness upon this ministry, we can’t help but to rejoice and be glad, like the psalmist who declared in Psalm 111:1-4, “Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.”
It has been almost 4 years of restriction in meeting and travelling, due to the Covid virus forbidding us to travel abroad. Nonetheless, we rejoice and thank the Lord that this year, the restriction has been lifted, which enable us to travel to Malaysia. We are therefore able to hold our second Seniors’ Retreat at Holiday Inn Hotel, JB, Malaysia, in conjunction with the 18th Anniversary Thanksgiving of Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry. (We thank God for 43 participants in all.) Needless to say, the seniors were overwhelmed with joy in their hearts, as they have been earnestly looking forward to this 3 day-2 night retreat. We praise God for the much effort made for the smooth execution of the entire retreat. May God bless all the laborious efforts and logistical arrangements behind the scenes, as well as the labour of love put in by those brethren involved in much planning. We thank the Lord for aiding them in this whole retreat.
On the actual day of departure, we gathered joyfully with excitement at the Eunos open-air carpark near the MRT station at 9.15am, and prayed to the Lord for journey-mercies before we boarded the coach. The coach then proceeded to the second pick-up point at the Kranji MRT station area to fetch the rest of the brethren, before heading to Holiday Inn Hotel, JB, Malaysia. Praise God for His divine aid to bring us safely to the hotel, as well as for our safe return to Singapore after this retreat. Truly, this calls to our remembrance the apostle Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6 – “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”
Having received our hotel room card-keys, we had some free time till 6pm, when we had a sumptuous dinner. Thereafter, we had our first service at 8pm. It was wonderful to witness not only the elderly, but also the teens who had joined us, raising our voices in one accord to glorify God with our singing. After that, we received our first message from Pastor Koshy, who preached from the Matthew 5:13-16, on the topic: “Salt and Light”. We were taught that as Christians, we are to influence others by our testimonies, and also to live our lives for the edification of the saints. After the service, we proceeded to have our refreshments amid fellowship, whereby we encouraged and exhorted one another in the Lord.
On Day 2 of our retreat, our worship began at 8.45am with singspiration. Throughout the day. Pastor continued to teach us from Matthew 5:13-16. As “salt and light”, we must be prepared always to declare the Gospel and God’s marvellous works to the people of this generation. We truly thank the Lord for the three messages of Day 2, which not only assured and strengthened us, but further reminded us that we have this incomparable privilege (as God’s children) to declare His truths.
On the final day before we make our way back to Singapore, we continued with our worship from 8am onwards, followed by Pastor’s 5th message from Matthew 5:13-16. He taught us that as light of the world, we must be ever ready to shine for the Lord and not shy away from His Gospel truth. We must seek the Lord to help us expose the errors of others and declare His truthful message.
After the 5th message, we had “testimony time”, where several brethren (namely Dns Diana Chan, Sis. Miriam Wong, Bro. Ong Chin, Sis. Kim Lei and Pr Jeremiah Sim) gratefully testified of the Lord’s grace and goodness upon their lives and their loved ones. Their encouraging testimonies have indeed stirred the hearts of many of those present to give glory and honour to God too. After our lunch, we checked out from the hotel at 2pm, and arrived back safe and sound in Singapore around 4pm.
Throughout these 3 days, the seniors put into practice what they have learned by encouraging one another in the Lord. Many of them have been helpful to care for and help those who were feeble and not so mobile. Certainly, we thank the Lord for His protection throughout in our travelling. All praise be unto God!
Ng Jui Keng
I am blessed to be one of the 40 plus ‘old folks’ who attended the Gethsemane Seniors’ Ministry Retreat (26-28 April 2023), held at the JB Holiday Inn. We were privileged to have a few ‘younger’ members joining us who were very helpful towards those needing assistance. Thank God for these brethren – who indeed proved to be living examples of “salt and light”.
It was a joy and blessing for me to meet and interact with a number of our more aged members over meals, refreshments, chit-chat sessions and short walks (during the afternoon free time). There is nothing like spending a few days together to have several relaxing and heart-to-heart conversations with various brethren at different times.
On a spiritual level, I was particularly struck by Pastor Koshy’s statement that “being ‘salt and light’ to both the Christian and non-Christian communities, is not optional but a command from Jesus”. In Matt 5:3-10, Jesus taught us how we are to live our lives according to the Beatitudes’ instructions. In Matt 5:11-12, Jesus warns us that the world will mock and persecute us as their worldview is contrary to what the Beatitudes teach. In the midst of this, we are commanded in Matt 5:13-16 to be “salt” in our interaction with the world, and to be “light” in pointing to Jesus Christ as well as sharing the Good News. As Jesus has said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
As “salt”, we must exhibit purity in speech and life. Through holy living, we can demonstrate the preservation impact of salt, as the world can receive peace and grace from God through our obedience to His Word. (A direct impact is the reduction of bitterness and moral decay in the community.) “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom 12:2).
