Search This Blog

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013


By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Holy Trinity Parish Tawau  14th December 2013 : Advent is always an opportunity for all to prepare spiritually for Christmas, ready for the coming of Jesus Christ. The Church celebrates Lent as the apex of the  Catholic Liturgical year, the  history of God’s compassion and mercy whereas Advent is another opportunity that leads us to the history of Salvation, the mystery of God made man.
During Advent, we keep close to God. We recall the beautiful plan of God Almighty, pray that it will remain in us, embrace us and save us. Yet there are others who chose otherwise, to ignore the presence of God in their life.
In Luke 1 :  38, "Then Mary said, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you have said." The broken bridge between God and human is beautifully formed and the love of God flows through the acceptance of our Lady, the Mother of our Savior. Could there be any salvation for us if Mary withdraws herself from this wonderful plan of God?
Msgr. Nicholas Ong, the rector, in his homily during the 3rd Sunday of Advent on 14th December said, "Jesus Christ is our loving Savior. He comes not to judge but to save us sinners. He is the merciful Messiah. So the joyous news is that God comes to man and brings us to the promised salvation." 
Some 200 carollers from the various Church groups and BECs who had atttended a one-day recollection a week before, were commissioned during the Eucharistic celebration.  The annual home carolling begins 15th - 19th December 2013.
Some 800 faithful; priests, religious, laity and all carollers, both from the main Parish and BEC groups gathered at the Parish Hall for the 'Carol by Candle Light' event, a preparation for the Home carolling, the following evening.
The 4 weeks of Advent provide us an opportunity personally to prepare ourselves to welcome Christ in our hearts in peace and joy. Let us reflect on the BIG opportunity given us by God especially during this season that we may be fully aware and prepare our inner self to welcome Christ in our family for love is born on Christmas day.

  • The opportunity to repent and to open our heart to believe that indeed the Saviour has been born for us
  • Giving us the opportunity to reconcile with our family members, friends, and those whom we have hurt and most of all with GOD
  • The opportunity to purify ourselves that we will welcome Christ in peace and that peace will convert us to a new and committed person to follow Christ our Creator and Savior
  • The opportunity to become the instrument of peace : by proclaiming the Good News to others through carols , we are bringing  the joy that calm the anxious heart and comfort the restless for God is love.
  • Opportunity to be the light of God’s love and peace to touch the hearts of those who have gone astray from God.
Christmas is about peace and joy. Let us share this season with others for we are the tongue and the lip of God, bringing and sharing the Good News.

Friday, December 13, 2013


 ~ By Charlene and Venessa 
Para Jururawat Pelatih bergambar bersama Sr Appollonia fsic sebagai tanda kenangan
SANDAKAN, 24 Nov 2013 : Aktiviti gotong-royong yang diadakan di St. Mary’s Convent telah dihadiri oleh seramai 21 orang Jururawat Pelatih dari Kolej Kejururawatan Sandakan (KKS) termasuk seorang Jururawat Terlatih yang baru sahaja dilantik yang mana juga merupakan bekas penuntut KKS.

Kelihatan para jururawat pelatih bekerjasama membersihkan bahagian ruang tamu convent
St. Mary’s Convent Sandakan telah berusia 30 tahun dan dihuni oleh tiga orang Sisters dari Kongregasi FSIC iaitu, Sr. Appolonia fsic, Sr.Lilian fsic dan juga Sr. Veronica fsic. Kerana kesibukan para Religious, maka suatu inisiatif yang telah lama diusulkan dalam Persatuan Pelatih Kristian RC di KKS akhirnya terlaksana, dengan objektif utama iaitu, untuk membantu para Sisters membersihkan bangunan kediaman serta kawasan convent. Antara aktiviti yang dilakukan ialah seperti mengelap cermin, menyapu halaman convent, menyusun buku-buku dan sebagainya. 
Menyusun buku-buku rohani juga merupakan salah satu aktiviti mereka
Selain dari membantu Sisters, secara tidak langsung suatu objektif tersirat, ternyata dapat menarik perhatian para Jururawat Pelatih akan suasana kehidupan insani seorang Religious yang dicirikan dengan suasana yang tenang dan aman. Dalam ceramah singkat yang disampaikan oleh Sr. Appollonia fsic selepas sahaja aktiviti gotong-royong selesai, beliau menggambarkan kehidupan para Religious melalui renungan singkat yang bertajuk 'Iman dan Doa.' 
Wajah ceria dan gembira yang diekspresikan selepas selesai melaksanakan aktiviti pembersihan
Sememangnya tanpa kita sedari iman dan doa tidak dapat dipisahkan dan haruslah bertumbuh seiringan. Tanpa iman tiadalah doa dan tanpa doa matilah iman. Renungan singkat beserta dengan sesi soal jawab ternyata banyak membantu para pelatih menjawab banyak persoalan terutama berkaitan dengan pelbagai cabaran yang sedang dihadapi pada masa kini, lebih-lebih lagi apabila faktor geografi yang menjadi punca berjauhan dengan keluarga justeru lebih mencabar kepercayaan iman dalam menghidupi hidup seharian sebagai seorang Kristian.
Para Jururawat pelatih fokus mendengar perkongsian yang diberikan oleh Sr Appollonia fsic.
Usia setahun jagung bukan menjadi penghalang bagi setiap individu untuk lebih mengenal Kristus. Justeru dengan adanya aktiviti seperti ini, secara langsung dapat membajai iman dan pengharapan setiap insan yang merindukan keluarga yang jauh dan terutama sekali terhadap Cinta Yesus sendiri.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An interview with Evelyn Doikin, graduate of IFFAsia's Batch 7

