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Fellowship and faith strengthened

Schools

Students and staff participating in St Mark’s College immersion trip to the Philippines experienced “the greatest of hospitality” and were reminded that “happiness comes from within, not from possessions”.

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The Port Pirie college’s APRIM, Katie Pole, travelled with the group as it visited schools, communities, aged care facilities and places of national significance over 12 days.

Accompanied by Fr Harold Camonias, it was the school’s fourth immersion with the outreach experience taking place biannually.

“There was laughter, there were tears, there was excitement, there was growth,” Katie said.

“Our journey was not without challenge, as we experienced the beauty but also the harsh realities of life.

“The most rewarding aspect of our journey was the time we spent in community receiving the fellowship and generosity of the Filipino people.

“Our sense of belonging and welcome in each community we visited was instant. We visited the poorest of the poor and learned that our presence in their lives and community was just as important as our monetary donation given from the team’s fundraising efforts.”

Katie said the group also learnt the importance of valuing education and opportunities, with many Filipinos unable to afford formal education beyond the elementary years.

As well as growing in empathy, compassion, generosity and kindness, the students returned more resilient and independent after being away from their families.

“The immersion experience brought us closer as a group as we shared a love of this beautiful country and culture,” Katie said.

“The importance of family was demonstrated and the need to serve others experienced. We learnt the importance of being the first to give and the last to receive. Importantly, our faith was strengthened.”

 

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