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Tuesday, November 22, 2011


: Two representatives from the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), Philippines had once again chosen to visit the Diocese of Sandakan after having its mission project for the 5thbatch students early February 2011 in the Diocese.
Patrick Sta. Maria and Julito Garces (Kuya Bong) are both full time missionaries serving IFFAsia, assisting in the formation program for young adults coming from across Asia. They had two sessions with the youth and another session with community leaders at St Mary’s Cathedral Parish from 8th ~ 10th October 2011.

Patrick Sta. Maria and Julito Garces (Kuya Bong)
The visit was primary to continue the link with the sending Diocese. It was also to support Anna Teresa Peter Amandus, a 5th batch student, graduated last March 2011 in her work on the ground. Anna is currently serving full time as Director of the Diocesan Youth Office and also the coordinator of the Diocesan Youth Apostolate. Apart from that it is also a continuous effort to promote the program and to seek for support to sustain the mission of the Institute.

Taking the opportunity of their visit in accompaniment of Anna, they were requested to share their talents in facilitation and animation skills with the local youth and team building skill through cooperative learning workshop for community leaders.

For the facilitation and animation skill workshop, youth were exposed to an activity-based session, where they were given the opportunity to facilitate and animate in front of their peer group. Patrick reminded the youth to always facilitate using the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple and Short) concept. The session was lively with fun-filled activities to learn and much to laugh by.

Patrick and Julito also shared various approaches in facilitating and animating by using one's talents and gifts. The approaches included games, dances, songs, music and storytelling. However a good facilitator must understand the power of learning through visual, audio and kinetic elements. It was a joyful encounter and really an effective learning experience that the youth could remember and easily apply in any youth gathering.
"I'm singing in the rain....."

Learn and share

The Team Building using Cooperative Learning workshop was arranged especially for community leaders in the Parish.The workshop started off with Patrick inviting all leaders to let go of their adult character for the session and be like a “child”.
“The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like a child.” Matthew 18:4

There were three parts during the workshop with the community leaders. First part was two presentations of video clip of IFFAsia's 10-month formation program attended by Anna and the mission project in Sandakan. Secondly, was a sharing from Julito Garces which included the five fingers concept – the “No. 1” syndrome.

Thirdly, was Patrick sharing on what is team building all about. He showed a video clip on team building and leadership based on the flight of geese. Participants were divided into pairs to explore on the elements shown by the geese in their flight. They were then grouped into groups of four and into a large group of all participants to share on the basics of team building and leadership. They shared on how to develop an effective team by belonging to a team and feeling something larger than self.

Behold how good and how pleasant it is, for brethren to dwell together
In unity, to dwell in unity, la la la la la la la la la

We can use the wonderful lessons from the geese in our mission, helping us to foster and encourage unity among members to reach another level of service as a team. The geese also taught us that together each achieve more (team) if we keep on encouraging and uplifting one another.

The session was really helpful and it was indeed an awesome learning experience with Patrick and Julito, facilitating and animating the occasion. We thank them for coming.


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