Becoming “transformers, trendsetters and trailblazers”

I am one who used to have a negative image of camps. This is ironic since most teenagers see camps as an escape from home and an opportunity to fool around with friends. That just wasn’t me.

Jul 07, 2017

By Chloe de Souza
I am one who used to have a negative image of camps. This is ironic since most teenagers see camps as an escape from home and an opportunity to fool around with friends. That just wasn’t me.

Despite what I felt, I still went for the Catholic Students’ Society (CSS) Camp 2017 of my school, Stella Maris. On the way, I asked God for his grace to learn and enjoy the camp. An inner voice told me that this camp was going to be different. That my impression of camps would change for the better. That voice didn’t lie.

Martin Jalleh, known for his unique style of captivating the crowd, conducted most of the sessions. His words worked its way into my subconscious before I could even comprehend them.

When he began speaking, there was simply so much for me to take in. Every single sentence that he spoke was so captivating to the extent that I wrote down the phrases that struck a chord in me.

Held June 5-7 at the La Salle Centre in Ipoh, the overall aim of the camp was to produce “Transformers, Trendsetters & Trailblazers” by strengthening the relationship between the individual, others and God.

Believing in God and self

The first day of the camp focused on the topic of “Who Am I?” If someone asked me that question, it would take me awhile to give a concrete answer. Jalleh covered problems that individuals often face, such as insecurity, fear and self-doubt.

He enlightened us that often our greatest enemy is truly ourselves. Often, we belittle ourselves and we allow others to put us down. But not to worry, he taught us how to love and accept ourselves.

By Chloe de Souza
I found Jalleh’s one-liners so thought-provoking: We say we believe in God but we do not believe in ourselves! God “believed” in us enough to want to create us. God wouldn’t give us something he knew we could not handle.

I was challenged to take a serious look at my relationship with myself: Once we accept ourselves – our flaws and strengths, everything is possible with God’s love and our love. ‘Impossible’ becomes ‘I’m possible’!


I learned too that I cannot develop and grow alone — God works through the people around us. We may see others as a burden or a blessing — brothers and sisters in Christ — whom we share so much in common with — especially our faith experience.

Jalleh made all of us in the CSS aware that if we were to develop into a strong and vibrant community in Stella Maris, we needed to grow in our Cooperation, Communication, Creativity, and Commitment — and our motivation is Christ himself! I asked myself how many of these qualities have I used to build up the CSS.

In order to get the message through to us effectively, we were put through team building activities which were fun, interesting and even revealing! I felt we were much closer after this and the games in the evening, organised by the teachers, helped to complete the spirit of faith, fun and fellowship!

A Journey of New Discoveries

Another great “WOW!” for me was his invitation to us to have a “re-look” at who God really is to us personally. In his humorous way, Jalleh said that we needed to “reformat” our perception of who God is.

He added that the greatest tragedy is that we, who are created in the image and likeness of God, often created God in our image and according to how we like. He then went on to share six unique characteristics of God’s love — which took us all by surprise!

The knowledge of God’s steadfast, affirming and forgiving love opened our hearts to a beautiful Inner Healing session on the last night of the camp, during which many of us were moved to tears by the deep realisation that Jesus was there to hold, hug, heal and help us.

I was equally excited in having learned different methods of prayer using our bodies. For those of us who are familiar with Praise and Worship — it was something very refreshing. We had no idea that every part of our body could be used to enrich our prayer life.

As we came to the end of the camp, Jalleh said that most people simply grow old, very few people grow up! Few are the Catholics who are truly mature in their faith! He then went on to share with us the constants of spiritual growth/ maturity.

I felt very challenged by this truth! Catholicism is not a ritual although it may appear so to many people — go to Mass, continue with daily life, the end. That’s definitely not the end of it. Catholicism involves constant spiritual growth.

I praise and thank God for the journey that He had invited me on — one of learning about who God is to me, personally, and my identity (who I am), my sense of belonging (community) and my purpose and mission.

I can say I left the camp falling in love with someone — our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who I want to grow in love with for the rest of my life!

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