By Emeline Amandia Halim &Ivan Ciputra Halim
MUDIKA’s annual retreat was back for Easter 2015 with the theme “Missing Link: Connection Lost, Retry?”. I just moved to Melbourne 2 months ago on a student visa, and stayed with one of the committee for this retreat. She suggested me to give this retreat a shot, and I though about it. I had my doubts.
First off, I have always grown up speaking more English than Indonesian, and I feared a language barrier, as the programs would be held in the Indonesian Language. Second, I was new to MUDIKA. On the other hand I haven’t got much to do during the break, plus I thought it would be nice to try something new. Hey, what’s there to lose right?
The retreat started at 6PM on Thursday 9th of April 2015. The main hall was slowly filled with more and more people. The first comers greeted everyone they knew and noticed me being a newbie. They immediately introduced themselves and we talked for a while. Then I unexpectedly met my college friend, and in that moment I knew everything was going to be alright.
There was a mass to start off followed by the introducing of each other. We were told about of their tradition, the buddy system. So here, we draw a name of a person of the opposite gender and had to do some good deeds anonymously. Our buddies will be revealed at the end of the retreat. Since the beginning of the retreat, I noticed that the MCs were well selected. They never failed to make us laugh. We had dinner then went off to bed. Another notable thing was the meal we were provided. The meal/kitchen-hand committee gave so much effort, which lasted the whole weekend.
The next day, we started off with morning exercises to wake us up for another mass, which was then followed by time for breakfast and shower. Our first seminar was on charity. Here we were taught by Bro (Frater) Rukhe A Woda (Laurenz), SVD that we were made equals, and money is nothing if our hearts are not willing to give, which I thought was a powerful message.
Our next activity was to reenact an extract from the bible. We had fun brainstorming and acting comfortably silly along the way. When it was time to perform, I was amazed. Every group came up with something creative and funny, and this made me look forward to more of the activities.
Lunch followed by outdoor games was next. We had a blast playing with the other team while strengthening out team-relationship. Dinner and shower followed, then we had our next seminar, which was on Youth Power. I thought this was an empowering topic, as we youths are generally underestimated.
We then had prayers together and were introduced to their other tradition activity, Ekspresi (translated: expression, talent show). We were given a topic from one of the three seminars, and were to show it in either a mime, musical, TV show, or sinetron (soap drama) before our free time. As usual, we spend our free time gathered in the dining room.
The next day, known as our last full day, started off with our morning routine: exercises followed by the mass. We had time for breakfast and shower before our next seminar. This seminar was on Love, sex, and relationship. This was a controversial topic, and I thought that our chaplain (Father Boni Buahendri, SVD) did a great job preaching it.
We had morning tea then came back to watch what I thought was a powerful talk entitled “Seven Secrets of the Eucharist”. Of all sessions, this one fascinated me the most. The speaker, Vinny Flynn, was an amazing speaker. He was so good, I don’t think I’ll ever take my communion without thinking of some of the contents he shared.
After that we had our lunch and was given extra time to discuss our ‘Ekspresi’ before presenting it. I was looking forward to watch what everyone had to show, and as expected, everyone came up with such brilliant ideas. Every one of theirs didn’t fail to make me laugh.
Dinner came up and then the repentance (ibadat tobat dan pengakuan dosa), which I thought was the most intense part of the retreat. I felt some sort of way and apparently so did everyone else. Our last night was well spent, never have I ever felt the term “brothers and sister in Christ” taken literally until that long night.
The last day was bittersweet. We had our buddies revealed, some time to share our experiences, and a good one hour switching numbers and taking pictures before parting ways. If one thing, I think I have found my missing link, and that is the sense of acceptance. I have never been in a community so welcoming, within a weekend we have developed a bond we can call family. Thumbs up for MUDIKA RETREAT 2015 and all of the committees and members for giving me something to look back and smile to!
Foto: Evan Pratama