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RYM Camp 2009 - outpouring of friendship and yearning for faith

By Andrea Mathew

A total of 45 youths, aged between 18 to 26 years old, of various nationalities and mostly strangers to each other, have become Facebook buddies, sharing thoughts and words of encouragement, going for karaoke escapades and allowing each other into their lives. And the ‘culprit’? The Holy Spirit, the unseen guest at Revolution Youth Ministry (RYM) Camp 2009 who moved within the walls of La Salle Bungalow, Port Dickson. The 29th to 31st August will be days that RYM and its new found family will never forget. 

When the core-team members of RYM first sat down to discuss the idea of organising a youth camp, feelings of eagerness were abound but many too were filled with doubt. There were a mere 15 active members, many of whom had no experience in organising a youth camp. They could barely gather enough people to conduct, what in general terms, would be a successful half-day workshop, and all of a sudden they were trying to pull off a whole youth camp?

RYM Camp 2009

There were two key factors that have made RYM Camp 2009 a successful effort. Father Danny Mathews, the sole facilitator, was truly a blessing and the impact he has left on the participants can only be expressed in their words:

“He’s unpretentious and easy to talk to because of his openness and empathy. He showed us the raw side of our faith that is easy for youth to relate to and made us examine our lives so that we become better people of God. He is an excellent speaker with lots of wit,” enthused Norah Khor, 19.

Alan Keevan, 21 said that Fr Danny “is one man who has the vibes and energy to relate and connect with the younger generation and able to execute sessions without putting us to sleep. He also has a fantastic sense of humour and the ability to remember names like a computer. The best part is he looks like American rapper Snoop Dog and you can never guess he is a priest!”.

Meanwhile, Anthony Chang, 22 regards Fr Danny as “a person who is willing to hear problems faced by others and tries to feel with them. Father is able to blend in very well with youths with his informal manner. Because of this, youths find it easier to approach him and ask for advice. Sometimes people tend to think priests don’t understand the youths because of the generation gap, but that’s not the case with Father Danny”.

The second blessing came in the form of our participants. The group that came together was diverse with participants from various backgrounds including two Sarawakians, a Sabahan, two Filipinos, a French, a Hindu, a Pakistani and Three girls from Rumah Kanak Kanak Impian. Our unique participants, who do not know each other previously, found friendship in each other.

The RYM Camp 2009 was generally made up of eight interactive sessions interspersed with Praise and Worship sessions, games and fun time. There was also an hour and a half ‘mass-explained’ weekend mass held on the 29th of August.  Father Danny also made confession available on the second day of the camp and was open for one-to-one casual chats and counselling sessions throughout the duration of the camp.

RYM Camp 2009 2 

As the theme of the camp is ‘With Him’, focused on building a strong relationship with the Lord subsequently being empowered by that relationship, the camp saw eight different sessions touching on some of the core aspects of a youth’s daily and spiritual life. Here is a look at the highlight of each session:

Loving My ‘Self’, Others and God
Focusing on appreciating the talents and unique characteristics we have been blessed with. Drawing self confidence from this realisation and understanding the love He has which He expresses through the blessings we receive; the most powerful love in the world.

Learning how to pray in a simple three-step method of petitions, encompassing personal needs, requests, prayers offered for others and thanksgiving - praising and thanking the Lord for every blessing.

Get Control or Be Controlled
Taking control of our lives and determining what we want to do with the gift of life, while recognising the will of the Lord.  

When Thing Go Wrong
James 1:2-8 summarises it perfectly: My brothers, consider it a great joy when trials of many kinds come upon you, for you well know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and … you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way. Any of you who lack wisdom just ask God for it. But prayers must be made with faith.

Life’s Ingredients
We focused on discovering the role a friend plays in our lives, reminiscing and appreciating a meaningful friendship.

Everyday Christianity
As we discussed on building a healthy relationship, participants shared characteristics they felt would be vital to maintain good relationships. Open and honest communication, trust and understanding were some of the values participants shared.

Faith: The Invisible Power
We carried out an exercise of building structures using straws as material, emphasising on stability and strength of the structure. The exercise was to prove that a strong foundation that will help weather even the most difficult times. Faith is the foundation of our relationship with God.

Sharing and Living the Faith
Father Danny explained the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John, Chapter Four - about how the woman, who first saw Jesus as a Jew, by the end of the conversation acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. The process of Jesus revealing Himself to her was one of a process of stages, from turning an unbeliever into a believer.

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