Name   :           Evelyn Doikin
Age      :           25
Hometown:     Tamparuli, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Sending Organization: Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd / The Good Shepherd Welfare Centre.
Your employment prior to joining IFFAsia:
·       Youth Coordinator at Youth-PREP Centre, Alamesra, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.  
How do you come to know about IFFAsia?
In 2011, through YouthPREPLink programs at the Dioceses of Sandakan and Keningau I met Anna and Roselinah. They are faithful servants of God, faithfully and confidently journeying with the Sabahan youths. Their commitment attracted me. I had a good time sharing with them about IFFAsia. From there on, I had a desire to join the formation. During the 3rd Sabah Youth Day in Tambunan in 2012, Anna introduced me to the IFFAsia team. Two months later, I received an invitation to join IFFAsia. 
 Retreat on Personal Development Plan ~ we started the formation year with a retreat to understand our call as young disciples and to get to know what is IFFAsia all about. 
What were your expectations when offered a place?
·      Improve my leadership skills
·      Learn how to prepare, organize and run programs
·      Improve my communication skills

Does IFFAsia meet your expectation?
Yes, IFFAsia had helped me to increase my self-confidence and to take on a more proactive role in giving service. My spiritual life has improved and I discovered more of myself.  IFFAsia had also helped me to understand more about the roles of the young people in the church and society at large.
 Social immersion, a component of our training in IFFAsia. We made analysis of situations, its development and problems based on the see, judge and act approach
What does IFFAsia offer?
This formation offers four modules;
  •      Human Module
  •      Social Module
  •      Spiritual Module
  •      Pastoral Module.
The sessions of the four modules enabled the students to discover themselves more and grow in spiritual life. It promotes healing and transformation in the context of a diverse living community. We are given the opportunities to improve on communication skills and understand more about the inter-cultural sensitivity. IFFAsia also enables the students to be more aware of the challenges in the society today through exposure visits, internship and mission project.  

What one component that attract you most?
The Pastoral Module

Give your reasons:
During the Pastoral module sessions,  I discovered many new things in life. It has helped me improved my skills, both leadership and communicative and has enhanced my self-confidence. It has enabled me to have a better understanding about the needs of the church and society through the sessions and exposure of pastoral internship, the Spirit of Vatican 2, pastoral / development leadership course, youth ministry, discernment skill, mission project and etc.
Faith Walk is part of the formative process during the Lenten season in preparation for Easter. It is also a culmination event of our human formation module in thanksgiving for the wonders the Lord has done in our path of transformation and healing. I have time to reflect on my inner self in term of my faith, to prepare and strengthen me for the coming of Holy Week and Easter. This experience, enables me to have a better understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in my life.
What is your most memorable experience in IFFAsia?
My most memorable experience in IFFAsia is Community life because it allows me to experience living with people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. Learning of the challenges they encounter in their country, the way they proclaim God in their life, the desire to serve the poor and reaching out to young people really touched me.
All events were well prepared and effectively implemented. Events such as the retreat on Personal Development Plan, towards a New Life, Faith Walk, Mission project and etc. had enhanced and enriched my self-confidence. Our daily interaction had cemented a good relationship bond with one other. The good relationship bond built, made my journey in IFFAsia joyful, experiencing God’s love and mercy. My mission became clearer and am set to use the experience gained to reach out to the young people. 

