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An Interview With Sunday Samuel Worok, Graduate Of IFFAsia’s Batch 7

KOTA KINABALU – Sunday Samuel Worok, 27, hails from Kampung Pinangkau, one of the 13 outstations in the Paitan missionary area, and the only mission area in the Diocese of Sandakan. Kampung Pinangkau is some four and a half hours’ drive from Sandakan town on sealed road and another half an hour’s drive on gravel road. He is from the Sungai Tambanuwo indigenous community. Most of the Pinangkau folks are small scale farmers.

He is the fifth among a brood of seven siblings. He worked in a fast food chain in West Malaysia and served in the Territorial Army for about two years. In 2011 he attended a 3-month catechist’s training in the Catechist Centre in Keningau. Upon completion, he served in St Mary’s Cathedral parish as a full-time office staff. In October last year, he enrolled into the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), Philippines, as well as taking up a three-month intensive English course. He graduated from IFFAsia in November 2013 and was commissioned Nov 23, 2013 at the Good Shepherd’s Cathedral, Fairview Park, Quezon City, Philippines.

How did you come to know of IFFAsia, Philippines?

Through Anna Teresa and Sharon Tan, the 5th and 6th batch graduates of IFFAsia respectively. Both are attached to the Sandakan Diocesan Youth Office.

What drew you to IFFAsia?

During our 1st Diocesan Staff Recollection held in 2011, which was facilitated by Charles Bertile, Fondacio Council Member for Asia and former director of IFFAsia, it was highlighted that there is a need to have trained pastoral workers in parish/diocesan offices. I responded as I thought IFFAsia would provide me the necessary knowledge and skill.

What were your expectations in IFFAsia?

I hoped to be molded as a faithful disciple of Christ ever willing to go forth in missionary work. I expected to be transformed to be an effective young Christian leader. I wanted so much to improve my leadership and communicative skills, acquiring knowledge in social and mission work.

Did IFFAsia meet your expectations?

Yes, in fact very much. We were given the tools during our one-year formation based on human, social, spiritual-theological and pastoral modules. I need to further develop my skill and keep on sharpening the tools while on ground.

What is the component of the formation year that attracted you most?

The leadership theories and discipline execution component as contained in the pastoral module attracted me most. The content of which is most appropriate for leaders in any ministry/group in the church. If the skills are applied effectively, the ministry/group would grow.

What is your most memorable experience in IFFAsia?

I would never forget the community living as practiced in IFFAsia. Though the 17 of us are from 8 different communities throughout Asia, we forgo clinging to our tiny communities and focus on the one and big community of Christ. The experience of accepting 17 members of the community, each with different character and background, has enriched me greatly. The body of Christ is not made up of one part but of many. This means each member, though from different parts of Asia, is an equal part of His body.

What areas have you improved on?

I have improved a little in my communication, leadership and organisational management skill. I have discovered more about myself. I realised I have hidden talents that I could develop and use in my mission.

What have you gained while engaged in mission project in Vietnam and Cambodia?

The inter-faith dialogue has a strong impact on me. It taught me the importance of peace building, promoting and sustaining peace. I need to be the agent of change – to see that the different faith adherents in my country live harmoniously. My visits to homes of special kids and the rural folks have enlightened me to continuously set a space in my heart to listen to their voices.

What is your hope when you return to your parish?

One year has passed by. I am better equipped to be a pastoral worker. I hope I can apply the knowledge and skill acquired to go on mission especially in Paitan, our mission area. I hope to build up good relationship bond with all ministries/groups so as to journey together to build up the Lord’s kingdom.

One comment to the young people in your parish

‘To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe’ – Anatole France

We can do it because God always walks with us. Make Jesus the centre of our life.

One final comment

I want to thank Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom, and my sending organisation under Fr Thomas Makajil, rector of St Mary’s Cathedral parish, and all beloved parishioners and my family members for supporting me, financially and prayers throughout my formation year in IFFAsia. I also would like to thank Alice Tan, the Director of IFFAsia, the formation team, the supporting staff, and my foster family in the Philippines for patiently guiding and nurturing me to be an effective young Christian leader. To my batch mates (batch 7), thank you for journeying with me and accepting me as one of the family. May we live up to the motto of Fondacio ~ Christians of the World. ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’ – (Mahatma Gandhi). A blessed and fruitful mission to all of you.

I hope more organisations will give space and opportunity to up and coming young leaders to undergo formation in IFFAsia. For more details please log onto


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