Faith and friendship: Nagle students return from immersion tour in East Timor  

24 November 2017

During the last school holidays on Friday 22 September, 16 Nagle Catholic College students who are part of the Faith Drive Endeavour Program, took off for an immersion tour of East Timor. The students were joined by staff members and Father Tai, to experience an 11-day immersion tour of a lifetime.

The first part of the trip began with a challenging pilgrimage up to East Timor’s highest peak, Mount Ramelau at 2,964 metres high – a great experience where students worked together and supported one another to make it as far as they could.

For the next part of the trip, students were fortunate to spend five days with Sisters and students at ISMAIK Boarding School, teaching them and forming friendships – learning from one another about the value of being rich in spirit and companionship.

“The East Timor Immersion is an experience I’ll never forget, I’ll never forget the people and their warm smiles as well as the love that ties us together in our hearts,” said student Hoang Tim Dang.

The students also brought with them donations that were raised through a fundraising drive at both the Geraldton and Carnarvon campuses. The East Timor community graciously accepted clothes, dolls and teddy bears, as well as $8,600 in financial assistance. The students were able to see first-hand where last year’s donations had been spent – a fence had been erected at a local primary school to protect students from a busy road, as well as a multi-function room currently under construction at ISMAIK school.

A major highlight from the trip was the immersion into faith that students and teachers experienced. Over 96% of people in East Timor are Catholic. Nagle students heard wonderful hymns of praise being sung in unison at masses, with local people eager to go to celebrate and consider their faith.

The Nagle College Endeavour Leadership Program is a youth ministry service program, which focuses on the development of students in Years 10,11 and 12 through faith development – faith into action, leadership, community work and stewardship, being ‘For Others’.

The trip takes place annually, and enriches students from East Timor and Nagle Catholic College with new found friendships, compassion and appreciation.

“Timor Leste is a place I would struggle to define in a sentence, or even within a paragraph. My experience over there was absolutely life changing to say the least. Never have I been to a place so rich in love; for others and in faith. For people that have so little, it is bewildering to see them so happy with what they have; their gratefulness is inspiring,” said student Jaida Silvester.

 

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