In IFF Asia we believe that it is always good to look back on our past experiences. As John Maxwell said, “Experience is not the best teacher, evaluated experience is.”
In this article, we would like to share with you 8 memorable moments in 2019.
1. Launching of the Preparatory Program
First is the implementation of the Preparatory Program in Sept-Dec 2018. Well, that was not 2019, but it was for the new students of the SY2019.
It was developed in response to a common need among new participants. To prepare them for the formation, we provide them classes on English language skills, IT skills, basic catechism, critical thinking and life skills awareness.
It has produced satisfactory results. Besides improved skills, the participants also developed inter-cultural sensitivity and practiced service and leadership towards one other.
With its success, it is continued for the incoming participants for SY2020 as well.
2. Mission Project in Bicol
Another significant output was the 19-day Mission Project in Bicol. It focused on promoting Ecological Conversion while the participants undergo their Social Immersions and Encounters.
Through the efforts of our talented and hardworking participants and the generosity of the parishes they visited, they raised 80% of the fund for this mission project. They even wrote an original song and created a skit for it which they gracefully performed in the different churches that they encountered.
3. Participants' Development Action Plan
In the 2nd semester, the participants produced their Development Action Plans (DAP) for their implementation on the ground. This is part of every participant’s 2-year internship commitment with their respective sending organizations.
These DAP proposals, 11 under the Pastoral Leadership and 6 under the Development Leadership, were presented to a panel of resource persons at the end of their formation program.
Their projects vary from faith formation, youth empowerment to agriculture and health depending on the needs of their sending organization/ local community.
4. Extended Ministry Internship
Proceeding from their DAP writing, was their 2-month ministry internship.
It aims to provide the participants with an experiential learning opportunity to enable them to apply and integrate their learnings from IFFAsia. This prepared them for their work or ministry upon returning to their respective countries.
We thank our partners who helped our participants develop their skills:
- Pinag-Isang Lakas ng mga Samahan ng Casiguran
- National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP)
- Diocese of Legaspi, Social Action Center
- San Damian Multipurpose Center
- Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY)
- Salesian Youth Movement – SYM
- Bukal Ng Tipan
5. Continuous Formation
Besides the present batch of students, we also continue to provide Post-Formation Accompaniment for the alumni on the ground.
14 alumni came back to IFFAsia to report the implementation of their Development Action Plan of at least 2 years on the ground. This includes the 5 alumni who graduated with Master of Arts in Sociology with Specialization in Development Leadership as part of the partnership between IFF Asia – Xavier University, Ateneo de Cagayan.
The evaluations received from the sending organization of the returning alumni reflect high satisfaction on their commitment to the mission, personal growth, adaptability and confidence at work. Here is some feedback from the sending organizations:
“Coming back, they showed great enthusiasm and will to engage themselves in the work and this did not fade away on time. They also showed a good capacity of reading the local reality in and out of the church suggesting possible initiatives.”
–Fr. Ernesto Viscardi, Apostolic Prefecture of Ulaanbaatar/Mongolia
“I noticed that she changes very much after coming back from the Formation Program. She is very active, more well-known, and well-prepared with youth activities, especially she is very responsible for her task. Furthermore, she has so many ideas and opinions to organize youth workshops and Youth leader training programs as well in the youth office. Besides youth activities, she also assists other activities in the youth office like Children and Teenagers activities. “
–Mr. Sorn Saroeun, Youth, Teenagers and Children Office in Phnom Penh Vicariate
6. New Collaboration
The 7 students who completed this program in December 2019 continued with their respective path of progression: employment, pastoral work, social service, and seminary formation.
One of their students even continued his formation in IFF Asia and is now one of the SY 2020 participants.
7. Vocation Encounters: Reaching out to more Countries and Dioceses
Since 2017, IFF Asia went out and conducted Vocational Encounters in different dioceses from different countries such as Indonesia, East Timor, etc. These are seminars or workshops implemented by IFF Asia in collaboration with the local parishes, dioceses, or organizations.
It is an opportunity to reach out to more young people to invite them to a process of discernment for their life path and the importance of formation.
These encounters also opened opportunities for us to enlarge our network and collaborate with different dioceses especially in the area of formation of the laity.
In 2019, we were able to reach 2,500+ youths from 9 Vocation Encounters in and outside the Philippines. In fact, two of our current participants applied in IFF Asia after they attended a Vocation Encounter in their church.
(Here are some videos from our previous Vocation Encounters)
8. Send-off Mass
The Missioning and Send-off Mass was held at the Good Shepherd Cathedral on December 1, 2019, to celebrate the completion of the 11 months formation of the IFFAsia SY 2019 participants. It was presided by His Excellency Most Rev. Bishop Roberto Gaa, DD, the newly appointed Bishop for the Diocese of Novaliches.
It was a joy to witness the 17 participants from 9 countries being sent off to the missions awaiting them back in their countries; their passion to live out joyfully their new journey as ‘missionary disciples’.
It was indeed a blessing to celebrate this special occasion together with the foster families who welcomed the participants for home-stay, our friends from the partner-organizations, resource persons and the members of the Radio Veritas Asia and Fondacio communities.
We are thankful to all who have contributed in this formation of our young people!
After gathering all these fruits, we are convinced of God’s providence and guidance in our mission to empower the Young Lay leaders of Asia. All these are possible with the support from our community, staff and formators, partners, sending organizations, collaborators, and students.
All these blessings inspire us to improve our initiatives to continue serving our Church and society by transforming the lives of more and more young people!