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Friday, August 3, 2012

Malaysia-Singapore MAGIS 2012

article by ds/st
photos by Sharon Tan, Amanda Leonie and Bro. Jerome Leon, SJ
Sandakan : Malaysia - Singapore (MAS) MAGIS, a one-week program, was held in Sabah from 23rd  to 30th July 2012. The program comprised two main parts - a pilgrimage and live-in experience with the indigenous community at Kampung Tampasak, Penampang, and a retreat at Bundu Tuhan Retreat House to reflect on the live-in experience. The program was organised by the Congregation of the Society of Jesus with support from PACOS TRUST, a community based voluntary organisation aimed to raise the quality of life of the indigenous community and the KK Archdiocesan Human Development Commission.

A total of 13 participants ~ 8 Sabahans; Sharon Tan and Tommy from Sandakan Diocese, Yvonne, Debbie, Anne, Nigel and Dwana from Kota Kinabalu Archdiocese and Roney from Keningau Diocese; two Sarawakians, Diana and Alley and one from Kuala Lumpur, Damien participated in the program. We were also blessed to have Fr. James Tan, SJ  and Bro. Jerome Leon, SJ, both of Singapore journeying with us throughout the program.
Fr. James Tan, SJ (seated) and Fr. Jojo Fung, SJ (standing)
"The MAGIS program is to help the youth to find God in every experience" - Fr. Jojo Fung SJ.
Upon arrival at PACOS Training Centre, Kampung Lumunu, Penampang, Monday 23rd July, we attended  the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. James Tan, SJ. MAGIS is a Latin word, meaning MORE.
"If I am sent to do things I don't like, but if it is God who sent me, I will go and do" - Bro. Jerome Leon, SJ
Ice breaking activities.
Our  hopes and expectations.
House rules or Unity Boat - Amanda Leonie
After Mass, we were served with a simple yet delicious dinner, followed by a short briefing of the Congregation of the Society of Jesus by Fr. Jojo Fung, SJ and a short sharing from Bro. Jerome Leon SJ. Before retiring, we listed out our hopes and expectations of the MAGIS program. Amanda Leonie, our main facilitator briefed us on house rules and facilitated the ice breaking session.
Aunty Winnie of Kampung Tampasak
Everyone getting ready for the trip to the old Kampung Tampasak or currently known as the Babagon Dam
First stop at the rubber plantation, Babagon Dam.
Listening to the legendary story about Kampung Kiau, Penampang
Visiting the former site of the school and football field.
On the second day, Tuesday 24th July, everyone woke up early to prepare for the trip to Kampung Tampasak and the Babagon Dam located in Penampang. When we arrived, we were welcomed by Aunty Winnie, the representative of Kampung Tampasak and some local youth who would be our tour guides. We rested for awhile and continued our day, walking for an hour from Kampung Tampasak to Babagon Dam. We spend the whole afternoon admiring God's creation.

The day's program ended with a Mass presided by Fr. Jojo Fung SJ. Aunty Winnie briefed us about Babagon Dam through a power point presentation.
Lunch by the stream
On the third day, Wednesday 25th July, Aunty Winnie brought us around the village, listening to their struggles and challenges. Everyone was given the opportunity to plant a tree at Taman Herba Nointus located at Kampung Tampasak itself. After exploring the village for some two hours, we had lunch by the stream.
(L-R) Mr. Cynthia Sumanding, Mdm. Rufina Koyou, Mdm. Adrienne Dadong and Mdm. Anne Lasimbang
"Love what you do, do what you love" - Mdm. Rufina Koyou

"If you offer your life to others, you will receive more" - Mdm. Anne Lasimbang
In the afternoon, we listened to the sharings of the PACOS TRUST members about their life and their experiences working with the indigenous community by Mdm. Anne Lasimbang, Mdm. Adrienne Dadong, Mdm. Rufina Koyou and Mr. Cynthia Sumanding.
Mr. Dominic Lim, Executive Secretary of the KK Archdiocese
The 2nd session of the day was given by Mr. Dominic Lim, the Executive Secretary of KK Archdiocese about migration and human trafficking. He posed a question to us "As Catholic youth, how can we respond?". At around 7.30pm we went to Kampung Ramaya to attend a dialogue session with the mgrant workers from Flores Island, Indonesia.

"God gave us the earth, aren't you taking care of it?" - Fr. Jojo Fung SJ 

On the fourth day Thursday 26th July, everyone woke up early as we need to depart to Bundu Tuhan at 8.00am. We stopped by at Pekan Nabalu for our lunch and continued our journey to Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center. During the first session, we were divided into groups and were asked to share our experience based on the question given ~ be a good steward of God's creation. After dinner, Fr. Jojo Fung taught us how to do theological reflection by reading the Catholic Social Teaching papers which were given to us. We ended that night with a  Mass presided by Fr. Jojo Fung SJ.
On the fifth day, Friday 27th July we had our morning prayer facing Mount Kinabalu a-midst the fresh morning breeze at Bundu Tuhan. After breakfast, we left for Poring Hot Spring, about an hour drive from Bundu Tuhan.We walked the 835-meter canopy walk. Although it was tiring but everyone enjoyed the canopy walk and some even wanted to do it again! 
Mr. Justinus Guntabid on the history and legend of Mount Kinabalu

After the canopy walk, some went swimming and others had long chat with their new found friends. Before returning to Bundu Tuhan Retreat Center, one of the participants invited us to her sister's resort, Puncak Borneo Resort. Not only did we enjoyed our tea break at the resort, we also enjoyed listening to legendary story of that place and Mount Kinabalu. When we arrived BTRC, we were briefed by Mr. Justinus Guntabid from the Management and Operation Department of Taman Kinabalu about the story and history of Mount Kinabalu. 
After a tiring day, we had Mass facing Mount Kinabalu. The mass was also presided by Fr. Jojo Fung SJ. The long awaited session, GRAND SILENCE RETREAT finally commenced. The theme for the retreat was "THERE IS A HEART LIKE MINE." Fr. Jojo Fung explained to us about the retreat and the reason why he chose that theme.
"Come away to a lonely place.. and rest for awhile" - Mark 6:31
The sixth day, Saturday 28th July also the 2nd day of silent retreat,  Fr. Jojo SJ gave us some inputs to help us do the reflection. Everything was silence and I enjoyed my personal time with God. We joined the local parishioners for the Sunset Mass at St Pius Chapel, Bundu Tuhan.
On the seventh day, Sunday 29th July we shared our encounter with God in the large group. It was obvious through our sharings that everyone was happy and experienced the presence of God in their own way and situation. After the sharing session, Fr Jojo Fung, SJ presided the Closing Mass. In the afternoon, we listened to a talk by Bro. Jerome Leon, SJ about Saint Ignatius of Loyola and continued our sharing in the evening.
The seven-day program was an unforgettable experience. We were enriched, recharged and refreshed to move on with the mission of the Church.

Till we meet again. God bless.

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