TAWAU – “When I see the programme called Family Night, I thought our family was going to visit us in Tawau, but I was wrong, it was something else and I was really touched by it,” said one of the youth attending the SYD-4 held here on 6-10 June 2016. Yes, it was something deeper than just meeting face to face with one own’s family, it was meeting them in the spirit of Jesus.
A new tool called WhatsApp Online was designed by the organising team and used during that night, June 7. WhatsApp Online featured a series of conversation between Jesus and the youth.
It was designed in such a way where there were pre-written dialogues between Jesus and the participating youth. The theme of the conversation was on the relationship between the youth and their families.
Rose Vitus, Family Night coordinator, said, “This has stirred emotions among the participants and at the same time made them realise whether they are grateful for their own family. Do they accept their family as they are?
“The conversation starts light as they flip the pages, it starts to go deeper where it invites the youth to pour out their heart to Jesus, regarding issues or joy in the family,” continued Vitus.
Pilot studies had been carried out for WhatsApp Online prior to SYD-4. It was done firstly among the sub- organising teams at Tatal Retreat Centre, Keningau. The second pilot project was done at Holy Cross Toboh, Tambunan on 13 youths who did not have the chance to join their peers in Tawau. Feedbacks revealed that the exercise had deeply impacted them.
Vitus said that during the night some of the youths took courage to call their family after the conversation; some felt awkward because saying ‘I’m sorry’ was not a norm in the family. She added, “The Holy Spirit worked all night with them.”