What areas have you improved on?
After the formation process in IFFAsia, I realized that I had changed, not only in terms of my understanding, perception and belief. I came to understand more about the Christian Catholic faith, developing a disciplined life of prayer and bringing out the leadership in me and others.  
Even though baptized since birth, I had no discipline in my spiritual life. Sometimes, I felt that God was not important in my life and the consequences were such that, I had a foul relationship with God, others, and my family. I felt that I could do everything by myself, what I had was from me and often times I shunned God.  I lacked confidence talking and sharing about God with others. 
Sometimes, I just wanted to give up in my ministry. I had nothing to offer. I had no talent, no skill and not capable. Yet my heart and my desire was set ablaze to serve God. The formation really awakened a spiritual understanding in me. I become more aware of my strength and interest in life and God’s power. Today, this is my strength, knowing, loving Him and sharing God with others. I want to bring peace to others because of the peace I received from Him.  
The youth encounter experience. We pray for peace and unity. We talk and listen to one another. We believe God is with us, to bless each of us to build a better church in this world. Today I have a dream to see the church supporting the youth to have a better future in term of spirituality and morality. I really thank God for this new learning experience in my life. This is an awareness that God wants to show to me and to do something to the people in need.
Mission Project
Your experience:
“You are the salt of the earth, but what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? You are the light of the world; don’t hide your light under a basket! Let your good deeds shine in the dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the darkness”. (Matthew 5:13-16) Our theme for the Mission Project is “Youth initiatives for peace”

My experience during the Mission Project in Vietnam and Cambodia was enriching, encountering with young people, FBOs, NGOs, the poor and etc. My experience really opened my eyes to see the reality of the new trend of the modern world. During the mission project, I had a good time to get to know about the local situation in Cambodia, its political-social economy, religious and cultural environment. It helped me to have a better understanding of the social mission of the church and to have a deep sense of engagement in the process of dialogue on peace among different religions and cultures.            
The mission project, an initiative and an integral component of IFFAsia's formation program had created the opportunities for students to be involved in dialogue-in-action regarding peace building. It provided us with the knowledge, skills and the right attitudes needed in our pastoral involvement. The program had also increased the awareness and my understanding of the challenges of migration, human rights, and post-civil war rebuilding process and its impact on society.  
What is expected of you upon your return to your sending organization?
I am expected to take on a team leadership role at the Youth-PREP Centre and will be directly involved in the training and development of peers as well as coordinating programs.

One comment about IFFAsia / Course:
The course is very helpful especially for young leaders and lay missionaries to have a better understanding about spiritual life, the development in the society and church, the needs of the poor and the discovery of self, our potential and talents. IFFAsia is one place that enables us an effective gain in terms of training in Human and Social Formation, Skill Training, Spiritual and Pastoral and Theological Formation, Integration Planning for projects on the ground. This kind of holistic formation really prepares every young lay leader to prepare themselves for mission.  

One comment on the staff / formators
They are very helpful and kind. I can see the love of Jesus flowing in them. They are committed and pro-active in helping to form young leaders from across Asia. They are professionals yet humble in sharing their experiences with the students.  Personally, they had created the space for me to experience the amazing journey of faith in IFFAsia. I thank God for the time, support, knowledge and love they have given me.

One comment about your course-mates
I am happy with them; they are always there for me and journey with me throughout my formation year. They are friendly and have the desire to bring newness to the church and society. They have good motivation to be leaders and are ready to serve the youths and work with the poor. I realize that many of us want to bring change to the world. Having them as friends, makes me feel that I am not alone in mission.

Your advice to the young people in your church / parish / diocese:
“As Pope Francis tells us - no one in the Church is useless, and if from time to time someone says to someone else: “go home, you are no good”, this is not true.”
Therefore all people are important. They are to play their roles in the community and in the church to be servant leaders, to serve others, to use their talents and potential to benefit society.  I believe young people can bring transformation for a better world. They have power and energy to contribute to the development in society. 
As young people of God, we are invited to love and serve Him, to share our tiny faith with one another, to bring about evangelization and to love one another. We are an important agent of change, a great resource for social development.
“Be the light of Christ, we are called to spread the word and live the faith”.

