PENAMPANG – After 11 months of formation in the Institute of Formation, Fondacio Asia (IFFAsia), Manila in 2015, Amylyn Bihin and Imelda Soidi finally reported for duty at the Youth and Campus Ministry Office at the Catholic Archdiocesan Centre in Penampang on 1 Feb 2016.
Amylyn graduated with a degree in Education in Counselling from UNITAR in 2012, while Imelda graduated from UMS with a degree in Planning and Development Economy. Despite having the degrees, they chose to work for the Church, not because they could not find any job outside but they are convinced they are answering a calling from God.
Inspired to step out from her comfort zone in life, Amylyn took a month off for discernment and prayer, for courage to voice out her intention to her family. Since she is the only daughter, her parents were really strict with her but “prayers never fail us,” she said. She eagerly invites other young people, “Don’t just live with Christ but share Christ (with others).”
Imelda worked in an estate in Sandakan prior to Fondacio. She said a good salary does not determine fulfilment in life. She said, “Life’s meaning is determined not by the world’s standard of fame and success, but by the conviction that we are God’s children. Only then can we develop as a true fulfilled person.”
Back in the 1990s, then Bishop John Lee saw the spiritual needs of the young people especially in the university. He established first the Campus Ministry Office in 1996, and then the Youth Ministry Office in 1997, the latter responding to the needs of the youths in the parishes. Three years later, the two offices merged as Youth and Campus Ministry Office, with Sr Terecia Loukang fsic, better known as Sr Terry, as its coordinator.
“This is a place where youths from campuses and parishes especially the leaders can come for assistance. Some come for advice, counselling, even on their personal problems,” said Sr Terry. On Amylyn and Imelda, Sr Terry added, “This is the second time the Archdiocese sent youths for formation in the youth ministry. Now they are here to serve the archdiocese, on a two-year renewable contract.” – Linda Edward