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Welcoming Day 2016 “Go the Distance”

Welcoming Day 2016 “Go the Distance”

Welcoming Day is a twice-yearly event that the Indonesian congregation runs to welcome primarily new students into our congregation. The event is usually held at the beginning of each semester, around first week of Uni. Ever since we started it few years ago, we’ve always tried to do it differently, we’ve had games night, our own version of “Amazing Race”, self-catered dining, treasure hunt. So for the first time this year, we’re having our Welcoming Day away from the Melbourne CBD. After going through a list of possible sites, our choice fell on SkyHigh in Mount Dandenong, with its breathtaking panoramic vista of the city of Melbourne, beautiful gardens and plenty of outdoor play space in the woods.

The Welcoming Day team was led by Christian Putra, who was a multimedia design graduate and has been involved in The Crucible (our student ministry) for quite a while. Christian oversaw 11 young professionals and students that commenced their work late last year. The team produced a set of posters, flyers and social media promotion which ran a couple months prior to our big day on March 5th. Posters were installed in restaurants, student colleges and meeting spots where Indonesian students and/or newcomers are known to be around. It was truly heartening to see how this team worked so hard behind the scene. We went to the SkyHigh twice to scout for the best spot to set up our ‘base camp’ and run the different activities throughout the day. Andrew, Kezia and Christian Theodore (yes, one of many ‘Christians’ in our congregation!) would regularly meet and compare notes to ensure the games would be enjoyable and provide ample opportunity for team bonding. Nadia and her team ensure that the meal is well prepared and packed on the day. Each week after our service finishes, you would see Maleakhi and Nathania actively getting people to join, especially if there were newcomers in our midst. They also worked together with Indra to ensure that we could accommodate enough people in the bus and other cars used for travelling to the destination.

Upon arrival at SkyHigh, we had a quick icebreaking game before having lunch together. This was soon followed by the main event, where the participants were divided into competing groups. This year we have chosen the theme “Go the Distance”, with games and activities especially chosen to put the participants through teamwork trials of trust, intelligence, endurance and persistence. Although it sounds harsh on paper, it ended up a day filled with fun and engaging team activities, with many of the participants’ commenting how creative and unique the whole event was.

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Finally, allow us to share how important the role of prayer is in this event. Early on the team committed to pray for an attendance of at least 60 people, in itself a ‘big ask’ by our standard. We also regularly pray for good teamwork, travelling mercies, welcoming attitude among our regulars as well as a good weather on the day. As March 5th came closer, we all experienced how the Lord richly answers our prayers, although through ways and means often beyond our imagination. We are grateful to God’s grace and providence in providing us with over 70 people in attendance, among whom over 25 of them are newcomers and a handful who haven’t been in a church community.

Our prayer is that following on the heel of the Welcoming Day, we could begin sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with many of the newcomers as well as include them in our discipleship programs.

Originally published at the Scot's Church "the Leaflet" April 2016