Loving your (hall) neighbor

/In the first half of semester two this year NTUCF organised a hall hackathon, a 2 day event inviting people living in hall to think deeper about their hall cultures and speak into it. The following is a reflection from one of the participants./

“Home away from home”- that was the theme of my hall’s orientation program when I first entered NTU, looking forward to finding my second home in hall. However, one semester in, I found myself having quickly adapted to a hall life that was quite the opposite of what I expected- one with closed doors and unfamiliar faces, built on an unspoken agreement to lead parallel but not intersecting lives. Albeit the occasional lonely hours, I enjoyed the solitude and personal space which came alongside the lack of engagement in my hall.

After listening to my friends share their various hall experiences at the hall hackathon event, it dawned on me that not everyone in my hall was as fortunate as me to have friends outside of school or even a family to spend time with every weekend. For international students who stay in hall every day, how stifling and alone they must have felt in this community.

In Luke 10, when Jesus said to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’, the man asked in response, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ and Jesus replied with the Parable of the Good Samaritan. A neighbor is not merely someone who physically resides next to us, it is anyone we choose to love and show mercy to. And there is truly no better way to love and show mercy to someone, than to extend to them a choice of knowing God. This was something a friend shared during SG a few weeks ago where we were discussing about hall hackathon, and it was a thought I was continuously reminded of over the course of the hackathon event.

How can I expect to have loving neighbors, if I myself would rather much hide in the comfort of my own room than to step out and interact with the people right next to me? This hall hackathon event was more than just a platform to share experiences and be inspired. For me, it was a challenge to step out of my comfort zone and be the neighbor that I would want in my hall life. There were many ideas exchanged over the two days and it was exciting to meet people who are passionate to change their hall cultures for the better, in one way or another. Be it through the planning large events or just changing the little things that we do each day, let us choose to accept and not judge, to have courage to step up for what is right and most importantly, to let everything we do be out of love. This way, we will be able to be true neighbors wherever God places us in

– Kai En, Psychology year 1, Giant Grapes Small group

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