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Published on May 1st, 2017 | by NAC Youth

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NAC YOUTH WITHOUT BORDERS PHIL-SWISS National Youth Day 2017 BOHOL PHILIPPINES

(Visayas and Mindanao Youth Encounter)

Borders???… No more!

Not one, not two, and not even three but four years of waiting, organizing and extensive planning, until the second National youth event come to its natal day. The last similar youth program was held in Bais city, Negros Oriental four years ago. Nevertheless, Filipino youth are optimistic and hopeful that in second time around they will meet again there old friends and have an opportunity to acquaint a hundred more new friends. A proof of that optimism and perseverance attitude among the youth is the excitement that you can draw beaming from their faces. This excitement overcome fears and doubts, unhindered them from making sacrifices, and most importantly, this excitement brought them to the paradise-like island of Panglao, Bohol. Yes, you read it right. Muro-ami beach resort, Panglao Island, Bohol to be exact is the venue of the second National youth day for Mindanao and Visayas youth.

What adds the event more special and memorable is that 42 young and not so young people from a European country of Switzerland are set to join the Filipino youth for the whole weekend. The Swiss brethren have been in the country for a week because they also joined a youth program organized for Luzon youth in Tagaytay, a week before a much bigger program involving young New apostolic Christians from 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, comprises the youth from CARAGA, Davao, SOCKSARGEN and Zamboanga Peninsula regions respectively.

It was followed by platoons of youth from Leyte area. And that afternoon bigger groups came from Bohol, Negros Island, Cebu and a solo flight from Palawan arrived. The Swiss youth were already in their hotel. District Apostle Urs Hebeisen addresses the crowd with some words of acknowledgement. He also welcomes the participants and finally opens the program. A moment later, facilitators set up a registration table. The participants registered their names in order 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 in order to shake hands and have some short conversations with the other youth. But this program is done through singing and some sort of dance steps that is why, everyone came to their feet in order to participate. The Filipino and Swiss youth gladly introduced themselves with each other. After the said program, the host called each group name and the members will come forward to meet their group mates. Before the night’s program ends, each group will make a yell representing their respective squads. The night was closed through 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. A 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. A zumba dance was made to prepare the body for the numerous activities of 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 like what are Borders? How to overcome borders? What is the meaning of life without borders? And many more. Each group has one question to discuss with the members in order to arrive to the best possible answer; It was a very part of the program; 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 every station there are two groups who will compete. Games are very entertaining, like balloon hunting, volleyball, castle building, quiz bee and some more. The losing group will imitate the yell of the winning group. All in all that day was awesome!

Friday evening, before the program started, sad news reached us especially to sister Florence of Switzerland. Her 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.

Friday evening, before the program started, sad news reached us especially to sister Florence of Switzerland. Her 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.

Much to the delight of the youth, there are available hotdogs for grilling. They stayed at the ground to grill and making some conversation with their new friends. Others are singing until midnight, while some of the youth were already enjoying their dreams.

Saturday morning, another Zumba dance energizes everyone. All the youth participated not just because of the good sound but because of the three energetic Swiss youth who lead the Zumba. After Breakfast, A busier day awaits. Youth from Cebu and Bohol facilitated the games. The task requires body strength, test the group’s teamwork and enhance creativeness. There is also a poster making for each group. They will interpret the theme which is NAC youth without borders through a poster.

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

All the games are finished. The youth gathered once more with their groups before returning to their district for the evening presentations. This time, the youth participation will be 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 the much awaited presentations. Colourful costumes, well-made props and a brilliant smile 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 Lucay sisters of Zamboanga, a folksong from Leyte, also a bible story portray from Negros Oriental, an angelic voice 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 of talent, an amazing night. The District Apostle concluded the program; he went on to thanks the ministers and the youth for the sacrifices and endeavours. The time to said goodbye is getting closer and closer. That is why some of the youth are just roaming around mingling with other youth. Exchanging contact number and facebook account in order to communicate 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 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 based 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 sings a final song and the participants started to move to shake hands and take photos. Some youth are getting emotional as they bid farewell with each other. The four day event has come to an end. It was a very short time but it was long enough to build friendship and even relationship more than friends. 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 tourist spot on that island Province of Bohol.

