The experience of World Youth Day has strengthened my journey of learning, discovery and growth through life with Jesus. There is a proverb in Fa’asamoa, my Samoan culture, which translates as, ‘Others will know you as Samoan by the way you carry yourself—your language, your walk, the way you sit and your actions’.
Reflecting on my role as ambassador and my experience of WYD, I can say this is much the same in my journey as a Christian. WYD has challenged me to question how best I can live the word of God and my Catholic teaching in my actions and everyday life.
It is no longer enough to just believe but it is now a duty to share and testify to the love, joy, hope and faith that I witnessed in Sydney.
Where to from here? EVERYWHERE! I have been reminded that in this journey there are no limits to our possibilities if we are centred in Christ and, if we ask Christ to use us as tools, we can accomplish anything and change the world.
I have gained new energy to make change, even in little things—playing the piano at church on Sundays, for example —a passion to serve, to play only for the good of Christ, to worship more through song, an enjoyment of music and church—these feelings have grown because of WYD.
I am also grateful for how WYD has opened hearts to vocations, not just mine but many people in my family and communities. We discuss vocations often even at times raising debates and opening questions to challenge young people today.
Living with the Marist Brothers at the Grove community, I am often asked what it is like to live with religious—people are obviously interested in learning and knowing more.
The way we action our lives influences so many people and, in turn, helps us grow closer to God.
WYD has taught me to be God’s hands and feet on earth, to truly love unconditionally and wholeheartedly, to live joyfully and humbly, to nurture identity but also to learn from each other’s differences.
Ultimately WYD has challenged me to leave an imprint and legacy not of myself but of Jesus in the lives of people around me.
The Holy Spirit has empowered me in all that I have witnessed; now is the time to share with others the growth that my heart and faith journey have witnessed and to give back to those who have helped, supported and prayed for me along the way.
Image: Josie Leota with fellow MC Carl Mueller of Alice Springs at the World Youth Day vigil liturgy.
Photo: Ludovic Margot