From the 6th-19th Jan 2013, five post-SPM youths – Stevie Tobi, Carlos Pereira, Aaron Pereira, Gerard Theseira and Christy Vignesh – attended the Mission camp for Teens, a two-week programme that builds them up in the knowledge of the faith, leadership and a sense of mission. Through the two weeks, the participants studied their faith through the Youcat and were given exposures in Cameron Highlands and Subang Jaya. Every day, the participants rose early and began with Bible reflections followed by Mass whenever it was available. The days ended with recollection to name their high moments, low moments and God moments. They also practiced using the prayer journal and recorded Bible verses that struck them as well as their prayer intentions.
The first week of the camp was held in MAJODI and the first few sessions also focused on their self-identity. They also had a chance to watch the movie on Pope John 23rd (since is canonization would happen this March 2014) and ‘For Greater Glory’ which introduces the story of the teen martyr, Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio.
The second part of the camp Cameron Highlands where the focus shifted to a deeper study of the faith through the Youcat and mission exposures. On the night when we arrived Fr Eugene had planned for us to join him to celebrate Mass at the home of an Indonesian migrant.
The afternoon siestas in Cameron Highlands was a chance for the young people to visit the strawberry farm, tea plantation and to do some souvenir shopping as it was their very first visit for all of them. During the trip out from the tea plantation, we offered a ride to a young sister-brother couple who were Australian Chinese tourists. They ended up joining us for our programmes for the next three days. Though they were Protestants, they later shared that they were very struck by their encounter with us, especially at the Barbecue on the last night.
Over the next few days, the sessions covered social issues in Malaysia- Fr Eugene explained about the Migrant-Refugee situation, Pius shared very personally about the construction of the dams in Sarawak and the displacement of the local natives, Deacon Adrian gave a bigger picture on the ‘Allah’ issue and the progressive Islamisation and finally Timothy Petrus Chan detailed the history, procedures, refutations and consequences of Abortion.
By the third part of the camp, one of the participants had to leave due to a family emergency. Staying in Bosco Goretti Centre gave them a chance to interview people on the street about their religious views. A startling surprise was that many of the respondents identified themselves as atheists. In another experiment, the youths practiced being Hospitality Ministers at Church of St Thomas More. Other notable sessions were Jameson Tan’s sharing about his trip to Payatas and watching ’12 Years a Slave’.
The participants shared that they learnt a lot though some sessions were dry. They hope that there would be more participants next year. The organisers have also learnt areas to improve next year and look forward to an even more improved and exciting programme in the future to help build the next generation of missionaries for the New Evangelisation.