Published on April 29th, 2017 | by NAC Youth



Visayas and Mindanao Youth Encounter)

Borders No more!

It took not one, not two, but four years of waiting, organizing and extensive planning until the second National youth event came to its natal day. The last similar youth program was held in Bais city, Negros Oriental four years ago. Nevertheless, Filipino youth was optimistic and hopeful that for a second time, they will meet their old friends again and have an opportunity to meet new ones.

A proof of that optimism among the youth is the excitement that you can see from their beaming faces. This excitement overcomes fear and doubt, and unhindered them from making sacrifices. Most importantly, this excitement brought them to the paradise-like island of Panglao, Bohol. Yes, you read it right. Muro-ami beach resort in Panglao Island, Bohol is the venue of the second National youth day for Mindanao and Visayas youth.

What makes the event more special and memorable is that 42 young and not so young people from Switzerland are set to join the Filipino youth for the whole weekend. The Swiss brethren has been in the country for a week. They also joined a youth program organized by the Luzon youth in Tagaytay before joining a much bigger program involving young New apostolic Christians from the central and south part of the Philippine archipelago.

April 27, 2017: The most awaited day has come. Hundreds of delegates from different districts started to arrive at the venue. Mindanaoans were the early birds, comprised of the youth from CARAGA, Davao, SOCKSARGEN and Zamboanga Peninsula regions. They were followed by the youth from Leyte. In the afternoon, bigger groups from Bohol, Negros Island, Cebu and Palawan arrived.

The Swiss youth were already in their hotel.  District Apostle Urs Hebeisen addressed the crowd with some words of acknowledgement. He also welcomed the participants and finally opens the program. A moment later, facilitators set up a registration table. The participants registered their names to get an ID and a T-shirt. The ID also contains a Bible inspired group name that will serve as their group for the entire event. A total of 12 groups have been formed.

On that Thursday night, an acquaintance party was prepared. The youth formed a big circle to shake hands and have some short conversations with the other youth. There was also some singing and dancing. The Filipino and Swiss youth gladly introduced themselves to each other. After the program, the host called each group and the members came forward to meet their group mates. Before the program ended, each group made a cheer. The night was closed with a prayer from District Apostle.

Early Friday morning, the sun rises brightly in the orient side of the calm and blue sea of Bohol. A loud sound echoed within the vicinity of Muro-ami Beach. Hundreds of young people converge in front of the stage, jumping, jogging, shaking, twisting, rotating and clapping as they followed the moves of the Zumba leader. Zumba prepared the bodies of the youth for the numerous activities that day.

After breakfast, the youth went to their groups for a short workshop conducted by Pr. Hoyer. The said workshop talks about borders. Questions were asked, like what are borders? How to overcome borders? What is the meaning of life without borders? Each group has one question to discuss with the members to come up with the best possible answer.

It was a very important part of the program. I I enjoyed it and learned something“, said Hannah from Samuel group.

The afternoon program is loaded with games. The Swiss youth were the facilitators and Filipino youth were the players. There are six stations, and in each station, there are two groups who will compete. Games are very entertaining, like balloon hunting, volleyball, castle building, and quiz bee. The losing group will imitate the cheer of the winning group. All in all, that day was awesome!

On Friday evening before the program started, sad news reached. Sister Florence’s (of Switzerland) grandmother who is very close to her passed away. A moment of silence was observed. The District Apostle, ministers and the youth extended their condolences to the bereaved family. A prayer and a song were offered.

The program resumed and it was agreed upon that every district will present an intermission number, be it a dance, a solo, a duet or a choir. The program went well; Swiss youth sang a few hymns that earn a loud applause from the spectators. After the short presentations, a bonfire on the beach followed. .

The youth formed a big circle around the bonfire. The program is unusual to many of the youth. They have never experienced that in their congregations and even District youth days. That’s why flashes of cameras are everywhere. Selfies, groupie’s pictures are evident in every single program.

