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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

ER EMPOWERED RISE UP CONFERENCE (DAY 4)

Reporting from Sandakan
By: Sherlyn Ho
Pictures by: Empowered Ministry, Jonathan Fabian,Timothy James Michael, Mark Nethanel Michael
The Sandakan delegates with Nishant Fernando from India (6th from left)
KUCHING: The 4th day, 9th of June 2013, marked the final day of the Annual Easter Rally (ER) Conference held in ACCPC. It was also the last day for many of us to be in Kuching, especially delegates  from Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Perak, Kota Kinabalu, Miri, Sibu and Sandakan. 
The day commenced with a communal praise and worship session at St. Joseph's Hall, followed by the 13th session at 9.30 a.m. All the way from India, the session was facilitated by Nishant Fernando. Rather than giving a scripted session, he proceeded with a personal testimony of his own comprising of making music out of hands clapping and feet stomping at the very beginning. Before he shared his life story and journey with the Lord, he briefly commented on how the Father of Faith (Abraham) took God’s word as it is, to the contrary of our lives today. As God’s children, we must know what is in store for us in God’s heart. Unfortunately, most of us don’t. It is because we don’t know it, we don’t claim it and we don’t believe it. Of course, the popular idiom says ‘seeing is believing’ but we need to know that faith is something that we believe and already received even before seeing it. 
That is how strong Abraham’s faith in believing that he would receive what God promised him. Nishant also highlighted the phrase, ‘Your mouth speaks what your heart is’ as in Luke 6 : 45. The more unnecessary things we speak, the more it is accumulated in our hearts. These are one of the poisonous effects of letting negative strongholds motivate our lives.  Lastly, he talked about the potholes and bumps of his life as he lost his father and soon his brother who died of cancer. He also shared about how God had restored cheerfulness to his mother after a year of depression she went through. After a short break, the session resumed with praise and worship conducted by the young working adult team 
At 2.00 p.m, the concluding session was held in the same hall by Jude Antoine. We were joined together in prayerful adoration kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament. A moment of silence filled the hall accompanied with a background sweet serenade to the Lord.
The finale of ER2013 was celebrated with a concluding Family Mass at 4.30 p.m, presided over by Archbishop John Ha of  the Archdiocese of Kuching  The Gospel of the day was taken from Luke 7: 11-17 which was drawn from the Lord’s command to the only son of a widow: “Young man, I say to you, rise up!” In his homily, the prelate emphasized that the presence of Jesus is the presence of Life. According to the Gospel, firstly, Jesus gave life to the young man. Secondly, He gave him back to his mother. These events are significant to show that we are the young man whom God calls to “RISE UP!” not because God needs us, but the whole community and the nation.

After the recessional hymn was sung, a surprise awaited Archbishop John as an anniversary cake was presented to him on stage. It was his 15th Episcopal Ordination Anniversary on the last 6th of June.
In the closing ceremony, each and every state representative made their way to the front of the stage along with their respective state’s flags. All delegates from the respective state were required to rise and say a prayer for their state, including representatives from our neighboring country, Brunei. After the communal prayer, gifts were presented to all guest speakers; Jude Antoine, Andre Ong, Fr. John Chia, Leoreen Heah, and Nishant Fernando. The closing finale ended merrily with a communal singing of this year’s ER’s theme song ‘Rise Up’.

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