KOTA KINABALU – Imelda Soidi, one of the 13 graduates from IFFAsia Batch 9 was officially commissioned during the Send-off Mass at Good Shepherd Cathedral, Fairview Park, Quezon City on 8 Nov 2015. She has successfully completed her 11-month formation and was sent forth in mission to her community in the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, her sending organisation.
She hails from Bundu Tuhan and is a parishioner of St Pius X parish. She has worked for three years with Bundu Tuhan Native Residential Reserve Board of Trustee, active in community project involving indigenous people concerning biodiversity and ecology, concentrating on community forest management. Since then she has developed a strong passion for the environment, care for God’s creation. In an interview with DS, she said:
During my service with the community, I was also actively involved with the youth ministry in my parish. We worked closely with the Kota Kinabalu Archdiocesan Youth Pastoral Team. During one youth gathering, I was approached by Sr Terry fsic, Director of the Archdiocesan Youth Office, asking if I would be interested to undergo a one-year formation in IFFAsia and thereafter to serve in the said office as a full time youth minister.
I contemplated on the idea. I asked myself if I were mentally and spiritually fit enough for the position. I prayed over it. I listened to my inner voice. Eventually, after some two months discerning over the offer, I said ‘Yes’ in deep faith to the Lord, “let Thy will be done.”
I was excited when I received the letter of offer from IFFAsia and at the same time I was really nervous and anxious. This would be my first time leaving home, and going out of Sabah.
I was attracted to the modules of the formation as it is a holistic and specialised formation programme for young people in Asia. Eleven months’ living in formation also offers opportunity for students to learn to accept and treat each other with respect regardless of nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. The four main modules; spiritual, human development, social and pastoral provided us ground for a balanced personal development. IFFAsia has eventually moulded me to what I am today. I am ready for mission. I am made for mission and I am ready to go forth!!!
The one-month mission project in Thailand and the exposure trips have given us valuable experience in real life encounters with the poor and marginalised. It has taught me the value of reaching out to those in the peripheries, to bring good news to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. (Luke 4 : 18)
My days in IFFAsia have guided me to see things in a more professional way. The journey is not all smooth sailing. There were little hitches here and there; between students and staff. But it has given me the space to improve myself from these small difficulties. It is afterall a learning process for everyone.
The session on environment, using the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, the “Laudato Si’” has inspired me so much. It is about our common home, mother earth, subject to destruction due to human abuse. I have a special bond with nature through my three years’ experience on biodiversity and ecology and forest management. I hope to raise awareness among people of all ages to grow and love the environment, to be good steward of God’s creation.
I am grateful to all who had journeyed with me throughout my formation process in IFFAsia.