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Arise and Shine: Wake Up Call For Youths

LABUAN – The youth Fellowship of Malaysian Covenant Community (FMCC) organized a program for over 80 youths at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on 1st Sept 2018.

The theme of this fellowship taken from Isaiah 60: 1 “Arise and Shine, for Your Light has Come!” was indeed a beckon from our Lord to rise up to an evangelistic truth. The theme further resonates an even greater call for Catholic youth of this generation to defend their faith amidst the trials of this world.

The first session, “Arise, God is Reaching Out!” by Christopher Felix from Kuala Lumpur, bespoke the omnipotence of a great God and the rightful image of God as Father amidst a world marred with materialism.

The session began with an interesting yet thought-provoking social experiment that relied on the participants’ capacity to think beyond what the world teaches. The experiment, which consisted of three creators, three builders and some life cards, required participants to strategically think and produce a required item.

The lesson drawn from this experiment was in understanding the potency of human love versus God’s all-giving and all knowing, omnipotent love. Christopher further expounded on God’s love using Michaelangelo’s painting of the Creation of Adam, where God is constantly reaching out to us and freely giving His love; but the question is, “Are we reciprocating that love?”

The second session, entitled “Arise, put on the Full Armour!” involved separate sessions for both men and women. The men’s session led by Jahaziel D’Cruz also from KL, touched on the distinct difference between the Kingdom of Light and the Kingdom of Darkness, teaching all men how to rise up, equip themselves with God’s armour and overcome the vices and temptations of the enemy. Jahaziel gave illustrations on the significance of each piece of armour. He further elucidates the specific call of God to young men to be an example of faith for women.

The women’s session, led by Aline Lim from Kota Kinabalu was certainly a wake up call for young women. Aline first mentioned that, “women cannot arise, and cannot shine if women themselves have not experienced light in their lives.” She brought to light all the struggles that women face in their lives today. She further explained that the battle women face is not only one that is physical but spiritual.

Similar to Jahaziel, she also spoke of the significance of each piece of armour but in the perspective of Godly womanhood. Her final message for women was certainly of genuine impact, as she says, “It is only when women become women, that men can become men.” A definitive call for women to embrace femininity in its truest form.

The final session in the evening was graced by the presence of Archbishop John Wong of Kota Kinabalu, and the elders of each Catholic Covenant Community. The evening was lined up with a variety of food, an awesome emcee and a wonderful praise and worship session by the youths from Kota Kinabalu.

An exhortation led by John Paul Felix concluded with the theme taken from Isaiah 60:1-3, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”

This is certainly a great summon of our Lord to rise up in the midst of darkness. John used personal accounts of his own life to testify on how the Lord shone light in the darkness of his life.

Each session given by the aforementioned speakers was further solidified and convicted with the life experiences and testimonies of four young people, namely Michele Peter, Justin D’Souza, Rachel Gomez and Jessica D’Cruz. Each testified God’s greatness in their time of darkness, giving a message of hope and an invitation to the participants that just as God was able to use their lives, God can use the lives of the participants as well.

The night came to a wonderful end after a ministering session by Christopher Felix and a final praise song. As a whole, this youth programme bore immense fruit and significance to the lives of the young people that participated. As Catholics, we ought to know that God does not call the qualified but he qualifies the called. – Michele Peter

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