Karen Tang

The Conversion Experience Retreat was probably the best four days of my life.

I had never been a good Catholic. Baptised at a young age, I was enthusiastic about going to church only because of my friends and choir practices. I hung out in church, while my other group of friends hung out in Orchard Road.

As I grew older, I became discouraged with my church-going friends. In church, they would behave in a ‘holy’ manner; once out of it, their ‘horns’ grew. So I convinced myself that as long as I had God in my heart, I could pray anywhere I wanted. I became a bi-annual church-goer, for Chinese New Year and Christmas. And I stopped going for Confession, and even participated in non-Christian events and prayers.

Last year, a friend fell ill. She is Catholic and the only way I knew how to pray for her was to go back to church. Eventually I began to feel good after each Mass, and I grew to enjoy the weekly routine. Earlier this year, the same friend introduced me to CSC. One thing led to another and we found ourselves at the Retreat.

Through the four days, I slowly began to see God’s love for us in each and every activity that we went through, from the stations of the cross to the carrying of the cross, Reconciliation, Confession, and prayer for healing.

For someone who hardly went to church and had not gone for Confession for close to 25 years, I had mixed emotions. I think I cried more than I spoke during Confession. But it felt so good, as if a weight was lifted off my shoulders. It was a fresh start for me. I was able to accept the healing process when the Holy Spirit descended upon us, knowing that I was cleansed and worthy to receive it.

I surrendered myself totally to God, and received a special gift from Him on the last day–the gift of tongues. When I sat up, all I could do was weep tears of joy. I have truly been blessed.

On the first day of praise & worship, I had kept my hands close to my body, not daring to lift them up; by the end of the four days, they were raised high, and I was praising God like never before. Praise the Lord.

Over the last few days, all I could think of was to spread the love of the Lord to all my family and friends. I was humming and singing songs of praise and I go to bed listening to them. This Retreat has truly transformed me and I am working hard to not go back to my old ways.

The best part is, I am finally home.

Karen Tang, CER 30