The National youth day in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao is truly a lasting testimony, a history written in the heart of every Filipino and Swiss New Apostolic young people. Indeed! We break borders. Regardless of the race, language, ethnic group and financial status one can be freely join the group as one community to experience spiritual activities. Lastly, a million of thanks to the people behind the success of the event. To the church leadership and all the participants. Above all, to the Almighty Father who provided wisdom, strength and blessings, Thank you! To God be the Glory.

On the last night of their stay, a farewell party was held on the 30th of April at West Tower Condominium for the Swiss youth who visited in the Philippines. As the theme of these gathering: “YOUTH WITHOUT BORDERS” it is another chance to be acquainted and to know them better after our Tagaytay activities and for some youth (such as myself) who haven’t gotten the chance to talk to them. The venue is surrounded with skyscrapers glowing with the city lights that added the picturesque view of the place .You can smell the appetizing aroma of the sausages, roesti and kebab being prepared and they have mini pool for adults and kids which added the party atmosphere of the place.

Cheerful hellos can be heard as the Swiss youth arrived, helping ourselves with beverages and foods while starting mutual conversation. I can overhear some of my co-Makati youth asking the Swiss about their experience in Bohol, what are the activities they did while staying there. I can see the enthusiasm and awe on their faces as they share their experiences.

As the party goes on, some of the youth remain indulging in conversations, music blasting in the background while other youth were dancing and singing to the beat. Even Ss. Lucienne and Ss. Mabelle join the dance floor. Some of the youth are very energetic their booming laughter can be heard as they run around without their slippers. Those who are tired of dancing were sitting beside the pool with a guitar; they are jamming to the songs of their favourite band that shows music can also be a factor to easily break the borders within us; others were just enjoying the view with a drink in hand.

The farewell party is a success all of us were enjoying each other’s company. We thank all the ministers who oversee the event and made the party possible and memorable for all the youth who attended. According to T.S. Elliot, “What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” Truly, as we ended this farewell party for our Swiss brothers and sisters in Christ I realized that all of the days we spent together and the memories we made with them are just the beginning of a friendship that is borderless. As Bishop Samuel said after the Divine service in Tagaytay it is not goodbye but sees you later, so see you later Swiss brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

VISITING THE SWISS EMBASSY

We all know that most of the countries have embassies of another country; it is the official residences or offices of the ambassador/ambassadress.

We are informed that the Makati youth will be visiting the Swiss embassy together with the Swiss youth to share what they have experienced during their visit here in the Philippines.
Our interest perk up for most of us has never been visited an embassy before, curiosity swirling on our mind of what it is like to be there, questions arises to everyone of what does the ambassador do, how to become a consulate what are their duties and more.

Our questions have been answered as we arrive at the embassy, Ambassador Andrea Reichlin discussed the role of the embassy, and she explains that an embassy is the diplomatic representation of a country’s government in another country. Primarily representing the sending state, protecting citizens of the sending state, negotiating with the receiving state, ascertaining conditions of receiving state and promote friendly relation between both states. Overall it represents the interest of the country, may it be in terms of political, social and economical even in military and other events in the host country. They also prepare international treaties and official state visits recognizing each other (each state) as a legal entity in international system. Many embassies have consular section exercising the function of the consulate. They also explain what the task of a consulate and their duties is. Consulate is the representation of the public administration of a country in a foreign town, it is responsible for its own fellow-citizens living or travelling in the host country. Their duties includes establish entry visas to foreign citizens and to inform them about immigration-residence and working permits, renew passport, provide lost passport and other official document, report births, deaths, marriages, divorces, adoptions happened in the host country to the authorities home and it informs its own citizen living abroad about social security situation. Help its own citizen in distress those who are robbed and lost their belongings or other emergency situations, they look after those who are in detention or arrest and watch over the rule of law and fair trials. The ambassadress and consulates also share their experiences working in different countries with many factors that need to be considered in order to succeed in representing the Swiss embassy affecting them and their families as well.

