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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I am Home ~ Anna Teresa Peter Amandus

Group photo with Bishop AntonioTobias
I’m Home!

I am finally home after ten months of formation in IFFA. It has been six days in Sandakan since I bade farewell to all my friends, interns and staff of IFFA. The feeling of missing them still lingers in my mind and heart. The sound of their laughter, their faces and even their smell is still caught up inside me. Even on my way home in the airplane as I looked out the window each of their faces popped out from the clouds. Gosh! It is so amazing how ten months can give a huge impact on each one.  However, I have to accept the fact that we had completed our formation and it is time to go back home and step into the reality. They might be far away from me but they are always within me deep in my heart. Our friendship remains forever. That is the greatest gift of all – LOVE.

Dear friends here in Diocese of Sandakan, I would like to share with you my few memorable days in IFFA before coming back to Sandakan. Allow me to bring you back to 6th March 2011. A day that all of us students were waiting for. It was our sending off Mass. It was really a spirit –filled mass as we were sent off by Bishop Antonio Tobias witnessed by parishioners who attended the mass. I’m blessed because my mother and sister were there to witness the sending off. Not only that my two foster families from Mindoro Island and Nueva Viscaya came all the way to join me in this happiest moment of my life. This is more than I ever prayed for and God, truly you are amazing!

There were so many people who came to our send off mass. Our ITF classmates, Doc. Manny, Fr. Danny, Fr. Alrin (who celebrate mass with us every Wednesday morning), families, foster families, Fondacio Philippines community, our resource persons, China Mission Community, the children and youth from the “CLUB” that we used to organize activities with and for them and friends that we met along the way during our 10 months' journey in IFFA.

“Where is your life grounded in?” This was a crucial question addressed by Bishop Antonio Tobias, the celebrant, to everyone during his homily that day. He emphasized that the word of God is not only to be heard but it should be acted out. Above all, the prelate again emphasized to make CHRIST as our model in life. Only through HIM we will be 'like a wise man who built his house on rock and no matter how strong the wind blew it will not fall' Matthew 7:24-25. The reading that day was powerful and it seems it was meant for each one of us.  God sent these words of wisdom for us, as we embark on our mission. Only in communion with God, we can go through this road less travelled by and make a different.
Professing their commitment statement

After the communion, each of us was called to lit our candles and stand before the altar facing the parishioners. And with all our heart we professed our commitment statement word by word with conviction that we are willing to be God’s servant and instrument to His people. We prayed for God’s assistance to be faithful in the mission that was entrusted to us by the community and to be docile to whatever the Holy Spirit  asks of us.

Oh my God my body was chilling and I could feel the Spirit moving in me especially the time when the Cross as a sign of discipleship was put on to each one of us. Again I’d say that I’m blessed because my own mother placed the necklace around my neck and Lisa from Sarawak. I could not hold my tears, it was really beyond my expectation. And during that moment we were being prayed over by the whole Church, I heard the magical sound of the piano played by my sister Elyna with Ate (kakak) Maribel singing the “Spirit Song” truly from her heart. I closed my eyes and whispered softly to God “Yes, Lord Here I am your humble servant”.

It all began with a dream and that dream had brought me and my friends up to this beautiful point in our life. As Fr. Rey said during our closing Retreat, the formations are tools but change is never possible if we don’t end up with deeper relationship with God in prayer and be opened to allow the conversion to take place.  I’m grateful that I listen to the voice within and took up this formation. It’s not easy but it is worth going through it.
Cultural dance and songs

After the mass we continue on with our sending off celebration in the institute. We presented our cultural dance and songs and  giving testimonies. It ended  with a message from Charles our Director and a song – Give Thanks. It was indeed a day of a life time.


Dear friends in the Diocese of Sandakan, thank you for being part of my journey and here you are my love stories with God from my first sharing with you in June 2010 until the day I am send off together with my friends in March 2011. Thank you for your support and prayers. 

I also would like to take this opportunity to thank Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom for the trust he gave to me, Uncle Francis and the Diocesan Staff, Fr. Thomas Makajil and members of the Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council, Diocesan Youth Apostolate Team, Parish Youth Apostolate Team, The teenagers (TRBR) and friends. I also would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all IFFA staff and interns, Doc. Manny, Fr. Danny and Sir Anton of St. Vincent School of Theology, Fr. Alrin our Chaplain, all the resource persons, friends, my foster families and my beautiful family. Thank you for being my inspiration. I hope that you will continue to journey with me through your support, prayers and friendship as I move on into my mission.

Photos with foster family and friends

Last but not least I thank God for all the blessings He had poured not only unto me but also to my friends. Thank you Lord for PUSHING us beyond our limitation and above all thank you for making our dreams alive for YOU are our possibility! WOW!
Cross ~ the sign of discipleship
Anna Teresa Peter Amandus

1 comment:

  1. Not sure if my comment got to you as I don't know how to do this. But I have just read this blog and it is WONDERFUL. Thank you so much. S.H.



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