When Anne became a Christian, God gripped her heart to see more on her campus live with radical faith. QUEK SHI YUN finds out how she is contending for revival in polytechnics in Singapore.
Anne’s passion for Christ is unmistakable. As she spoke fervently about her desire to see more turn to Jesus, I couldn’t help but feel excited by the fire in her. Together with a few friends, she has been championing a movement called Poly Revival, a network of polytechnic students inspiring the next generation to live authentically for Christ. As leader of the Singapore Poly prayer space, Anne gathers with like-minded Christians each week to worship and intercede for the move of the Holy Spirit. Read on to hear her heart for Poly Revival.
What does ‘revival’ look like to you?
It is really to see the move of the Holy Spirit. When we look at revival in the book of Acts, we see people getting baptised in the Holy Spirit and being empowered to live for the gospel.
How did you get involved in Poly Revival?
When Poly Revival first began, I started out by helping with the publicity for a big worship night. It didn’t really work out, but afterwards, as we were praying, we felt that we should go in the direction of creating prayer movements for the five different polys.
I felt the Lord prompting me to start one in Singapore Poly. And I was like, yeah, I have a heart for that! I became a Christian three years ago, and then COVID struck, so I didn’t really go to the church, but I read the Bible a lot. And in the New Testament I saw the apostles getting persecuted for their faith. As Paul says, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil 1:21).
I had been really excited to be a Christian in a polytechnic, because for the first time, that would be where I could live out my faith. But I saw Christians in my class who seemed like they were living in the world or it felt like there was this lukewarmness going on (Rev 3:15–16). So I thought, there must be more to
THERE MUST BE MORE TO CHRISTIANITY IF PEOPLE WERE DYING FOR THEIR FAITH.
Christianity if people were dying for their faith. There must more as students that we can do to harvest the field. And that’s where my heart developed to see a move of the Holy Spirit in the campus.
Has your faith journey influenced your desire to see revival and for more people to know Him?
The day that I accepted Christ was the day the Lord rescued me from the depths of hell. How I view the gospel is that it is more than a story that gets you to church every Sunday. It’s a story that rescues you from hell — it is a story that changes your life, that brings about transformation. And it’s just such a beautiful story. It’s one where you get to have a personal fellowship with the Lord.
So, I want people to know that living for Christ is something you live or you die for, you know? Don’t be lukewarm. You’re either hot for Him, or you’re cold. Personally, I have a heart for evangelism. One of my goals in life is to make everyone I interact with either love Jesus so much that they’re either willing to die for Him or they spit on Him. It’s either this or that. Don’t be stuck in the middle.
WE ARE HERE TO CHANGE CULTURE, TO BE MORE LIKE CHRIST.
Why do you think this movement is needed on poly campuses?
Tertiary education is the season where people really craft out their identity. And what I noticed about poly culture is that it’s very secular, where it’s very easy to live like the world. What we want is to provide a platform to say, hey, there is more than just getting a diploma; there is more than just conforming to culture. We are here to change culture, to be more like Christ, to be a living vessel, and to be the salt and light to the people around us and on campus. We want this to be a place where believers can come together to strengthen and sharpen each other. We want to empower students to not just conform to the culture, but to be more than that and to live authentically for Christ.
Before someone enters poly, what would you tell them might confront their faith?
I think there is a pressure to be popular, to dress a certain way, or conform to certain worldly values. People will hang out with people who share the same values. And that can be tough, because when it comes to certain issues like abortion or LGBTQ rights, you will need to learn how to defend your faith [under such pressures]. But at the same time, you also need to learn how to win the person and not just win the argument, even as you might get challenged in your knowledge of God and the gospel.
YOU ALSO NEED TO LEARN HOW TO WIN THE PERSON AND NOT JUST WIN THE ARGUMENT.
It’s easy to talk about living out Christian values, but when everyone around you is doing something, it is hard to leave it, much less go against it, because that means that you might be persecuted.[In Singapore, it won’t be] biblical persecution where you get hanged [on a cross] or anything [like that], but you will not be well-liked [and even ostracised or bullied].
Do you have personal experiences of a situation where you had to defend your faith?
Being in design school, a lot of people in my cohort feel really strongly for the LGBTQ movement. When people ask me what I stand for, I do say that what I stand for is in the Bible. I do say that I love them as well, but for them, a huge part of their identity is their sexuality. If you don’t agree with them, they see it as rejecting them. So, because I’m a Christian, I get called homophobic, or don’t get treated as nicely because I don’t align with their values or ideology.
How do you deal with that?
What I can do is just be one-on-one with my friends, to show them that I love them. In John 13:35 it says that the world shall know we are Jesus’ disciples by our love [for one another]. And I think that is what we should do. We abide in Christ [together]. And then we grow the fruits of the Spirit and we love on others. Sometimes, it’s not about what you say, but it’s about what you do and how you show love consistently. And they can see how different you are.
Has being a prominent part of Poly Revival put you in a difficult position with friends who do not share the same faith or values?
When I was really involved with starting up the prayer space, I wasn’t there for multiple group meetings with friends. So I became the topic of the gossip. And at first, it was quite lonely. But I know that if the gossip is centred around my Christian values and not how I am as a person (for instance, that I am selfish), then it is a privilege to be able to embody Christian values. It was definitely lonely at the start, but I guess it puts you in a position where you understand just a glimpse of how Christ felt, or a glimpse of how the persecuted Christians feel.
What advice would you give someone who wants to see their campus transformed for Christ?
I will affirm them and say that the fire that you have, this desire that you have, the Lord is going to use it and it can inspire people around you. Practically, I would encourage them to get a mentor if they want to start a prayer movement in their school, and gather people with similar hearts. I would also encourage them to get connected with the wider praying community, such as Praying Schools for secondary schools, and Unity for those on university campuses. This community can journey with them to offer advice on how to start a prayer group and champion revival in their own spaces!