After lunch we are told to divide ourselves into six groups (group names are the same from our previous group activities in Tagaytay) answering the questions prepared for each group. The first presenter is the Mateo group who are task to answers what are the borders. Jonathan is the representative of the group who presented the answers of the group. They identified the following borders as borders that can be overcome and cannot be overcome. Borders that can be overcome are the following: nationality, racism/race, languages, culture, skin colour, constructions, politics, country, economical status, prejudges and religion. Borders that cannot be overcome are gender, natural laws (physical changes, age, and nature). Next is Marcos group that answers the question what do borders mean. Vanessa presented what is the consequences of borders, it could be a separation/division (it involves shyness, languages, communication, culture and personality), differences, restrictions, misunderstandings, problems/conflicts, isolation that causes loneliness. Borders can be shape by the environment like those challenges that cannot be overcome or accepted, weaknesses and sometimes being controlling to others. Lukas answers what is the meaning life without borders. Natalie explained what would be the possibility meaning of life without borders and they categorize the following: harmony in diversity, respect each other, mutual understanding. They can travel without limitation, being open-minded in every situation, freedom from speeches, choices and action. She also added having equal chances in different opportunities and may experience eternal life with no borders. Self imposed borders of Juan group were presented by Saphira and Franz. Regarding learning process, culture, social conventions and moral attitudes are the answers they have shared and discuss. Pablo Group concluded that in order to overcome you first need to know and identify what are the borders. Raphael explained the following ways to overcome borders: Don’t accept any borders, education, positive attitude, strong connection to god, respect and understanding to each differences, love, role model and leaders, know your identity and your limits. Lastly, Pedro group presented on the how the future will look like without borders, Tanja and Darwin shows representation of the people unite as one nation with one faith. We ended the reporting with lots of experiences and knowledge we learn that we will always bring and bare in our mind as soon as god will return and met all of them again in one fellowship. We also received a simple token and souvenirs from the Embassy.

Before the time we need to say goodbye to each other, Our Swiss brothers and sisters prepared a song “Ewigi Liebe” that touches our heart and we felt that we will really miss them all. For the last time, we sang together the song that always be remember as the start of breaking the border together the “This Little light of mine”.
The Embassy also readies a presentation that makes us smiles. It was a great performance of the Ambassador with her group in the Embassy. We end up by giving a big hug to each other and saying Thank you/Maraming Salamat/Danke Shoen. See you later my dear Swiss brothers and sisters and Christ.

 

EXPERIENCED AT NATIONAL YOUTH DAY

It was Friday morning when we arrived from Cebu, We are late but still we have a place where we can put are things and room where we can sleep comfortable. We started the morning by our first activity which can we stretch our body; we did a short routine of exercise and zumba. After that we take our breakfast together. Then, Priest Hoyer conducted a workshop about the theme Youth without borders and finally we were group having a youth member from the different congregation (Visayas, Mindanao and Swiss Youth.)

We did so many activities where we have a chance to know each other and have a conversation that makes us comfortable and showed that with that it is easy to overcome borders. As the program goes by, every game makes our group happy and enjoyable because we did it with teamwork that builds friendship within us like as one congregation. We had so much fun on those activities, even though there is still shyness we still prove that from a simple activity we can overcome that borders. We end the night with a nice jamming through singing and conversation.

On the Saturday Night, every congregation did a presentation and everyone felt fulfilled because they brought joy and happiness to all. The night was full of emotion because that will be our last moment together with the Swiss youth and tomorrow after divine service they will be leaving us. After the Divine Service, Everyone will bring memorable experienced from the National Youth Day at Bohol at I felt that they also keep their faith alive to our dear heavenly father.

Bro. Benjamin Cuaco

Bohol, Philippines Congregation

 

In our youth camp, I have a really great experienced with the other youth came from the different places, Also the Swiss people that shows and shares their knowledge, capabilities and nice personality.