Ong Chin (translated from Chinese to English)
“O give thanks unto the LORD, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 107:1).
I want to praise God for bringing us to attend this 18th Anniversary Thanksgiving Retreat of the Senior’s Ministry. Praise God for allowing our pastor, Pastor Koshy, to preach God’s Word to us, on the topic: “The Salt of the World and the Light of the World”. This is the duty of all Christians and how all of us must strive to be. I, together with my wife, have learnt much from this retreat. Praise God also for the fellowship we had together with the brothers and sisters in Christ. Praise God!
1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
I would like to thank God for granting me the opportunity to accompany my grandparents to attend the Seniors’ Ministry 18th Anniversary Thanksgiving Retreat. Praise God for the safety He has granted to each and every one of the participants, especially to the elderly folks. Praise God also for the fellowship that we had with one another during the free time. I am thankful to God for Pr Jeremiah, Elder Mah and the rest of the organisers who helped make the retreat a smooth one, especially when there were some problems on the first day.
Thank God also for the fruitful time of listening to God’s Word, whereby I have learnt much from the preaching by Pastor Koshy on the theme: “Salt and Light”, based on Matthew 5:13-16. As salt and light of the world, Christians must be effective, useful vessels of God, bringing ‘taste’ and ‘light’ to the world around us, so that our testimony may be a blessing to many. We are saved to serve, and not saved to be served. I pray that I will be a shining light to those around me, both in the present and in the future. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matthew 5:13).
Because of the lack of refrigeration in the early days, salt was used to preserve food (especially meat), which would quickly spoil in a hot environment. Believers in Christ are like “preservatives” to the world, preserving it from the evil inherent in the society of ungodly men, whose unredeemed nature go hand in hand with corruption by sin. (cf. Psalm 14:3; Romans 8:8).
The analogy of light to the world teaches us that the good works of Christ’s followers are to “shine” for all to see. Matthew 5:14-16 highlight this truth: “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The presence of Christians must be like a light in the darkness, bringing light to sinful men and doing good deeds which ought to be evident for all to see. Only by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to Him, can we expect to remain as “salt and light” in the world.
I have been truly blessed by fellowshipping with members of our Seniors’ Ministry for the past one decade. The Lord had done great things to our seniors in our midst. They are sober, humble, peaceable, loving and compassionate to one another. May the name of the Lord be magnified. “The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head” (Prov 20:29).
Being directed by the Lord to be involved with the Seniors’ Ministry has helped me to grow spiritually. I learnt how to interact with the elderly, how to comfort them when they are struggling with their health issues, loneliness and distress, how to assure them of the Lord’s comfort and presence in their every situation. Thank God also for the faithful preaching of our leaders (Pr. Jeremiah, Eld Mah and Pr. Daniel), as well as their care and patience towards every one of us in this ministry.
Praise the Lord for enabling Pastor Koshy to teach us during the retreat on the topic: ‘Salt and Light’, based on Matthew 5:13-16. Thank the Lord for reminding me that the Lord sent light while I was in the valley of darkness. I also learnt that:
We should not be a “hidden” Christian, but be wise to be “light” to help others. “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward” (Isa 58:8).
We should be useful “salt”, to bring flavour to His people. We should live as a peacemaker with a pure heart, by following the example of our Lord Jesus.
May the Lord bless our seniors for many more years, that they may worship Him and serve Him as ‘salt and light’ for His glory.
Yin May Nee
I am very thankful to God that my mother, her caregiver and I could attend the retreat. Truly, thank God that none fell ill or had any accident (like falls) during the retreat, especially since we’re having the retreat amid another Covid infection wave, coupled with occasional heavy rainfall during the afternoon break (when many elderly brethren left the hotel for short walkabouts in the nearby shopping mall).
The topic of “Salt & Light”, preached by Pastor Koshy, was a timely reminder to all that it’s appointed unto us by Christ to be the “salt of the earth and light of the world”, despite our frailty as we age. To be “salt”, we are to influence quietly through prayers, being self-sacrificial in love, being pure-hearted and useful – much like salt which dissolves in the food, thus making it tasty. Furthermore, there are times when God wants us to shine our “light” through Jesus – by standing up against the darkness of sins in this world, sharing the Gospel and making ourselves a blessing to others. That means we cannot be a dim light, but be shining brightly for Christ when God wants us to do so. We are reminded that we are saved to serve both God and men, as well as to care for others more than ourselves.
Praise the Lord that the messages were preached in English, and translated to Mandarin by Pr Daniel Lim, so that even our Chinese-speaking seniors could benefit from them. All praise and glory to God!