To all my supporters / sponsors
During my formation year in the Philippines, I thank God for your kindness and care given to me. I am grateful to God for making me a part of so many young people gathered in IFFAsia, for using me as His instrument in this sacred journey of life. Through all these experiences, I have gained much and my heart is filled with gratitude. 
The lives of this community have moulded me to be humble; reflected my own areas of change and growth –to be committed and persevere, to believe that each person has the potential to change for the better. Thank you for all the support, either in prayers or in financial assistance. It is really encouraging for me to stand up in answer to God and continue in my mission. Please continue to remember me and my friends in your prayers and do continue to journey with us in this mission to build a better world. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Courtesy Call on Bishop Julius

L-R : Francis Tan, Sr Maria Dipal rgs, Sr Barbara Lip rgs, Fr Andreas SJ,
Bishop Julius, Fr Benny SJ and Sr Lidwina rgs
Sandakan : Fr Benedictus Hari Juliawan SJ, the co-ordinator of the Social Apostolate of Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) based in Jakarta and Fr Andreas Sugijopranoto  SJ, the former director of Jesuit Refugee Service for Asia Pacific and former director of ATMI (Industrial Engineering Academy) in Solo, Central Java, currently pursuing a doctorate degree in civil engineering at Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta paid a courtesy call on Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom this morning, 9th December 2013 at the Sandakan Diocesan Pastoral Centre.
The Social Apostolate of JCAP, since 2010 has placed migration and ecology as the two priority engagements as a Conference in the Asia Pacific region.
They exchanged views on the possible services that JCAP may extend to the migrants especially in informal / formal education to children of migrant workers. Issues on the realities of the migrants and the current outreach services carried out by the Diocese through the Good Shepherd Sisters were also highlighted. During their one week stay in the Diocese, they will visit the migrant communities, the children learning programme and the Migrant School in Tawau. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New School Boards of Governors for the three Catholic Mission Schools in Tawau

By Julita, SOCCOM Tawau
Holy Trinity Parish Tawau : The handing over ceremony of  the School Boards Of Governors of the three Catholic mission schools of Holy Trinity Parish was held on 17th November 2013. The new Boards will serve a term of three years, from 2013 - 2016.
The three mission schools, St Ursula Secondary School, Holy Trinity Secondary School and Holy Trinity Primary School as well as Holy Trinity Kindergarten are all located along Jalan Melati, close to Holy Trinity Church.
Bro. Philip Lee, the former Chairman of the Sandakan Diocesan Education Commission expressed his gratitude to everyone for their support and willingness to accept the challenge in serving as School Board members. He also urged the new SBOGs to serve with integrity and perseverance, purity and transparency.  SBOGs should focus on team work, the recipe to project the Board to greater heights. 
Bro. Thadeus  Sibir, the out-going Chairman for Holy Trinity Secondary School Board of Governors for more than 10 years  find it quite challenging but yet spiritually rewarding. 'Being members of the SBOGs, is to commit ourselves in assisting the school administration specially in placing emphasis on holistic education, balancing character development with academic excellence,' he said . To end his sharing , he extended a vote of thanks to all the members of the SBOGs, the respective school heads and also to Bro. Philip for their full support.
With all the new SBOGs in place, it is hoped that the Boards will endeavour to preserve the identity of Catholic mission schools, projecting its special character and ethos.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

An interview with Sunday Samuel Worok, graduate of IFFAsia's Batch 7

L-R : Evelyn from Kota Kinabalu and Sunday
from Sandakan, graduates of IFFAsia Batch 7
Sunday Samuel Worok, aged 27 years old hails from Kampung Pinangkau, one of the 13 outstations in the Paitan missionary area, the only mission area in the Diocese of Sandakan. Kampung Pinangkau is some four and a half drive from Sandakan town on sealed road and another half hour drive on gravel road. He is from the Sungai Tambanuwo indigenous community. Most of the Pinangkau folks are small scale farmers.
Sunday Samuel Worok
He is the fifth among a brood of seven siblings. Ever worked in West Malaysia in a fast food chain and served in the Territorial Army for some two years. Attended a 3-month catechist's training in the Catechist Centre in Keningau in 2011. Upon completion, he served in St Mary's Cathedral Parish as a full-time office staff. In October last year, he enrolled into IFFAsia, Philippines taking up a three month intensive English course. Graduated from IFFAsia in November 2013 and was commissioned on 23rd November 2013 at the Good Shepherd's Cathedral, Fairview Park, Quezon City, Philippines.

