Gratitude: Stepping closer to God

In an engaging session led by Fiona Biggs and Anju Vishie, the youth from the Kristus Aman Youth Ministry (KAYM) and John Paul II Teens Ministry (JPII Teens Ministry) had a night filled with laughter and understanding at their joint gathering on the last Saturday of May.

Jun 19, 2021

Young people gather for an engaging session on gratitude.

By  Clarise Tan and Geena Low

In an engaging session led by Fiona Biggs  and Anju Vishie, the youth from the Kristus Aman Youth Ministry (KAYM) and John Paul II Teens Ministry (JPII Teens Ministry) had a night filled with laughter  and understanding at their joint gathering on the last Saturday of May. The Clue In session, based around the theme of identifying  where God has been during these  difficult times, created a space for many who have been feeling demotivated and disconnected  from God and community.

The participants were enthusiastically greeted by two energetic emcees from the JPII  Teens Ministry who managed to  quickly break the ice between  participants from different youth  ministries with their interesting  conversational topics. After an  opening prayer, participants were  broken up into groups for the  opening game: Make Your Story.  Encouraging every individual to  let their creative juices flow and  engage with one another, gamemasters from KAYM gave each  group the opportunity to work  together and create their unique  stories on a Google Jamboard.

After a spirit-filled sharing  from each group, the session then  naturally flowed into the presentation of the main content for the  evening by speaker Fiona Biggs.  She began with an introduction  on the importance of gratitude,  and asked participants to list  down five things from the previous day that they were grateful  for. From this exercise, Fiona  dived deeper into the importance  of consciously practicing gratitude since our natural survival  instinct causes us to remember  negative memories more than  positive ones.

Then, a video titled, Beware of  Bad News was shared. It highlighted the way news today is designed to hold attention and tends  to distract us from being able to live with an aim to thrive instead of to just survive. With this  thought in mind, the participants  did a quick exercise to make a  list of memories that were positive. Their many responses in the  chat were heartwarming as many  had huge realisations of the great  blessings they experience daily.

Delving deeper into the subject of learning how to recognise the  blessings in our lives, the five  love languages were introduced:  quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving  gifts, and physical touch. At this  point, a second speaker, Anju,  came forward to share her testimony on discovering the importance of nurturing one’s ability to  receive love based on their love language. The participants were  then given time to take a quiz  to find out what their primary  love languages were so that they  could be more mindful about  how to give and receive love  from others.

To further instil the mindset of gratitude, participants were  given a reflective task of listing  down the blessings in their life,  be it in terms of people, places,  gifts or achievements. After this,  they were separated into breakout rooms where they shared the  insights they had gained from the  input shared and the reflective  exercises which they took part in.  Many participants shared about  how they were able to see God’s  hand in their life more clearly  through these blessings.

In the final segment of the session, the speaker introduced the  practice of Ignatian Journaling  to the participants as a tool they  could utilise as they seek to make  sense of the developments in their  life and to hear God’s voice with  greater clarity. The two types of  writing styles introduced were  descriptive writing and ‘captured  moments’ writing. With a timelimit of three and five minutes  respectively, participants were  tasked with writing continuously  on a piece of paper. 

The participants found the  fruit of these exercises insightful,  with a few of them volunteering  to share what they learned after  reviewing their writing. It was  certainly a tool with the potential  to add greater depth to their spiritual life. The session ended here,  with a closing prayer from one of  the emcees and a group picture.  All in all the gathering was a  success, bringing together youth  from different parishes to grow  together and to be empowered by  the growth of each other.

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