PENANG: The main focus for the Primary School Camp organized by the CEC Ministry at the Church of Divine Mercy Penang (CDM) was on Hope and Prayer. It was in line with the Penang Diocesan theme of Keep Hope Alive. The camp was held on the beginning of the school holidays on the 18th March. A total of 59 children from Years 1 to 6 attended this one day camp jointly conducted by Audrey Cheah and Dr Andrew Filmer.
The activities began with Praise and Worship followed by a Human Bingo exercise. This activity was geared to helping the older children get to know the younger children in catechism classes. One young child remarked that this was the best part of camp as she felt so important that the older children had to come seek her help to complete the Human Bingo. Activities that illustrated our hope in God included the Tea Bag Gospel that demonstrated how the Holy Spirit came down to save us.
The activity entitled Growing Closer to God gave the children a chance to see how God forgave us our sins when we turn to Him. The children were then asked how to find God. They were given each a piece of paper that they folded into an airplane, converted into a rocket, and finally opened into a paper cross. They were told to seek the cross to find God.
But the important lesson was how to pray to God. A skit was then enacted by a few teachers and a youth on the ways NOT to pray. This brought much laughter as some of them identified such gestures of prayer performed by adults. In the end, they were told just to speak to God as God is within us but we have to be silent to listen for His answer. The next question was to whom do we pray for? The children then traced their hands on a piece of paper and taught the Five Finger Prayer.
With the help of teachers, they were then asked to compose their own prayer on small cards for their loved ones and others important to them. These cards were then decorated and eventually laminated for them to offer to those they prayed for. The afternoon session began with an illustration of how sin can divide us with an activity entitled the Pocket Gospel. The older children were then given a choir workshop by Dr Filmer while the younger children were treated to station games that focused on teamwork and community spirit.
The camp achieved it objectives largely through the help of the newly formed Parents Support Group and catechism teachers. Even though it was the time of Lent when meals were meat-free, all donations of food and drinks were heartily enjoyed with many coming back for seconds. There was even a birthday cake brought in by a parent for one of the children. Each child went home with laminated prayer cards and a holy picture with a clear idea how simple prayers from the hearts from children will always be heard and answered if they just listen.
Dr. Ivan Filmer
25th March, 2017