Bro. Jhonmark Oclarit

Bulacan Congregation

 

The days we spent together with our NAC Swiss Youth were a great experience. I personally learned a lot especially on the theme of our National Youth Day “Breaking Borders”. We learn how to practically apply on how we break the border we made in ourselves. Like the border of fear that our race is less superior to the other. We help remove this border when we try to communicate with each other and try to share our culture and traditions and how it is different from one another, especially Switzerland compared to the Philippines.

The greatest experience is when we look into our New Apostolic faith; we found no borders because we have the same goal of faith in our hearts. Our spiritual upbringing is the same and we have the same church culture and tradition. As brothers and sisters in Christ this faith made us to be good friends with each other. What we learn from the best behaviour of our Swiss brothers and sisters is that they are precise in time. Also they maintain a high standard in New Apostolic music. They are also friendly people and talkative. One needs to approach them nicely and you can already have a nice conversation already for hours.

Dc. Timothy Rich Gabriel

Makati Congregation

 

Last April 26-30 2017 we held a Swiss-Phil youth day at Muro-amo Beach Resort in Panglao, Bohol and with the theme “Youth without borders”. It is only an implication that no matter whom you are and what you are and where you came from, what language you have as long as we have same faith and principle we can be united. It was such a great experience for us Filipino that we had met such great people from Switzerland. It was something big to us NAC youth that we are one as one congregation, one belief we are all together. Having that Swiss-Phil youth day was not only for vacation or for fun but it is something that we will be treasured forever. Though, we came from different country, different culture yet we have same principles, beliefs and that what makes us who we are as a member of New Apostolic church. The friendship and relationship we build not only for us Filipino people but as well as to the Swiss people was really a significant one. Truly, it is proven that we are the NAC youth without borders.

Bro. Marlou Aurino

Tiling Central Congregation

 

The Swiss-Philippine National Youth Day event was held last April 21-30, 2017 in Tagaytay and Bohol Philippines. The 3-day Tagaytay event is on April 21-23 participated by Filipino youths in Luzon and delegation all the way from Switzerland. It was themed as “NAC Youth without Borders”.

Day 1 is welcoming the Swiss delegation and arrival at Tagaytay. It was a night of getting to know each other and a start of breaking the borders together. All the delegates are introduced to each other and grouped into six teams, namely Pablo, Lukas, Juan, Santiago, Marcos and Mateo. We also learn the welcoming song “This little light of mine” which is very inspiring and lively, fit for breaking the borders between us.

Day 2 is a team building. Each team prepared a group cheer. We ride on a jeepney going to Talisay Batangas, as the jumpstart of the hike. An exciting boat ride in the lake followed, then a trekking hike going to the volcano’s crater. The trek is very challenging but fulfilling because on our way up, there are stations created by other NAC members who provides different Filipino delicacies to satisfy our tummies, drinks to quench our thirst and tents to shelter us from the blazing sun. At the end of the hike is satisfying scenery of the majestic Crater Lake and the lake that surrounds the crater itself. How great is our God because of His creations. Yet, the night is a fellowship and presentations prepared by the delegates in each district along with the presentation prepared by the Swiss Youths.

Day 3 is the Divine Service served by our beloved Bishop Samuel Tansahtikno. The message is to break the borders in us and instead build a bridge to connect with each other. Two ordained youths got a chance to share what’s in their hearts. We got the power divine, inspire and strengthen us as the event ends.

The event is so memorable and the things that we learned will be treasured in our hearts. There are lot of borders we will encounter but we can overcome them just let our little light shine with the help from Our Almighty God with His son Jesus Christ.

Ss. Grace Castor

Quezon Province Congregation

 

In springtime 2017, I was lucky to be able to join a small delegation of the Swiss youth from NAC. After preparations and rehearsals of approximately half a year, we finally went off to a ten days trip to the Philippines, where we would meet some of the new apostolic youth from across the world.

April 19th. Day of Departure.

In the last days before the departure from Zurich Airport, the excitement among us was drastic. When we arrived at the meeting point we got our T-shirts, we would need for the two youth days, which we were all looking forward to.

My Situation was a bit different from the others. I knew almost no one, because I and a few others are actually not from Zurich but from other places in Switzerland. So we didn’t know many people. But never the less, the minute I saw the Group, I felt home and among my Kind.

