By DS / st
Photos by Edmar Francsisco
Lahad Datu : A series of follow-up clubs of the Youth Leader's Camp II (YLCII) were held in Our Lady of Pilar, Silam (Lahad Datu) and St. Paul 's Church, Ulu Dusun (Sandakan) on 19th - 21st July 2013 and St. Stephen, Tass (Tawau) and St. John the Fisherman, Mangkadait (Telupid) on 26th - 28th July 2013. The follow-ups were coordinated by Anna Amandus and Sharon Tan of the Diocesan Youth Office. Last April, the follow ups were carried out at the main churches of Sandakan, Tawau, Telupid and Lahad Datu. The second visits, were held in the outstation chapels. On 19th of July 2013, Sharon Tan visited Our Lady of Pilar, Silam (Lahad Datu) located some 14 KM from St. Dominic's Church, Lahad Datu. The objectives of the program is to continuously journey with the youth leaders, to build relationship and to lend support. It is an opportune occasion for them to reflect on their daily life as youth leaders through their experience, 'Journey to the Promised Land.'
Around 60 youths from Silam, Tampinau, Kampodaan and St. Dominic's Church gathered at the chapel and started the program with a dinner fellowship followed by Time of Life (TOL) led by the St. Dominic's Parish Youth Apostolate (PYA) team. The atmosphere was cozy, filled with laughter and fun. At the same time, the wall separating the youths coming from various places showed signs of cracks. At around 10 PM, everyone went back to their houses and those from St. Dominic's Church stayed with foster families.
On the second day, 20th July 2013 we started the day with morning prayer led by Victoria Yam. Breakfast was prepared by the Catholic Women's Apostolate of Our Lady of Pilar, Silam. The first session was the "Expectation Check" facilitated by the PYA team. Sharon facilitated the second session, with a video clip entitled "Get Out". The video is an invitation to them to get out from their comfort zone. Without getting out from their comfort zone, they will never discover new talents or try something new. After the session, everyone was given a few minutes to share about their comfort zone and from then onward, everyone was challenged to do something new. Some shared in front of the big group and some led the prayer before meal.
The third day, 21st July 2013 was the session on the 'Journey to the Promised Land.' Participants were divided into seven groups and challenged to get out from their comfort zone, because they would be "journeying" with friends they had just got acquainted for the last two days. They would experienced what the Israelites experienced during their journey to the Promised Land. During the journey, they would experience some obstacles. Some obstacles were easy and some were tough; each obstacle has its own meaning which was explained after the activity. After the fun-filled activity, everyone was invited to write a letter to God, our Father about what they had experienced in their life.
In the evening, everyone attended mass where, EMC Alexius Garaman encouraged all the youths to share what they had acquired from the program and not to just keep it to themselves. Keeping the knowledge to oneself is likened to the man in the "parable of the talents" who buried the money entrusted to him by His master. We are responsible for using the resources given to us so that they increase in value. As Christians, we have additionally the most valuable resource of all – the Word of God. If we believe and understand Him, and apply His Word as good stewards, we are a blessing to others and the value of what we do multiplies.
The summit of the program was after dinner where everyone gathered around the bonfire, prepared by the local team. It commenced with a prayer led by Sr. Marysia, fsic, followed by presentations from each group. It was a night filled with love and togetherness.
In the morning of the last day, 22nd July 2013 everyone assembled solemnly for "Lectio Divina" ~ where they read, meditate, pray and contemplate. Evaluation session followed immediately after breakfast. The whole program was a good start for both parties, the PYA and the local youths in building the bond of friendship. We would like to thank our foster families, members of the Catholic Women's Apostolate, members of the Pastoral Committee and all those who had helped to make the program a success. Keep in touch and God bless.