It may take a village to raise a child but it needs a community to bring them together. These words spoken during the opening remarks etched on the delegates when the community of Couples for Christ in Melbourne working in tandem with its Kids for Christ ministry successfully hosted the Australian Kids Village last 26-28 of September 2014. This year’s theme of the “I am a Beloved Child of God” started to echo through the halls of Marymede Catholic College, the venue for this year’s AKV, when tito Ronnie Ordonez (CFC Melbourne Area Head) welcomed the delegates that Friday night.
Kids for Christ (KFC), Youth for Christ (YFC) and their parents from the host city of Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Canberra, Brisbane and Perth came to gather for this year’s Kid’s village. Some of the delegates from other states have flown to Melbourne as early as Friday morning but most of them drove their way to South Morang in Victoria where the venue was. A contingent of Sydney delegates came by hired Coach/Bus arriving late afternoon on Friday. A total of 230 delegates came to attend this year’s Kids Village. Of these, about 110 junior and senior KFC kids witnessed and felt God’s love in fellowship with one another during the 3-day event.
The AKV for the first time has been hosted outside of Sydney since 2010 and Melbourne was not to be daunted by the preparation and organization of the event. KFC Coordinators in Melbourne led by tito Ed and tita Glenda Dino with the support of their Family ministry heads tito Bong and tita Jenny Bernardo have organised the preparations of the program, registration, music, audio/video equipment, transport and accommodation for all delegates attending the Kids village with a methodical approach to ensure the smooth flow of the event programs and activities.
The local YFCs/SFCs has for months been preparing and practicing for the program segments but have to eventually ask the assistance of their Sydney counterparts, veterans of several AKVs in the past and last year’s IKV, to handle the critical creative plays needed by the program. In a show of community team-spirit, Sydney KFC ministry with a great help from the lean group of YFC Rockers attending the AKV prepared for the session plays assigned to them in just mere 2 weeks before the event date. YFC leaders from both Melbourne and Sydney complemented well with Ate Analiz Deganos, AKV program head and Kuya Dondon Buntod (Full-time KFC missionary from Manila) who facilitated the event. Two other full-time volunteers, Kuya Jep Calumag and Ate Nina Donaire, spared a time from their busy work conducting this year’s Mission Volunteer program and they, too, came to Melbourne to help. Several program roles such as Kids workshops and Praise Worship segments were then equally divided, assigned and well-supported by both Melbourne and Sydney service teams. It was amazing to experience and see both community ministries working and collaborating hand-in-hand to make the Kids Village a memorable and enjoyable experience for the children attending.
Each day of the conference started with a Rosary at the school chapel and the Friday and Sunday sessions had a Holy Mass to begin with, dutifully organised by the Melbourne HOLD ladies. The creative plays highlighted this year’s theme of being a Beloved Child of God. The first play focused on how a child is beloved by God through the love he experienced in his own family in spite of the different challenges the family is undergoing in today’s society. The second play enhanced the love we share with people around us – friends, classmates and even strangers particularly the poor. It gave emphasis on the word C.A.R.E – Connect with them, Ask others to help, Remember them in prayer and Encourage them to join community and know Jesus more.
During the Praise and worship sessions, the children learned the theme song accompanying this year’s theme and re-visited some KFC songs of the past. The closing salvo song reinforced the kids heart-set as beloved children of God by singing (and dancing) the song “Jesus Loves Me”. Parents had the Saturday sessions full of activities, too. Titos Bong Bernardo (Melbourne Family Ministry head) and Reg Argana (CFC National Director) gave very inspiring workshops stressing the importance parent’s role in raising their children in today’s world. While on the other hand, KFC Coordinators from all areas (except Sydney) had a 2-hour workshop/discussion threshing out issues on their ministry in their respective areas with Tito Lorvic and Tita Joy Osorio (National CFC KFC Coordinators). Kuya Dondon Buntod also presented the updated KFC appreciation program currently being developed by the international KFC ministry as a refresher course to KFC coordinators.
The Praise parade and banner competition brought forth the best in creative talents in music and arts from each KFC areas. Sydney garnered the best banner of the event while several awards were also given to other areas for their participation and involvement. During that Saturday evening, the kids enjoyed the “Onesie” party where children and adults mingled together dancing to ambivalent KFC songs prepared by the Melbourne YFC/SFC music ministry. Earlier that day, the children donated their favourite toys as part of their contribution to the KFC Global Day of Service, which coincidentally is being celebrated all over the world on the same AKV weekend.
It was really a weekend full of fun, fellowship and worship and the children felt truly beloved with their families and friends surrounding them in prayer and praise activities. When it was announced that the next Kids Village will be in New Zealand, parents and kids alike welcomed the news and are now looking forward to next year’s event. The gathering of children on that weekend has manifested God’s love and favour on that village that brought them together – a community of people who raised and molded these little ones who are truly beloved by God.
~Lorvic and Arlene Joy Osorio
National CFC KFC Coordinators