Youth come together to re-kindle faith, purpose, and passion for service

Youth visit and team-building at Balay Laudato Si’

Forty-five youth from various neighboring villages in Bendum and part of the Zamboanguita Catholic Youth Apostolate of the Parish of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Grace in Barangay Zamboanguita in Malaybalay, Bukidnon gathered in Balay Laudato Si’ in Bendum for a team-building activity focused on unity, sharing stories, and spiritual encouragement.

With young leaders Jenelyn Hewe and Gerajean Lipanda of the Kabatan-onan Lumadnong Pulangiyēn (KLP) of Bendum and APC graduates facilitating, the event brought together youth from Purok 1A and Purok 2 and Tubigon of Busdi, Purok 3 of Kulaman, and Sitio Bendum. Many came to Bendum seeking encouragement and inspiration to keep the fire burning in their hearts as members of Christian communities.

The visiting groups chose to hold this meaningful event in Balay Laudato Si’ that hosts activities on integral ecology and youth community programs such as spiritual retreats, prayer and reflection sessions, and team-building events for indigenous youth, local government, and international organizations or networks. Balay Laudato Si’ is a spiritual hub for youth engagement and provides the ideal environment for team-building activities, with APC providing opportunities to connect with youth leaders like Jenelyn and Gerajean.

Youth meet and greet session at Balay Laudato Si’ in Bendum

After the introductions at the meet and greet, Jenelyn shared her personal story, highlighting her faith journey as a missionary and also as a young leader. She encouraged everyone to persevere in serving God and as a light of hope for others.

The group then had a rich discussion about challenges in reaching out to youth and sustaining the youth engagement in basic ecclesial community activities. There were also discussions on possible solutions that can respond to their struggles with their division leaders, identifying new activities to address the declining youth participation, and building relationships in other places so that more young people take interest and join the missions.

This led to a fun interactive game requiring trust, unity, speed, and memory. Participants had to quickly regroup based on various identifiers, always returning to their original slipper spot. The whole activity built energy, excitement, and bonding.

During the post-game reflections, the group shared that this was their first experience with such a meaningful game. Many thought that they just had to follow the instructions but were soon after caught up in the excitement of the game.

There were numerous learnings that day and the key lessons were to trust God and each other, unite and work as a team, and remember one’s roots. The challenges and trials will come but one’s roots must not be forgotten as well as the people who helped along the way. No matter one’s age, one must stand up for others and answer God’s calling.

The youth left energized after the meaningful discussions and activities that focused on their purpose and calling. Even with this short visit to Bendum, the activities fostered new friendships and reignited and empowered the youth in their faith journey.

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