Winners of the brotherly and sisterly awards, Johnson and Angelina, share their Camp CALYE experience, annual summer youth camp of the Light of Jesus Youth Missions in Perth.

“Driving through the camp gates, [I was] wondering if I’ve made a mistake…” By Johnson Junior Novicio

I came into camp thinking it’d be a good way to slow down from the stresses of life. My mum has also been nagging me to take a break from work and all, just to get some decent rest, so, I followed her advice as soon as I saw an opportunity arise because mother knows best right?

It’s funny though how some things don’t get old; the feeling of relief once Friday arrives, gratitude as you receive living necessities as a Christmas present like socks, bedding etc, the joyous feeling of ice cold water on a hot summers day in Perth but above all these, the satisfying and overwhelming happiness one experiences through a good mix of isolation amongst nature and teaching of Gods good lessons through inspiring and beautiful people. To better tell my experience of camp I just got to share a little about my past.

I’ve been to many youth, church and kid’s camps and even though fundamentals are the same, it seems like God has something new in store for you. There wasn’t much of an expectation as to what would happen or how camp would pan out, all I knew or desired was to get away from the busyness of life and really connect with the word, God and people who are like minded.

I remember driving through the camp gates wondering if I’ve made a mistake, joking with my cousin if it was too late to go back home and just make an excuse as to why we didn’t show up. On the surface I can seem outgoing and open minded but a big part of me is shy, terrified and doubtful. I sometimes have a habit of being a loner because of the fear of rejection, judgement and being wrong. I pray every day though for courage and strength because how am I going to be used by God if weak and hesitant was my main persona?

As soon as I parked up at camp I said a little prayer to myself and recited one of my favorite verses for when I am actually in need of comfort Psalms 23. We then made our way towards the group and were promptly greeted by a familiar friendly face and the camp masters (Pia and Marian), they led us to the rest of the campers where we played an introductory game. I thought this isn’t so bad Jr, just keep rolling with the flow and she’ll be right (as they say in N.Z).

The first few hours were really good from a newcomer’s point of view, there was basically no time to be shy. After the introduction games we went straight into our teams where we had to make a team flag, chant and get to know each other.

Photos are from Feast Perth

The final round was a nail bitter of a game as Jhun (opposition) was like a bull, eliminating our players one by one with games such as finger flick, coin toss and thumb wrestling. But then Pia, a group facilitator, pulled what we call in basketball a ‘Hail Mary’ and knocked out their Michael Jordan with ease. We then started to go back and forth until it came down to two team members from green and one from blue, with only one chance to win the game and one strategy game left to pull out (I was keeping track and Marian, the game master was surprised).

I did not hesitate to step up and challenge the last man standing in the opposing team as I felt like it was an opportunity to show a bit of who I actually am. I immediately thanked God and the stars up above when I picked the game, ‘the longest woah challenge’, a competition on who can say the word ‘whoa’ the longest.   Everyone’s approach to the game was to conserve energy by keeping it low and quiet to achieve a long woah but I had other plans, I had to risk a shock factor effect to get the W, funnily enough it worked and it was well taken.

Photos are from Feast Perth

The last but not least part of camp I think made it a good experience was the sincerity of the facilitators. The first few days I tried to figure out what Light of Jesus or L.O.J was about. What I didn’t realize until the final night was that the answer was right in front of me. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” Mark 16:15, from Philippines, east Australia and now Perth the individual numbers and spiritual growth is not only increasing but expanding because L.O.J. families like the Dela Feuntes, are simply doing what God commands us to do.

I talked with a few people about the history of L.O.J and on the surface it sounded like any other group, but when you get to live, work and play alongside these people who are representing L.O.J you get a glimpse of ordinary folks doing their absolute best to bless complete strangers and longtime friends all the same. It was an absolute blast communing and getting to know others who represent Christ through the simplest ways (like eating after the campers), as well as a complete pleasure learning alongside newly made friends and being blessed by our leaders and facilitators.

In conclusion, the camp was a great way to meet new people and get away from the messiness of day to day living and also a great platform to learn life lessons from good people inspired by the Word. I cannot recall the last time I felt this spiritually refreshed or renewed, mentally at peace and physically rested (though the competitions took a toll, the fun in all activities outweighed the lack of actual rest). No matter your background you’ll come to appreciate and enjoy a camp and experience like this. The people are amazing, the itinerary was full on and the memories were unforgettable.

Johnson Junior Novicio  loves playing basketball with his team, Brothers, in Kwinana.  His life goal is to serve God and his struggles inspires him to not give upon Faith. He adores his mom, cousins and he brings out the best in others.

Angelina and Johnson wearing their Best Bro and Best Sis vest.

“While I was singing worship songs, the thought of camp came into my mind and all fear and doubt was gone.” by Angelina Natasha Lazakar

A friend from work one day asked me if I wanted to go to camp. At the beginning, I was very hesitant to go for I wouldn’t know many people there and I’m not a big fan of new environments. Although at the same time, I felt as if it would be a good opportunity to go. For during this time, I was struggling with my faith. I didn’t know what to do for my future or which path God wanted me to take, for it felt as though God kept opening doors but wasn’t closing any.  The title of this year’s camp was WHOA! The theme was about the journey of moving towards their dreams and living life to the full. This was exactly what I needed.

I asked a few of my friends to come with me so that I wouldn’t go alone. My sister and a friend ended up coming with me, but I couldn’t shake my doubt and fear of going. I was still scared. I fought with the decision to go for a while till I forgot about it and had basically decided to not go for fear had overcome me. Until one day, while I was singing worship songs, the thought of camp came into my mind and all fear and doubt was gone. I made the decision to go without a second thought. I was excited. I was counting down the days till camp.

When the day finally came, I was ready to take on anything that came my way. We played a game to get to know each other better and then got split up into our teams. We had three talks on the topics of the past, present and future.  These talks changed my perspective of my future. They really spoke to me on a personal level. Another one of the most inspiring parts of camp were the testimonies given by the facilitators. For they weren’t afraid to share their life stories and how they ended up where they are now. On the last night, we had different prayer stations, in which I felt the power of the Holy Spirit. This truly made me feel connected to these people as brothers and sisters in Christ and drew me closer to God.

At the end of the camp, I came out with more than I came with. I had a new family, a new sense of purpose and memories that I will never forget. And tasted food was AMAZING! The simple choice of going changed everything for me and helped me start the year of 2017 in the presence of God. This was an incredible experience and I would do it again!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5-6 NIV) “

Angelina Natasha Lazakar is a second year nursing student in Murdoch University. She loves reading books and hiking. She’s been at Hungry Jacks Cannington for 3 years and misses her coworkers dearly. Angelina and her family regularly attend The Rocks Church . 

Photos are from Feast Perth

Catholic Youth Ministry
Catholic Youth Ministry
Catholic Youth Ministry is the official agency supporting and promoting youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Perth. Our aim is to assist young adults to build a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus and to help them find their place in the Church and the world.