About 100 teens and young adults participated in ‘Empowered’ online conference
By Trevor Yaacob
June 23 2020
KOTA KINABALU – Are youths today being empowered by the Holy Spirit? This topic was discussed by approximately 100 teens and young adults who participated in the ‘Empowered’ online conference organised by the Royal Ambassadors Youth (RAY) May 29, via Zoom with renowned Catholic speaker and missionary, Paul J. Kim, all the way from Texas, USA.
With his signature wit and humour, Kim firstly shared about his life and how he journeyed from his childhood to his college years, where his encounter with God transformed his way of life and led him to his current mission. He shared how he lived a life seeking fulfilment from worldly things, only to realise that God is the only one who can fill the emptiness he experienced.
Kim explained that one of the most common misconceptions among Catholics is that we have to be perfect before we can be holy and close to God. “We don’t even have to change to go to God, it is that we go to God and he changes us. We come to Him as we are. Jesus has extended his invitation not to the best people but even the worst, because that’s what His mission was all about.”
He also emphasised his love for the holy rosary and how Mother Mary played a big role in his transformation. “When I started to pray the rosary more seriously, I started to feel more peace and joy than I ever had in my life. Strange things started happening such as smelling roses out of nowhere, and I knew for a fact that the Mother of Jesus was with me.” He further encouraged the participants to develop a relationship with the Blessed Mother, for she is the best person to lead us to Jesus.
Kim explained the importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and how Pentecost, which fell on the same weekend, commemorated the sending down of this mighty helper to the disciples. He also spoke about how Peter, who by his ‘credentials’ seemed an unlikely candidate to be the first pope, was made worthy by the Holy Spirit and became a pivotal figure for the church.
Towards the end of the conference, Kim spent a significant amount of time answering questions raised by the teens and young adults, among others, on how to overcome temptations of the human soul, learning to pray more and living a life of service to others.
“It was enlightening & refreshing for the astray mind, soul & spirit. The way Paul J. Kim explains is truly soul piercing!” commented Desmond, 34. Another young participant, Veronica, 21, felt that the conference was really like a personal conversation with Paul. “Something that really stuck with me is how we as Catholics don’t have to be perfect to come to God. We might think we need to change in order to come to him but that’s certainly not the case, instead we come to him to be changed. The whole online experience with Paul felt like a video call with a great friend who made me smile nonstop.”
The opportunity to connect with speakers like Kim halfway across the world is indeed a silver lining behind the pandemic which has brought the whole world to a halt. RAY is inviting teens and young adults (aged 15 to 40) to join them in the next three Empowered conferences. Empowered 2 consists of separate female and male sessions, featuring Jackie Francois Angel and Bobby Angel respectively. The Angels are Catholic speakers associated with Ascension Presents in the USA. Kim will be returning for Empowered 3 – The Road Ahead.
For more information, please contact Lenice (010-9444143) or Esther (016-8052146). You can also register online at https://forms.gle/9wjSgkfSQesdNZah8.