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Friday, September 14, 2012

2nd Malaysian IFFAsia Graduates Gathering

photos by Jasper 

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” - Jeremiah 1:5
SANDAKAN : The Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) based in Quezon City, Philippines was established in 2006 by the International Fondacio Community. It offers a 10-month formation program encompassing human, social, spiritual / theology and pastoral components. As of date, 93 young adults from across Asia had undergone the formation and are currently serving in their respective dioceses / parishes. 
Thus far, 14 young Malaysian adults had graduated from the Institute ~ six from Peninsular, five from Sabah and three from Sarawak. The latest to graduate from batch six, some five months back, includes Rebecca Isaac from the Peninsular, Sheerah Yangus and Sharon Tan from East Malaysia. 
The first gathering of IFFAsia graduates was held last year in Penang. This year, the second gathering was hosted by the Diocese of Sandakan. Six graduates, all from East Malaysia, made it to the gathering. The main purpose is to reflect on one's vocation and direction after the formation. We shared our joys and sorrows, the ups and downs of mission work. Patrcik Sta. Maria, one of our formators in IFFAsia, accompanied us during the 3-day gathering.
L-R : Patrick and Wilfred
"This gathering has strengthened me, lifted me, for I know I am not alone in doing God's work. Our sharings has encouraged me to  remain faithful in the mission for He has promised to be with us until the end of time. I will hold on to 'knowing Him, loving Him and serving Him'. I want to remain in Him and this is where I belong.'  - Sheerah Yangus (in green), batch six.
"We are called to always re-visit our first conviction to our "YES" to God's work especially in times of trouble, confusion and persecution.  We must also revisit our life commitment as Christian and to remember to walk side by side with the other graduates and Jesus" Wilfred James (in dark green), 2nd batch. 
L-R : Anna Amandus of Sandakan and Sheerah of Kota Kinabalu
Seated : L-R - Sharon, Monica Lisa, Lucy
Standing L-R - Samuael, Aunty Deepo, Arlene, Anna, Sheerah, Wilfred, Patrick, Uncle Pilis
Monica Lisa in striped t-shirt a graduate of batch 5 from Sarawak who had her mission project in Sandakan January 2011 paid a visit to her foster family Uncle Pilis and Aunty Deepo.
It was a marvelous experience for all of us. It brought back fond memories of our formation years in IFFAsia in the 'Little Lamb' in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, Philippines. We cherished the community life, the  household experience, community prayers, retreats, the social and pastoral immersion. The process has changed us, seeing things in a different perspective. The gathering has rekindle in us a new fire. The in fillings has re-energized us. The get together has strengthened our bonding. Let us then move forward and be 'Bearers of Hope'.
The 3rd IFFAsia graduates gathering next year will be in Kuala Lumpur. We look forward to meeting up again. Let our light keep shining, let it radiates far and wide. Till we meet again and may our IFFAsia spirit spur us a step further in our mission.
God bless and let's meet in our prayers.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." - Isaiah 41:10
A message from IFFAsia
"Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" -1 Cor 13:7. I feel blessed that we all share a common call as sons and daughters of the Father. Thank you for being witnesses and disciples of Jesus Christ, to be at the service of one another, the youth and the marginalized. Let us continue to live it with the love that bears, trusts, hopes and endures!! In communion. With love and prayers. Alice Tan (Fondacio Asia Youth Pastoral Coordinator)

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