My journey in KPF Youth Camp 2016 was quite interesting and new for me. At first, I was really hesitant on going because of expectations: I have no idea what to do in those days during camp, everyone mostly knew each other from previous KPF activities and how it would make me feel left out and lonely. I guess that’s how most people would feel when they start doing something new. Despite all expectations, I’ve decided to go because I wanted to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. For me, it is important that I have that close relationship with the Lord because as I am entering a new chapter in my life (going to university and leaving my family), I wanted to fill that empty gap in my heart with Lord’s love and presence.
During camp, I’ve learned so many things, not just about God, but how it has affected the lives of many youths. For instance, there was this girl who suffered from depression due to criticisms of those around her. She managed to overcome this depression through God. He told her that she was not alone and that He is always there for her. He told her that she is beautiful the way she is and that she doesn’t have to suffer anymore. This story moved me because it reminded me of my past self. I remember how I wanted to fit in with people around me and that really affected how I communicated with others. Despite all the trials I faced, I’ve come to love my uniqueness by reminding myself of God’s love for me. For me, God is my saviour, my best friend, my family and my everything.
Not only have I learnt about God’s love and how it has affected many lives, I’ve also learnt the importance of repentance, faith, healing and forgiveness. These things are important, to become closer to the Lord. Unlike God who is perfect, we, humans, are imperfect beings. We sin a lot and this makes us more distant to Him. Despite all the sins we’ve done, He will always forgive us because He loves us all. I mean He even sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to earth and died on a cross to save us all from our sins. In order to become closer to our Lord we must have faith that He is always there for us in our everyday lives. We need to learn to repent and turn away from sins, which is difficult because it is everywhere. I also learned of how forgiving those who have hurt us or asking for forgiveness from those we hurt could bring us closer to our Lord. Lastly, I learned of how confessing to the Lord will cleanse us of our sins.
In the end, the KPF Youth Camp gave me a positive outlook of not just God, but life. I’m not as spiritually matured yet as the other youths in the camp, but I was really happy because God has touched the lives of many. I’ve seen how happy they were to serve the Lord and I am hoping that I, too, have that happiness to serve the Lord; maybe not now, but eventually, at the right time. I’ve also made good friends during my time in camp. They are warm and good people who accept your uniqueness to the group. I’ve enjoyed those 3 days of camp and I’m hoping that more people will also come to this Youth Camp to experience a life with God on our side.
Experiences. There are different types of experiences that we would encounter throughout our entire lives. Some of them can either be happy or sad, with other people or by ourselves. In our youth camp, each one of us experienced something unique. Something that could possibly change our entire lives forever. And that was “A Faith Experience and Walk with Jesus,” our theme for the KPF Youth Camp 2016.
As a youth leader, my experience was both a blessing and a challenge. It was challenging because not only did I have to keep my faith in check but I also have to help nourish the faith of others in the camp. Standing in front of everyone and summarising each talk was one challenge for me and my co-leader, Miguel. There was just so much wisdom in all the youths who discussed the different topics such as God’s Love, Who is Jesus Christ, etc. Knowing that those topics were very important, we often times find it difficult to look for the right words to say after each talk. But by the help of the Holy Spirit, I always find the courage to say what was in my heart. I was very blessed to also have a co-leader who, to put it in simple words, could finish each other’s sentences with.
Like with my co-leader, I knew that I wasn’t alone. There were other youth servants there to support us like Ate Nicole and Kuya Mark. We were like one big family. It was comforting to know that we were together not only as friends but as brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of the youth servants even had the opportunity to be kuyas and ates to the new participants. This nourished not only the participants but the facilitators who guided them as well.
Speaking of participants, at the beginning of the camp, we were worried that there weren’t going to be enough new ones to attend. But then I realised that even if they were less in numbers, what really matters is to make God the priority in their lives always. Naturally, everyone was still shy to open up during the first day. But I can see in their eyes the eagerness of knowing what is yet to come and I knew through the talks, they were able to learn so much. Most of the participants were young and whenever I looked at them, I see how blessed they are to have this experience at such young ages.
If I could, I would do it all over again. This faith experience was a journey that changed everyone involved at the camp, from the rosary walks, to the praise and worship in songs and listening to the experiences of other youths, because I realised, at the end of the day, we were all walking with Jesus.
The days were packed with exciting activities and none of them would have meant anything if Jesus wasn’t there all along. If you want to grow spiritually, meet friends who feel like family and especially, be best friends with Jesus, then find something like the KPF youth camp: “A faith experience and walk with Jesus.”
When I was asked to reflect on my experience on things that happened before, during and after our 2016 KPF Youth Camp, I felt more than grateful to be chosen to do this as I have a lot of things to say.
Quite frankly, I had my mind made up that I would not be able to go to the Youth Camp as I was given an opportunity to start my full time work that same day (Friday). I was actually kind of upset because as soon as I heard we were having our 3rd camp, I already looked forward to it. I have always enjoyed going to our youth camps. I didn’t want to miss this one.
I always felt this sense of ease and comfort every youth camp. I knew God really made a miracle that day after my work to urge me to attend because He knew that I had a role to do and He knew that I would have really enjoyed getting to meet new participants. He knew it will bring me back to Him and pray. So even though I was tired that day, I still went because I knew it would be a very special one to me.
