35 Years of Touching Hearts, Transforming Lives in Malaysia
The theme of our celebration was taken from 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “For all things give thanks….“. It is indeed appropriate as we spent this event giving thanks and being grateful for all the joys and struggles we had undergone these years.
Members of Fondacio with Archbishop Julian
Recapitulating how we were “touching hearts and transforming lives” by Fondacio Malaysia in these last 35 years we could also recall very vividly when the seed of Fondacio was brought about by the first lay French missionaries in January 1981. They laid the foundation in the hearts of the first ten Malaysian pioneer members and in Fr Peter Bretaudeau, a priest from Foreign Mission of Paris, based in Malaysia. Together with him the Malaysia members brought dynamism and brought newness to the formation of lay leaders and church workers in the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur. We were known as CCF (Christian Community of Formation) in the early eighties and today our name is changed as “Fondacio” with the tag line being “Christians for the world”. In these past 35 years, Fondacio Malaysia went through several stages of growth and stagnation and today growing again through our missions and involvements in various parts of Asia especially the sending of Malaysian missionaries to Myanmar, Philippines, and Laos to name a few.
In 2006 our Malaysian members worked together with our sister-community Fondacio Philippines to bring to reality a school of formation in the Philippines known as Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia) to train young Asian leaders. More than 20 young Malaysian leaders have today graduated from this Institute. And today about 180 students have gone through this Institute even as far as China and Mongolia. This year in November we commemorated our ten years of IFFAsia in the Philippines.
This celebrative event held on 22 October 2016 in the St John’s Cathedral new community hall, started with a time of praise by the music team and an opening prayer. Our country coordinator Annie Yap then proceeded the Event with a welcome note to all the guests, friends and members. She highlighted also with thanksgiving how the early Malaysian members responded to God’s call of faithfulness and the steps taken towards renewing of their lives. Through their transformation they impressed the lives of those they encountered through the many evangelization programs and weekends. In these past 35 years, God has, through Fondacio Malaysia touched a few thousand people especially the youth who had joined our programs and activities.
To continue further in the sharing, a video presentation was shown highlighting the beginning of Fondacio in Malaysia, events and programs of evangelization in Malaysia and the various missions’ concerns in Asia.
After the video presentation, Charles Bertille, the Asian Regional Coordinator and Vice-president of Fondacio, took the mike sharing on the fact of Christians being a minority in the land of Asia. He urged us as Christians to live our role regardless of this fact. He also shared on the various mission concerns that Fondacio has pioneered and has taken root through the faithfulness and the dreams of the local Churches and their youths who came through the Institute of Formation Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia). With limited resources but with profound belief that the Kingdom of God can come about through small ventures and gesture of hope, lives of people can be transformed. One examples he cited was the project called “Green Pastures” where a youth leader and alumni of IFFA undertook a micro-project to rear goats for the benefit of the local villagers.
Graced by the presence of Archbishop Julian Leow, the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, we were indeed greatly encouraged by his words of affirmation to our mission among the lost, the last, the least and the little. In addition to his original 4Ls (The Lost, The Last, The Least, The Little, he also added another 4Ls i.e. the lag, the lack, the lonely and the lame. For this, indeed we have much to ponder and put into action his call toward these last 4Ls. With much awareness of the participant-guests and the presence of the 15-odd young Sabahan and Sarawakian welder-students among us, he even interjected his address note with Bahasa Malaysia our national language for their better comprehension. Indeed, he inspired us much with this simple gesture of inclusiveness of the young students who are not familiar with the English language.
With these sharing and address notes given, we proceeded to a communitarian prayer – giving thanks and glory to God for all the past, the present and the future to come as Fondacio. To further rejoice in our celebration we had the climax of our thanksgiving to God through the Eucharistic celebration presided by Archbishop Julian and concelebrated by Monsignor Leonard, the parish priest of St John’s Cathedral.
After Mass we adjourned to a fellowship meal with our friends and guests who were able to stay with us for the evening. Indeed as we partake to the sumptuous food we also reminisced the early days of the members who have now gotten themselves married and are involved in their parish lives which they are now inserted in. Truly we thank God for many friends, mission partners and members who had supported and collaborated with us for the building of the Church and society in Malaysia and Asia. We continue to uphold the desire of God in us to hasten the Kingdom of God through the little efforts that we as Fondacio members can contribute today.
May God give us newness and much fruitfulness in the years to come.