How do you come to know of IFFAsia, Philippines?
Through Anna Teresa and Sharon Tan, the 5th and 6th batch graduates of IFFA respectively. Both are attached to the Sandakan Diocesan Youth Office.

What draws you to IFFAsia?
During our 1st Diocesan Staff Recollection held in 2012, facilitated by Charles Bertile, Fondacio Council Member for Asia and former director of IFFAsia, it was highlighted that there is a need to have trained pastoral workers in parish / diocesan offices. I responded as I thought IFFAsia would provide me the necessary knowledge and skill.

What were your expectation when offerred a place in IFFAsia?
I hoped to be molded as a faithful disciple of Christ ever willing to go forth in missionary work. I expected to be transformed to be an effective young Christian leader. I wanted much to improve my leadership and communicative skills, acquiring knowledge in social and mission work.

Does IFFAsia meet your expectation?
Yes. In fact very much. We were given the tools during our one year formation based on human, social, spiritual-theological and pastoral modules. I need to further develop my skill and keep on sharpening the tools while on ground.

What one component of the formation year that attract you most?
The leadership theories and discipline execution component as contained in the pastoral module attracted me most. The content of which is most approriate for leaders in any ministry / group in the church. If the skills are applied effectively, the ministry / group will grow.

What is your most memorable experience in IFFAsia?
I will never forget the community living as practiced in IFFAsia. Though the 17 of us, from 8 different communities throughout Asia, we forgo clinging to our tiny communities and focus on the one and big community of Christ. The experience of accepting 17 members of the community, each with different character and background has enriched me greatly. The body of Christ is not made up of one part but of many. This means each member, though from different parts of Asia is an equal part of His body.

What areas have you improved on?
I am a little better in communication, leadership and organizational management skill. I have discovered more about myself. I realized I have hidden talents that I could develop and use in my mission.

What have you gained while engaged in mission project in Vietnam and Cambodia?
The inter-faith dialogue has a strong impact on me. It taught me the importance of peace building, promoting and sustaining peace. I need to be the agent of change - to see that the different faith adherents in my country live harmoniously. My visits to homes of special kids and the rural folks has enlightened me to continously set a space in my heart to listen to their voices.

What is your hope when you return to your parish?
One year has passed by. I am better equipped to be a pastoral worker. I hope I can apply the knowledge and skill acquired to go on mission especially in Paitan, our mission area. I hope to build up good relationship bond with all ministries / groups so as to journey together to build up the Lord's kingdom.

One comment to the young people in your parish.
'To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan , but also believe' - Anatole France
Because God always walk with us. Make Jesus the centre of our life.

One final comment
I want to thank Rt Rev Julius Dusin Gitom, our Bishop, my sending organisation with Fr Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary's Cathedral Parish and all beloved parishioners and my family members for supporting me, financially and prayers throughout my formation year in IFFAsia. I also would like to thank, Alice Tan, the Director of IFFAsia, the formation team, the supporting staff, my foster family in the Philippines for patiently guiding and nurturing me to be an effective young Christian leader. To my batch mates (batch 7), thank you for journeying with me and accepting me as one in the family. May we live up to the motto of Fondacio ~ Christians of the World. 'Be the change that you wish to see in the world.' - (Mahatma Ghandi). A blessed and fruitful mission to all of you.

I hope more organizations will give space and opportunity to up and coming young leaders to undergo formation in IFFAsia. For more details please log onto

Monday, December 2, 2013


(Sunday, a trained catechist has just returned from the Philippines after completing a full year of formation as young Christian leader in the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), Fairview Park, Quezon City. He will serve in St Mary's Cathedral Parish, Sandakan early next year.) 
My symbol is the Samaritan woman at the well. Through the story of the Samaritan woman, it enlightens me a lot on how to share the love of God with others. Through this mission project, we are like the Samaritan woman who shared God’s love and the water of life. Before embarking on the mission project, I tried to practice playing the guitar as much as I could. I tried to perfect my skill. I knew that music is really an important component in animating activities or programs. It really encouraged me to do my best in animating songs especially our theme song of the mission project ~ 'Christian for the world.' Even though I had already made preparation way before the mission project, I still thought that it wasn't good enough. I wasn't confident with myself, the fuel needed to propel myself forward. Prior to the mission project, I would normally play ordinary music using and through my own style. I needed something more to draw the young people closer to God and to one another.

