SEMPORNA : Last June 15th to 18th, the Diocesan Youth Apostolate (DYA) teaming up with Tawau Parish Youth Apostolate (PYA) visited St. Jude's Church Semporna, a small town in Tawau Division, in the east coast of Sabah. Some 23 youth attended the 3-day program held in the church.
The program started in the evening of Friday 15th June, with action songs, games and praise and worship led by the PYA Team from Tawau. It was full of fun, joy and laughter throughout the night. Participants were fully engaged and much interaction transpired ~ friendship cemented and bonding strengthened.
Towards the end of the night, participants were asked to write a personal letter to God telling Him their expectations of the program proper which would start the following day. In deep silence and prayerful discernment they penned down their God-inspired thoughts in a love-shaped card.
On the second day, Saturday 16th June we started our day with morning prayer followed by 'Lectio Divina', a form of spiritual reading of the Scriptures. Anna, Sharon and Felsa May facilitated the sessions for the day.
|'My first time encountering the Youth Cross and I felt.....'|
|Challenges faced by the local youth in St Jude, Semporna|
Listening with not only their ears but also their hearts ~ 'God's letter to me' "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." -1 John 4:7
After having quiet moments with God and much sharing we had lunch prepared by the local community. We continued our day with playing games. The "Paralytic" one of the games has much to offer to the participants ~ become great friends to others and bring people to Jesus throug our kind action and love.
Felsa May presented the next session on the background of Sabah Youth Day and its aims and objectives. Participants shared on how to go about in achieving the aims; called to lead a life of holiness, witnessing and preparing oneself to lead in the Church.
|St. Jude's youth.|
|Praying over parents and parishioners of St. Jude, Semporna.|
Participants, their parents and local parishioners attended the evening session, the pray over session. We hoped that all participants would have been strengthened spiritually, prepared and energized for the upcoming Sabah Youth Day in August as in Collosians 2 : 7 - "Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."
"We should be thankful with all the gifts that He has given us.."
On the third day, Sunday 17th June we attended Sunday Service conducted by EMC Ricardo Dragon who in his sharing urged each and all to utilize their gifts for the good of the Church. Each is a part of the body and therefore each has a role to play to build up the body, the Church.
After which, we had the opportunity to explore Semporna, the town itself and a few places of attraction. The local youth were our guides and we spent much time in the popular archaeological heritage site at Bukit Tengkorak.
The 3-day gathering has brought the local youth closer to one another. The exposure has indeed made the youth realized their roles in the church. We were very much blessed to have Uncle Roel Despalo, the caretaker of the Church, Auntie Rose Despalo and family for hosting us during our stay in Semporna.