Assembly Fellowship Camp 2016 ("AFC 2016") was held in Phuket, Thailand from 9th Sept 2016 - 12 Sept 2016. As in the previous AFC camps, the themes each year often revolved around theological matters, nevertheless, the theme for AFC Camp 2016 was very interesting - Profit & Loss. To any laymen, these words would already be very intriguing on how does "Profit & Loss" relate to church, the Gospel and Christians.
Apart from having our main speaker Mr Peter Ferry (who had been serving in Phuket for over 40 years and speaks impeccable Thai), we had the privilege to listen to testimonies of 3 Christian brothers (bro. Andrew Kwan from Singapore/bro. Amnart Pitchacoon from Phuket/ bro. Lee Khai from Penang) who shared their encounter with God, when matters on earthly wealth came in conflict with a Christian's testimony in this society. It was indeed very encouraging. In fact, it was verinteresting and intriguing to listen to bro. Amnart's testimony on how he was a self sufficient person, a monk who was prepared to devote his life to Theravada Buddhism and instead, was being led to Christ when the Holy Spirit intervened. Christians constitute less than 1% of the Thai population.
Profit & Loss, indeed has a lot to do with Christians and Christian living. We often read in the Bible on earthly wealth and eternal wealth - one which can be destroyed by moth and rust (Matt 6:19), but how different would it be if we build our treasures in Heaven (Matt 6:20). As Peter Ferry had reiterated several times, whilst it is not wrong for a Christian to be blessed with earthly wealth, but most importantly how do we perform our duty as stewards of these wealth that God bestowed upon us? Do we use it for our own ambitions and desire? Or do we use it to bless other Christians who are in need? Do we give willingly and cheerfully to God like the widow with 2 mites or do we rob God like Ananias & Sapphira? And, where does our heart belonged/priorities placed?
Indeed the message really struck home on the 3rd day (Sunday, 11 Sept) of AFC2016 when we had the opportunity to visit the Sea Gypsies church at Ko Siray where Peter Ferry had planted. We all sang "How Great Thou Art", "This is the Day that the LORD had made" and "Jesus Love Me", the Sea Gypsies way. It was an enriching experience. One of the church brothers shared about his terrifying encounter with the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami where he was a first hand witness on the massive wave that struck Ko Siray (and other parts of Phuket) without warning from the seemingly calm serene ocean in the morning of 26 Dec 2004. He was in his house by the beach, right where the tsunami waves struck minutes later. In the aftermath, over 100 Sea Gypsies houses were destroyed and many Sea Gypsies lost their lives. He was amongst the few fortunate ones who survived the tsunami when it devastated Ko Siray. Profit & Loss, how aptly these 2 words described the frailty of human lives and earthly possession.
Also, earlier that morning on the 3rd day (Sunday, 11 Sept), we had the privilege to visit and worshipped together with the saints of Paklok Christian Assembly, the church where Peter Ferry shepherds. It is a congregation of circa 200 - 250 people, and the congregation really lifted up their voices to sing to the LORD, in a land where there it is shrouded in spiritual darkness.
Time flew by, and we had to head back to our various daily lives and business in Malaysia
and Singapore. Nonetheless, I believe all participants did bring home one thing - the true
meaning and understanding of Profit & Lost in a Christian's life on this earth.
In Christ's Service,