Sunday, January 23, 2011

IFFAsia Mission Project 2011 (Update 1)

Empowering Asian Youth Leaders Through Dialogue

At its first plenary assembly in 1974, the Asian bishops gathered at the newly-organised Federation of Asian Bishops' Conference (FABC) declared that “The primary focus of our task of evangelization then, at this time in our history, is the building up of a truly local church”. Asked what is the local church, they responded “The local church is the realization and enfleshment of the Body of Christ in a given people, a given place and time”. On how to do this they spoke of the “triple dialogue with peoples particularly the poor, cultures, and religions”. Through this triple dialogue the Church in Asia hopes to be a “new way of being Church in Asia”.

The local churches in East Malaysia have a vision of becoming a communion of communities witnessing to the love of God, with basic Christian communities as building blocks of this vision. Like many parts of Asia, with globalization the influence of media is strongly felt by youth & families, affecting values, lifestyle and cultures. National policies, such as Islamisation, have affected young people and families on the ground. The history of peoples in the region, favorable economic situation, and other policies may have contributed to attract high number of internal migration from rural areas to cities and from neighboring countries. While it is obvious that migrants have contributed to the development of the country and economy, their presence also affects the local community and its dynamics.

Against this background, the IFFAsia Mission Project 2011 in Sabah seeks to learn how the local Churches are living out its mission of communion and dialogue. What is the inter-connection, if any, among all the realities and influencing factors? How can the local Church be more effective in its evangelizing mission? The month-long program will include dialogues with religious & civil society leaders, families, and young people. This year's project will be from January 17 to February 15, 2011. IFFAsia is collaborating with the local Dioceses for the activities. Some young leaders, elders and resource persons from the local communities will join students and staff in the program as part of a mutual learning process.

As in the previous year, the students are currently engaged in fund-raising and sponsorship as part of their mission training. They need to raise USD23,000 or about US1,000 per person to cover travel, board and lodging, and other incidental expenses for the project. Any help you can give will be appreciated.

As the project is well under way, we continue to raise the needed funds for the expenses of the members of the project team. Please email us at if you are interested to help.

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