The Southern Syiok is Back! On the 19th – 21st of October 2017, the Malacca-Johore Catholics on Campus (M.J.C.C) held their biennial Southern Syiok Camp with the WYD 2017 inspired theme “Greater Things”. By providence, the date for the camp fell on the public universities’ mid-term break thus a total of 150 campus students from 16 campuses in the Malacca-Johore region were able to participate in this camp with a few other students from other dioceses also participating. What a blessing it is to encounter Jesus and grow closer to Him through this three-day camp! The event opened with praise and worship conducted by the guest speaker, Christopher Felix and his F.I.T. (Faith Integrity Truth) Ministry Team from Kuala Lumpur and continued with bible enthronement emphasising the importance of the bible in the spiritual journey.
The participants were then divided into two groups namely “Empower” and “Encounter” according to the session that they had registered for. The “Empower” session was mainly a workshop of discovering spiritual truths in a deeper sense through faith studies and how to share these truths to others effectively. This session was particularly for those who were committee group members in their campus groups and about 65 student were in this session. These faith study workshops were led by Catholic student leaders from the diocese that joined the mission trip with the Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) missionaries from Canada last June. It is in this mission trip that the student leaders running the “Empower” session were introduced to the faith study material and was coached through it by the CCO Team.
Brandon from Institusi Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim who attended the “Empower” session said, “Southern Syiok was very helpful. Before this, we know that God loves us and we know Jesus died on the cross to save us. I know and am aware about this. But the knowledge is unorganised. After I went through the Discovery Faith Study, the knowledge became more structured and well-organised. It is a new way to understand the real meaning behind the mysteries of salvation. So as a leader, it is helpful to know how to share, to teach and to lead without hesitation”.
The “Encounter” session was mainly an introduction and invitation to experiencing a life in the Spirit and knowing Jesus in a more personal and intimate way. This group was opened for all campus students and a total of 85 students attended in this session. The theme for the “Encounter” session was “Receive The Power” led by Christopher Felix and his team. The bible verse for this session was Acts 1:8: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth”.
Neville Quinn James from UiTM Jasin who attended “Encounter” session said, “Going to a camp like Southern Syiok was definitely an opportunity that I’m glad I didn’t let pass by. It wasn’t the first time I went to a camp like this but the last time I went, I was barely over 10 years of age. This camp has educated and empowered the Holy Spirit within everyone. Personally, I have found a new calling from this camp, and I believe it is the same for everyone who attended. I hope I could participate in the next one”.
During night sessions, there were ministering sessions for both the “Empower” and “Encounter” groups. Through these sessions, themes of accepting and committing to Jesus Christ, inner healing and forgiveness and baptism of the Holy Spirit were shared and ministered to the participants. The camp ended with Eucharistic Celebration celebrated by Father Valentine and assisted by Deacon Adrian Ng.
The ministering sessions were for many, the highlight of the camp with many saying that it had deepened their faith in God and had provided them with a new perspective on being a Catholic. Particularly, the inner healing session was very powerful for the participants. Many said that through it, their hearts were opened to forgiving not only others but also themselves. A student shared that a burden has been lifted from his shoulders and it has brought him closer to Jesus.
As a whole, this Southern Syiok camp has been an opportunity for students to truly encounter God and to accept Him as their saviour. Besides that, it has been a very good space where students could address and share to one another their struggles and difficulties along their faith journey and caring for one another as a big Catholic community. As Pope Francis says “No one saves oneself. The community is essential.”
Also, it has been a platform where students were equipped with not only greater knowledge of the faith but also on how to share these truths to others inviting them into a relationship with Jesus. Many students have gone on to say that they are eager and looking forward to share what they have learnt in the camp in their Catholic campus groups. Resources such as a Bahasa Malaysia and Mandarin translations of the faith study has made the content more accessible to students. Cynthia from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia recently led the first faith study in Mandarin with her campus group and has received good feedback and is already looking forward for the second gathering.