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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bidding Farewell to our German Friends

Sandakan : Ecclesiates 3:1 - 'There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven'. Truly, the six German participants from Heilbron, who were here in Sandakan on 14th August 2010 were hosted to a farewell dinner reception, on Tuesday evening, 17th August 2010 at Wisma Basel.

All six German guests, putting up with host families had the opportunity to be exposed to the local cultures. Their stay, which was over a weekend, allowed them to experience the Eucharistic celebration in the Roman Catholic Church and the worship service of the Basel Christian Church of Malaysia.

The delegates were taken to a tour of the town, which among others, included the famous 'Orang Hutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Rainforest Discovery Centre and the Central Wet Market.
The Chairman of the Church Council of BCCM Sandakan, Vun Soon Chong and the Chairman of the St Mary's Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council, John Baptis  in their addresses, touched on the importance of ecumenism. The Sabah-Heilbron Ecumenical Partnership program, with the regular exchange of ecumenical visits from both sides had not only strengthened the partnership itself but paved the way for a closer working relationship within the Churches in Sabah.

The participants, with Eva and Catherine both Catholics, playing the flute and the guitar respectively, presented two beautiful songs in German and one farewell song in Latin. Part of the farewell song, translated, sound as follows;

I hope that the Lord will be with you,
and hold you in His hands,
Would the road lead us together,
Till we meet again, someday, somewhere

Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, presented souvenirs to the Roman Catholic delegates while Vun Soon Chong presented the same to the Evangelican-Lutheran delegates.
Eva Anding, one of the delegates,   a teacher by profession has this to say, 'I am indeed very grateful to have come to Sabah. The people are very hospitable. Though, from a far away foreign land, I feel very much at home. I am really amazed on how the Catholic faithful of St Mary's Cathedral come together to put up such a tremendous fund raising bazaar. It is an eye opener to me.'

Catherine has this to share, 'I suppose we came at the right moment. We joined the local people in the celebration of the Parish Feast Day. We attended the Outdoor mass of the Feast of Assumption.We enjoyed the Parish Bazaar and the Choral Festival. It's just marvelous!'.

They left for Bundu Tuhan, yesterday morning, 18th August 2010 where they will meet the other members from Kudat for an evaluation of their exposure.


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