Youth Camp 2016 was the day I first met Torch Youth. I remembered when my parents dropped me and my brother at WIMO North York Centre. The moment I stepped out of the car, I became a teddy bear! I was crowded by a bunch of ates who were all ecstatic while hugging me.
At first, I was frightened because it was so sudden and I didn’t even know their names yet! After they released their hold of me, they introduced themselves as ate Abby, ate Jidelle, and ate Azia. They were all very friendly and welcoming.
During our stay at Youth Camp, I managed to make just a few friends since I was shy and much so an introvert. Every time I didn’t want to hang out with the other youths, Reine, Hannah and Micah literally had to drag me out of the cabin and forced me to acquaint with the everyone else. Nonetheless, I made lots of unforgettable memories with Torch Youth. One memory that I’ll never forget is the time when I forgot that ate Lorraine was my mentor, even though she reminded me just 10 seconds ago. She is beautiful, funny, a good listener, understanding, and a brave woman. She introduced me to Jeremiah 29:11 and said to us, “This helped me overcome my struggles, and for sure it’ll help you too.” Which it did, and it’s the verse that I always look up to to this day.
My second favourite memory would have to be the time when I teared down my walls and stepped out of my comfort zone. It was when team Noah, my group, had to present our skit. Oh gosh, I was extremely nervous when it was our turn! My role was to be Josh Olivero’s best friend, who comes out of nowhere and yell, “HEY JOSH!’ in a cheerful voice. At first, I was panicky but kuya Josh, my group leader, assured me that everyone will be amazed once they watch my performance. At the end, he was right – everyone was blown away! They started clapping and cheering loudly, but the one person I was waiting to see their reaction was my brother. He was in tears, which brought me to tears as well, because I did it, and it was all thanks to kuya Josh and team Noah.
Before I ever heard of Torch Youth, my relationship with God was dry. I was never fully devoted to my faith even though I attended mass and prayed. Every time I faced a problem in life, I would often times place Jesus last and tried to personally fix the situation with pride and confidence. However, in the end I found that I always failed or felt short of my own expectations. I always wondered why but during Youth Camp, Pastor Jong taught me that God was in control and that if I place my trust in Him, believe in Him, and pray, I would understand that the problems I face in life are not so much mine to fight but His. It provided me great comfort knowing that and amazed in how great He truly was as He worked in everyone’s lives.
After being in Torch Youth for a year now, I’ve come to realize how important my relationship with Jesus was in my life. Being a member of Torch Youth enhanced my faith and love for Him, provided me knowledge and wisdom, inspired me to start reading the Bible and reminds me to continuously pray, love, and to be a disciple for others. I’m very blessed to be part of a family who I can fervently grow in faith, fellowship with, and who is always there to pray for me, and for that, I’m forever grateful.
Now that Youth Camp 2017 is drawing near, I’m happy to say that I’m looking forward to meeting new faces and learning more about what being a follower of Jesus is about. For sure, the games will become more intense and chaotic as always. Most importantly though, I pray that this year God will again touch the hearts of everyone attending, that it’ll be an uplifting and life changing experience for each youth… which I’m pretty sure it will be.
— Mari Ann Rigor