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Monday, September 23, 2013

My Personal Sharing and Reflection

A Reflection by Sunday Samuel Work, IFFAsia Batch-7
(Sunday who hails from the Paitan Missionary Area, Sandakan is currently pursuing a one year formation program in IFFAsia, Quezon City, Philippines and is expected to graduate on 24th November 2013)
During my first few months here in IFFAsia, we were taught to build strong foundation of faith and prepare ourselves to be primary initiator on facing the challenges of the church through series of sessions. For the first phase, we went through the human module that helps us to deeply understand ourselves, explore our inner-selves, discover our talents. We were also taught on tips about building relationship bonds with others. We experienced a 'Weekend Retreat Towards a New Life' that really helped us to discern, think and have a break to re-look at our inner journey and to have time to talk with God.  All of these really led to spiritual renewal and preparation of oneself for the Holy Week. Likewise, we joined the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by conducting a Faith Walk. It was a long walk with very precious purpose for each and everyone.
Children play on the streets as there is no space for recreational facilities. 
            As we continue to journey in community living, the Social Immersion as part of our Social Module helped us a lot to understand what community really is. Not only by knowing its complexity and to know its profile, it is also important for me to experience the love, care, kindness and hospitality that we shared among us, the host parish and our foster families. Through these, it gave me an impact and to dig deeper about understanding society, in all aspects and appreciating the people who were involved in the program. We continued to feed ourselves with knowledge and compassion to the society as we started to study about the principles and perspectives about social development. By applying what we have experienced and learned, we are now making a Developmental Action Plan that would help our community to enhance their lives and empower every individual in the light of our Lord.
Payatas, the dumpsite in MetroManila - children live by the streets
Moreover, Spiritual and Pastoral Modules were also given to us so that we could have an integral formation in order to become better Christian servant-leaders. We finally share and attest our knowledge, skills and attitude when we conducted our Professional Internship. As I prepare and discern, I have asked myself, if I am really going to achieve my objectives? Do I really have the character to be a lay pastoral worker?  I need all the formation, the grooming to be more confident in my mission as I return home to my parish where I will serve the parish as a whole and the youth ministry in particular.
Furthermore, I felt that I may achieve my objective through sociological skills in the actual application of knowledge and work in the community. A parish-based work is truly pastoral work. This is not just sitting and holding a pen inside the office but the opportunities to interact with the people on ground. I know deep in me that service is also a journey. Moreover, not only as pastoral work, but I could also open myself for the social realities that are visible in the ecclesial community of the Parish. Serving the poor and the marginalized allows me to serve Christ himself. I realized that this internship is truly and fully pastoral work.

Having to serve at two work places is fine with me. As I had mentioned earlier, I will meet Jesus in the parish because I will encounter with the poor, the oppressed and those living in the margins of society.  I am happy with my choice and the only challenge that remains in me is how I could put all of these into action, bringing fruits and meaning to my life.The work entrusted upon me is challenging. I’m also expecting that through this internship, I will gain more skills like facilitation, administration, management and communication. Also, I hope to acquire good attitudes such as self-confidence, competitiveness, passion to work and develop the right spiritual life.
 I will have to journey with the youth for they are the future of the church.With this in mind, I will keep on learning and do my best to lead the youth in the right track ~ the Christian way. I am much eager to gradually transform myself as an effective Christian leader, a primary servant of God in building His Kingdom. To be able to work with the young fills me with joy and compassion. As I mature, I realize that there’s a lot more to learn. I wanted to be involved in a wider arena. These insights gave me the vision of truly working for a Christian community.
As we finally enter into the last part of our formation year, we are going to Vietnam and Cambodia for our Mission Project themed “Youth Initiatives for Peace” which will be held on October 4-28, 2013. This program will make us aware and help us to understand the challenges of migration, human rights, and post-civil war rebuilding process and its impact on families, local communities and how the people are responding. This program includes inputs and workshops on inter-faith, visits to places of worship, stay in with foster families, dialogue with religious and civil society leaders, the poor, youth and families, exposure to the reality of migrants, and social development issues. In Vietnam and Cambodia, we will be collaborating with: Center for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPCS), Initiatives of Change, Vietnam (IofC), Caritas of Vietnam and Cambodia, the Diocese in Phnom Penh, etc. In addition, some tools on analysis, peace building and spirituality will also be introduced together with activities to facilitate peace building awareness among youth and families.
Our mission will not end inside the four corners of our session hall or confined within this formation year. Our mission will continue as we journey with the people, with the community of the faithful because we, as missionaries believed that mission is an issue of faith, a living faith. Being a community-in-mission is a matter of faith, love, hope and prayer, of sharing our deepest Christian and human values

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