Much to the delight of the youth, there are available hotdogs for grilling. They grilled some and had interesting conversation with their new friends. Others sang until midnight, while some of the youth were already enjoying their dreams.

Saturday morning, another Zumba dance energized everyone. All the youth participated, not just because of the good music, but also because of the three energetic Swiss youth who led the dance.

After breakfast, a busier day awaits. Youth from Cebu and Bohol facilitated the games. The task requires body strength and will test the group’s teamwork and creativity. There is also a poster making activity for each group. They will interpret the theme which is “NAC youth without borders” through a poster.

During Leisure time, youth from Mindanao organized Bible games such as: Memory verse and Bible quiz. A gentleman from Maydawo congregation, Compostela Province won the memory verse contest, while the siblings Rhea and Kobe Tabat from Malita central congregation got the 3rd and 2nd place for the bible quiz. Leonilo Desoloc Jr., a witty, towering young man from Butuan central congregation, got the 1st place.

After the games, the youth gathered once more with their groups for the evening presentations. This time, the youth participants were recognized. Many youth received caps and medals for their exemplary participation throughout the whole program. The host, Br. Benjamin Cuaco of Cebu city and Sis. Maria Thrina Antao of Davao city, thanked the youth for their active participation.

Dinner was served early so that everybody can prepare. Colourful costumes, well-made props and brilliant smiles are noticeable among the youth. The spectators are Dist. Apostle Urs Hebeisen, Apostles Bual, Catan and Desoloc. Bishop Puso and Cuaco. District Elder Nuyad, Beliot and Agravante and some other ministers.

The first presentation was an interpretative dance from Negros Occidental area, followed by a T’boli dance from South Cotabato, a comical skit from Davao, COMVAL, Davao oriental and Davao del norte. A momentum was sustained by a powerful duet from the Lucay sisters of Zamboanga, a folksong from Leyte, also a bible story portray from Negros Oriental, a song that features the angelic voices from the swiss youth, a drama skit from Davao Occidental, another interpretative dance from Caraga, and a finale song from the host youth of Bohol.

It was a night loaded with talent. It was amazing. The District Apostle concluded the program. He went on to thanks the ministers and the youth for their sacrifices and endeavors.

The time to said goodbye is getting closer and closer. That is why some of the youth are just mingling with other youth and exchanging contact numbers and facebook accounts in order to keep in touch even after the National youth day.

Sunday morning, three buses are waiting outside the beach to drive the youth to the Taguihon central church where the divine service is celebrated. The well-decorated church was fully occupied up to the last seats. A group of Bohol choir assembled in one row and the Swiss in the opposite row. More than 500 youth and members enjoyed the powerful sermon which the District apostle gave, based on the text in Psalm 22:25. Apostle Desoloc from Mindanao also served the congregation. Ev. Urs and Pr. Pascal both from Switzerland also called to assist. District Apostle also celebrates Holy Communion for the Departed. A Filipino and a Swiss youth stand at the altar as proxy. There was also a wedding blessing. Tubal couple received the blessing of matrimony and the District Apostle wishes them more blessings in their married life.

After the Divine Service, the choir sang a final song and the participants started to shake hands and take photos. Some youth are getting emotional as they bid farewell to one another. The four-day event has come to an end. It was a very short time but it was long enough to build friendship. The Swiss youth said goodbye to the Filipino youth as they travelled back to Manila to meet the Swiss Ambassador in the country. Some youth in Visayas are already on their way home and some youth from Mindanao extended their stay to visit other tourist spots in Bohol.

The National youth day in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is truly a lasting memory written in the heart of every Filipino and Swiss New Apostolic young people. Indeed, we break borders. Regardless of race, language, ethnicity, and financial status, one can join the group.

Lastly, a million of thanks to the people behind the success of the event: the church leaders and all participants, and above all, the Almighty Father who provided wisdom, strength, and blessings. To God be the Glory.

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