Mission in Vietnam
The mission, themed 'Youth Initiative For Peace' was held on 4th - 28th October 2013 in Vietnam and Cambodia. We spent 3 days in Vietnam and 21 days in Cambodia. The first program in Vietnam, 5th October, was the encounter with the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM). We were warmly welcomed by the local youth. The strong participation and commitment of the young people reflected the vibrancy of the Church.

I strummed my guitar and sang a song for them. The music melted the ice in each of us. We felt at ease and at home and were prepared to participate in the program. Music makes the way through. We were instantly connected. It invited me to be more prepared for more action songs as we move into more upcoming events. The call was to bring out the joy within the youth. 
During the encounter, one of the members of the EYM approached me and said, “I like the way you play the guitar and the music is beautiful.” It was a compliment, not just for me but more so for God who had given me the gift. I thank God for the talent granted me. I will continue to sharpen my skill in order to make other people happy through music.
Space and opportunity were provided for us to attend peace building session. The session was animated by young members of Initiative Of Change, a worldwide movement of people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, committed to the transformation of society through changes. 
They shared about their initiatives to promote peace in Cambodia through the involvement of young people. They believe that the youths are the most important agent of change. We are challenged to make the world a better place for all. It starts from self. It challenges me ~ 'Do I want / am I ready to be 'the change'?

Mission in Cambodia

On 8th October, we travelled by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was an 8-hour journey. The following day we visited one of the local organization, the Youth for Peace movement (YFP). Youth for Peace is committed in taking care of the youth aimed at cultivating and promoting peace. 
One of the community that we visited was the Undong village which is a bit far from the city. Through the peace building session in Alliance for Conflict Transformation (ACT) I realize that acceleration of economic growth, social progress, cultural development among its members, protection of peace and stability of the region, provides opportunities for peaceful discussion in finding solutions.
After the session in ACT, we moved to Fr. Gustavo’s parish, the Child Jesus Parish. There, we were briefed by Fr. Gustavo and Bong Sophal. We visited the Missionary of Charity (MC). The residents are special kids. My assignment then was video recording. However, before we left the centre, I played the guitar, sang and danced. My little contribution had added some joy to the special kids.

While in Cambodia, my role was to animate youth encounter sessions through music. Many young people were attracted to my music. If the Samaritan woman shared the living water with the people, I realized that I need to share the music of life with others. I need to use my talent to draw people to go to church, to worship and praise God. Through music I can also promote peace, uplifting the spirit of living in harmony in society. 
There are so many approaches that I can do using my talent to help the people to be more aware of their responsibility to ensure that peace prevails in their community. Taking good care of the environment is pertinent in sustaining peace as in Pope Emeritus Benedict's message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, 'If you want to cultivate peace, protect creation.'
The most memorable event was the inter-faith dialogue session held in Siem Reap. Along the way, I was wondering how we could communicate effectively with the imam and the muslim brothers in one of the mosque in Siem Reap. Questions like, 'Are we welcomed? Can we enter the mosque? How would they react when we pose them questions? Is it going to be sensitive? kept knocking at my heart. Through experience in my country, many questions are considered sensitive. 
When we arrived at the mosque, it was prayer time. One of the imams met us and apologised (in fact we came earlier than the appointed time) as he could not entertain us. They need to do solat (pray) first. Even then, he invited us to go inside the mosque while they proceeded with their prayer session. 
This time, Venerable Tola, a Buddhist monk and our tour guide was with us. I was moved by the interaction of the monk and the imam during the meeting session. They greeted each other, held hands and had an interactive dialogue in the mosque. I could see the glow of happiness and peace within them.
I wish I could experience such scenario in my country. Inter-faith dialogue opens the door to peace building. I realize that this is the invitation from God to me, to build good relationship with the Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu community back home in my country. Such relationship could only be achieved through God's love.

Through the talent that God bestowed upon me, I realized that I can actually build good relationship bond with people around me. Music is part of my life. Therefore, I will maximise my effort to bring comfort and relief to those depressed, oppressed and in trouble. When we listen to music especially spiritual music, we can focus and understand what actually we should do to resolve our problem. Music may open our hearts to listen to the cries of the poor. Let us rejoice in the sound of music, praising the Lord in all circumstances as in Psalm 28 : 7 'The Lord is my strength and my shield ; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.'


New Advent