Prior to this, I never really talked with our Lord God. I didn’t pray enough nor went to Sunday mass; as if I lost interest in God. I forgot that God and I had this wonderful relationship before, but I took it for granted again and completely let it pass by. It’s not to say that I wasn’t aware of what was going on. As a matter of fact I was enduring it on a daily basis. I have always been busy with work, my daily life, etc. that I couldn’t make time to even pray to God at night. Not even once per week. I knew that attending this camp would help me get back on track with Papa Jesus. I was right with this one.
Most of you saw how tired I was when I walked into our lounge at the camp to introduce myself that night because I came late from work. I asked myself how I was going to survive the 3-day retreat. But you know what? Seeing all of you really made me feel so proud of what our KPF youth have achieved. I was so thankful that night I saw you all attend. Seeing you all there gave me the strength I needed.
I mentioned before on one of my posts on my Facebook page how I was grateful to be a camp facilitator. This was the role that I needed to do for God and for everyone. I was so happy that I was assigned a participant that was so keen to learn more about his faith with God. At that point I said to myself, I really need to start praying to God. And that didn’t take very long.
As soon as second day hit, I was already standing before you for my sharing on the talk on Faith, Repentance, Healing and Forgiveness. I hadn’t had the time to really prepare for that. I was still working on my sharing that Friday night in our room trying to finish for the next day. Half of the sharing I did, I did on the spot. That’s probably why I got so emotional. It all came from my heart – from experience and from what actually happened. This was the most I’ve cried at our camp, to the point that I had to leave the room to regain control of my emotions. I rarely get emotional. But I really did break down that time. At that point, I knew the Holy Spirit was with me. He made me open up to you guys to be an inspiration and an example. That is also when I started praying really hard.
During the tongues workshop, I prayed so deeply amidst my tears. I said “please God forgive them first before me as I know you love them all.” I prayed for everyone in the room, before I prayed for myself. At one point I opened my eyes and saw everyone worshiping and praying. I was scared but I felt the Holy Spirit among us that night. I was overwhelmed seeing our participants really give their hearts out to the Lord and worshiped him. That Saturday night I prayed before I went to sleep. I was thanking our Lord for his presence. I thanked him how He gave me the opportunity to go to camp and also how I met all of you guys in my life.
The third day is always a charm you know. Everyone was in a mixed state. For me, I was a bit depressed that camp was about to finish. I never liked saying goodbyes. To top that off, I never liked coming home from our youth camp getting that post-camp syndrome thing.
But I mentioned before how this camp was so special to me. Well it was this very youth camp that I actually had a role to do. It was also at this camp where I opened up my heart the most. I never thought I could get so emotional like that in front of people. And it was at this camp where it reminded me our very first KPF Youth Camp where everyone was unsure, nervous but willing to really get their faith moving. I felt like I did a lot that weekend even though I was so tired, with hardly any sleep and felt exhausted. I did my very best to serve our Lord Jesus and you guys because I love you all; I really do. You all are my second family here in NZ. I know I keep saying this but this is how I really feel. And whenever I’m around you guys, I always see the Holy Spirit within you all. I see the work of God in all of you. I really do. You guys are all perfect in my heart, and I cherish all the memories I get to spend my time with you all :)
I love you all and may our Lord shower you with more blessings!
The evangelisation mission of the KPF Wellington Branch will be at full blast when the KPF Life in the Spirit Programme in Auckland begins on 27 February. The mission is led by Tom & Eva Alzona (from Wellington) and assisted by Jun & Joji dela Cruz (from Auckland). The programme has 16 sessions covering 20 topics and will be held in 10 consecutive Saturdays at Good Shepherd Hall in Balmoral.
We are inviting family and friends in Auckland to this faith-sharing experience that opens the gate towards a more personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. This is another opportunity to witness how God calls his people to renew their lives to a faith that is alive and vibrant.
Couples who have completed the KPF Life in the Spirit Programme will be attending this year’s marriage weekend retreat from the 19th to the 21st of February. The retreat is part of the ‘Growing in the Spirit’ module of KPF members that is especially designed to enrich marriage and strengthen the Christian family. The programme aims to nourish the role of the couple as a domestic church in their own homes. This will be the 3rd Marriage Weekend Retreat in Wellington and is led by couple Mission Head Neil & Dan Miradores, supported by couples Bim & Meg Zapanta and Bobby & Hennie Catalan.
The annual KPF Youth Camp was held from 22-24 of January at the Magnificat Community Retreat Centre in Featherston, Wairarapa. Six participants were blessed with their encounter with the Lord through the outpouring of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit during the 3-day camp. Youth servants as well as parent guides were likewise nourished and inspired by the workings of the Holy Spirit in the participants as they listened to the talks and sharing, and joined in the praise and worship songs. Fr Alliston Fernandes of the ICPE Mission testified to the spiritual healing brought about by the Sacrament of Reconciliation and reflective prayers of the youth participants and servants. The camp culminated in the celebration of the Holy Mass that was attended by the parents of the participants and other members of the Community. The camp was led by KPF youth servant heads Miguel Gierran and Bianca Sevilleja, guided by the KPF Youth Ministry heads and assistant heads Joel & Gina Macaranas and Ogie & Kitty Dado.
We look forward to the sharing of one of our youth participants and one of our youth servants in the coming blogs. Watch this space!