 

Now, nothing could stop us now from having an awesome trip to the Philippines.

The flight was long, but we had lots of fun, even when we were only travelling. After 10 hours to Hong Kong and 2 more hours to Manila, we experienced a warm welcome. We got on our bus and we got to meet Harrold. He happened to be our guide around Manila and our first destination Tagaytay. But before we went to our hostel, we stopped in a small restaurant for lunch. It turned out not to be just some kind of local restaurant, but every Wednesday evening it could be changed to a church and divine service could be hold there. We also met district apostle Urs Hebeisen, who also gave us a warm welcome, together with some instructions and a little promotion for the Philippines.  Actually, I could go on and on about every single detail of our journey, for such a great experience will never ever be forgotten. To shorten it a bit, I want to hold on to a few events, which were imprinted in my mind.

First, of course, our first encounter with the Filipino youth in Tagaytay.

When we all assembled in the big hall, we were immediately separated into smaller groups, consisting of both, Swiss and Filipino youth. In beginning it was not so easy to get in touch with the others. Maybe it was grounded on difficulties with the English language or just on shyness on either side. It was when we had a fun little game, where we had to remember as many names of the others as possible in just 3 minutes or so, when even the last one came out of their shell and we could communicate a bit more with each other. Main conversation topics were, to exchange language. Mostly essential or just funny quotes or words from our languages, and what they’re called in Swiss-German or Tagalog. A funny moment was, when we discovered, that a German Salutation is almost the as a traditional dessert in the Philippines. On Saturday the Filipino youth had a wonderful program planned for all of us. So we hiked on the Taal volcano to see the biggest lake inside a lake. The very hot and timid climate aside, it was an awesome trip. I really liked to observe the differences regarding the nature and the mentality of our cultures. We had some great conversations too with some of the youth and others; we just met on the top of the volcano.

 

Second about the routine life as a tourist in the Philippines.

After Tagatay we travelled to the island of Bohol by a ferry boat. It was a cruise of over a day and definitely something we don’t see experience every day. When we finally arrived in our next staying we found ourselves in a completely different surrounding.

It was described to us as slums, although we didn’t really have the feeling of it. Maybe our expectations were just blown away once more. We settled down near to a sports field, the only one around. During the day, people would play basketball and in the evening we heard loud party music. So it really was the center of social activity and connected the whole youth in the surrounding area. That’s something I miss at home in this form.  The people we met all seemed so happy with what they had. In comparison to Swiss standards it seemed so little but nevertheless the people were much more joyful. Not only once I thought, how peaceful and wonderful of a life could be lived there. We talked a lot about how great it was to just live the day in a group together and experience adventures, without having to look on your phone every five minutes because you could have gotten a message.

 

As our Adventure tended to an end, the great divine service with our district apostle came closer and closer. We all looked forward to the last day of our journey, when we would experience a special divine service in a wonderful little church on Bohol. We were welcomed by the local youth with flower necklaces and quickly searched our way into the cooled building. Way in the front, there were some benches exclusive for us, so we could support the service with our singing, right next to the choir of the Filipino youth.

 

After the divine service we had some last exchanges with the people from Bohol and soon headed back to Manila, where we would stay one last night. On Sunday night, we met again the youth from Tagaytay. Together we had a great party with Swiss food on the roof top of a skyscraper. There was even a DJ and everyone had a great time with some more conversations and a lot of fun dancing and cheering.  I will never forget the moment; two Ladies from the Philippines went up to the stage and said, they had one more thing prepared for us. Then they began. As they sang their song, we were at first confused, until we understood, that they had translated the Swiss song “Ewigi Liebi” into their language. I think that’s the only thing, no one has captured on camera, because every one of us stood up and chanted together with them. This was probably one of the best moments of our encounter.

 

The next day, before departure, we went to see the Swiss ambassador to have some more cultural exchanges and some more very interesting conversations with the People from the embassy and with our fellow youth.

Bro. Franz Bohnacker

Switzerland Congregation

 


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