IFFAsia Mission Project 2019 in Bicol from 13th to 31st May 2019

(by Cheon Seong Yeon @ Issac, S. Korea)

It may not be easy, but it was definitely fruitful. It took us 3 months to prepare for the 19-day IFFAsia Mission Project in Bicol, Philippines around Daet, Naga, Iriga City,  Ligao and Legazpi City with the theme, “I am Hope – A Call to Ecological Conversion.” This theme also echoes the MANIFESTO from the World Youth Day 2019 in Panama: Care of Creation. The Mission Project included exciting encounters and talks that allowed us to fully immerse and respond to the situations too.

As I look at the objectives we set for the program, I can say our Mission Project was successful. We took the word ‘HOPE’ as the acronym for our objectives;

HARMONY: During the mission project, we faced various challenges in terms of transportation (22 people traveling in an 18-seater jeepney!), accommodation and changes in the program (makes us look-out for the unexpected). However, we helped each other with our gifts. We encouraged each other. We kept the harmony to overcome it.

OPPORTUNITY: We had opportunities to learn many things. In Daet, with SPACFI (Social Pastoral Action Centre Foundation Inc.), we could see and listen to the fisherfolks about their life, meet the tribal community, Manibe, in their living space; see the small-mining operations on the plantations and learn about the realities, challenges and how they cope.

In Ligao, through SAC (Social Action Center), Diocese of Legaspi, we saw the work of the local municipality engaging the community of Sitio Tambac in Barangay Maonon in maintaining cleanliness on the beachfront and enforcing the law for marine and mangrove preservation.

The talk on Laudato Si, by Msgr. Crispin C. Bernarte, Jr., V.G. was a valuable input to put together our various exposures and immersions on our learnings of care to the environment.  Our learnings and insights from this Mission Project will be useful for our missions when we return to our countries.

PRACTICE: In this Mission Project, we wanted to practice our knowledge and skills that we have gained from the formation in IFFAsia to be of service to the communities we planned to meet. We prepared 7 key activities in line with our theme, as follows:

  • Session on Positive Mindsets for the youth of the Manibe Tribal Community, Daet
  • Youth Jam for the youth at the Fatima Center for Human
  • Development run by the Daughters of Saint Augustine in Iriga City
  • Session on Caring for the Environment for the children in Sitio Tambac in Barangay Maonon, Ligao
  • Seminar and Awareness Campaign on Laudato Si for the
  • youth in Legazpi
  • Prayer Rally for Ecology Conversion for the youth in Legazpi
  • Dialogue on the Challenges of Asian Youth for the youth in Legazpi
  • Session on Choices and Responsibility for the residents of Good Shepherd Home, Legazpi

Our Mission Project was not only about gaining knowledge and skill but also to apply these ourselves making the Mission Project more meaningful.

ENCOUNTER: We met as many as 150 children and youths (ranging from 3 years old to 26 years old) through our various encounters during this Mission Project from the various places we visited. We had fun with them and shared stories with each other. Through these encounters, we realized that we are one in God. We also had some important encounters with different persons in mission; especially Sr. Etat (Sr. Felicia de Lima), Daughters of Saint Augustine the co-founder of the Fatima Center for Human Development, Bishop Rex Alarcon who welcomed us on the 1st day of our arrival in Daet and the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) who helped us understand the challenges of the lives of missionaries to serve the poorest of the poor.

Besides that, with IFFAsia alumni, Angela Basco, we all got to be on-air with Radyo Veritas Legazpi to talk about our motivations, future work, and inspiration for the ecological conversion we want to see in our countries. It was even more amazing for us to have the chance to sing on-air “Let’s Hope”, a song we composed for the Mission Project to create awareness for the need for ecological conversion. (watch the segment here https://www.facebook.com/156647461082974/posts/2261341943946838/ )



In the midst of our Mission Project, we had to adjust to the different situations than what we had planned for. We were not disappointed with the realities on the ground, but rather accepted these changes as a matter of fact and helped each other in the activities to make everything a success. When we return to our countries, the realities that we will face may not necessarily be what we are expecting. We will need to face such challenges; thus, the important thing is to accept our reality and try to overcome them with our teams. We should not give up easily because of changes on the ground. This Mission Project has given us a taste of such situations.

In addition, the Mission Project has been important for many of us to grow in confidence for our missions in the future. This Mission Project has prepared us for missions in our life, for the 19 participants from 9 countries in Asia. Though our mission has not started yet, we are hopeful. Hopeful that we can go forward with our mission, though our missions are different. I saw this hope during our Mission Project, I believe that all of us can achieve our mission – “I am the hope of today.”

The Mission Project was a great opportunity for each of us to go forward in our mission and vision; to have a vision and mission in our life makes it more meaningful. We are sincerely thankful to IFFAsia for such an experience in our formation program. We hope that many youths in Asia can join IFFAsia program to discover their mission and have a meaningful life.

Facebook Photos: https://www.facebook.com/156647461082974/posts/2374562745958090/

Youtube video: https://youtu.be/wLoo2OjlwA8