VITAL FOUNDATIONS FOR GIRLS 2012
The VFG video was prepared by Melody Warford. The segments, interviews, and recordings with the representatives of the homes were carried out from 29th October to 8th November 2012.
Venues of formal personal and group sessions are combined with on-going support, encouragement, consultation, and availability. Funding is also provided in many cases as grants for educational programs and degrees which meet the needs of leaders within the local churches and para-church organizations. The appreciation for the work of Global Mosaic is very deep.
All gifts to the ministry of Global Mosaic International, Inc. are tax- deductible and are very gratefully received. Funds are all designated directly to the support of teams, materials, and conference needs of the participants. All administrative costs of GMI are independently met by other sources.
The girls from the “Rumahs” (homes) who were chosen for this program were those in the age group of 10 to 15 years, who are teachable, and who exhibit leadership potential. They were to cohabit with a mother–daughter pair and one of the Malaysian mentors for a week at the Resort. The mentor team was selected from the alumni and graduating students of AOIC Pastoral Counselling program who were keen to focus on girls and adolescent counselling. They are to mentor the girls over a period of two years.
Dr. Biles had approached various families from India, U.S.A, Australia, and Malaysia with the vision and invitation to join. Due to the differing school holiday schedules in the various countries, only the mother-daughter teams from the U.S.A who had their Thanksgiving Week holiday during this time could participate in this program without missing classes.
The mother-daughter team, the girls from the homes, and the mentor were housed in a chalet, similar to a family on vacation. The girls were to interact with each other to experience the cross-cultural exchanges as well as allowing the Malaysian girls to engage with and observe the ways the mother relates to the daughter in their daily living. The girls were encouraged to visit each other’s chalets for fellowship and enjoy the amenities of the Resort together.
Dr. Biles had given guidelines to all that this was not to be considered a camp or school; it is not drilling kids with more lessons, but it is relationships, fun, bonding, and learning by modelling.
The girls attended three 45-60 minute sessions daily. Session topics were designed around character building, communication, good decision-making, and interpersonal skills, and were facilitated by both the mothers and the mentors.
A folder was given to each girl as a blank book entitled “This is me” to be authored by her over the course of the week. Photos of the individual girls were taken to use in creating a cover for the book. The folder would contain the building blocks and life lessons for future growth and educational material. All were also requested to record daily in a notepad the lessons learned and to provide feedback to the organizers. This journal was used to record the girls’ thoughts or reflections.
The Malaysian mentor team facilitated the first day’s sessions as that allowed time for the U.S.A teams to adjust to the different time zone.
The first session was “Basic Needs” by Janice Tan based on William Glasser’s 5 Basic Needs:
and v)Survival–Food & Shelter;
and she added iv) Spiritual–God as the inner core of needs.
Janice had reminded the girls that they have Freedom of choice to make good decisions with the resources and qualities they already have in them.
Session 2 was “I want, I want, I want” by S.I. Lo expanding on the first session topic, that identity is not based on what we own or have. The girls were taught to identify their needs and wants, also the methods to achieve these needs based on what do they have and who is the person who could guide or help them in achieving their desires. The acronym of W.A.N.T focused on The Way to achieve the goal, ACTION = anger / appreciation / at peace with the outcome, NEW ways of thinking and behaviour, and TEAM (network and people) & THEME (value and worldview).
Session 3 was “Building Character and Values” by Wendy Hew. The girls were reminded of the 10 commandments using their hand and finger gestures and were introduced to the six pillars of good character and value. They were asked to write how one shows good character qualities based on:
and vi) Citizenship.
The rest of the days began with a reminder from Dr. Biles on
“Why are we here?” – To learn, have fun, and meet different cultures; to build character, to meet new friends, and to note Christ in action.
“What brought you here?” – To help each other, there is a purpose and reason why we are here, we are chosen by God; to be a mentor- we help each other learn to grow one step at a time.
This day’s sessions were facilitated by the U.S.A mother teams.
Session 4 was “Where do I belong?” by Susan Lahey expanded on the theme of character qualities. The girls were asked to create a brochure to describe themselves such as their favourite activities, best features, proudest moments, strengths, and talents. On the back of the brochure the girls were told to get at least 3 people to write about them and sign on it. In addition to this, the girls were grouped in pairs to have an interview session with each other for 5 minutes to present oneself to another about their hobbies, favourite colour, song, food, etc.
Session 5 was “Why can’t we be like normal kids?” by Amy Trout. The girls were divided into three groups to perform a skit on “How Might I feel” in different scenarios. They were asked to describe the emotions invoked. They were reminded that they were made to feel they belonged, as they are not the only ones with those feelings in the same situation.
Sessions 6 was “What makes a Good friend” by Felicia Biles who reminded the girls that one is to treat others the same way one wants to be treated (using the Scripture of Luke 6:31). To have healthy and appropriate relationships one needs to be conscious and considerate of others.
Sessions 7 was “Relationship Building/Boundaries/No Apologies” by Jennifer Jones. With the question “Who are you?” she led the girls to the answer within Scriptures (1 Corinthian 6:19-20; 3:16) that we are God’s temple and the Holy Spirit lives in us (Colossians 2:9-10), we are complete in Christ (Psalm 139: 13-18), we are loved and beautiful. The girls were reminded that we do not need any one to make us whole, only through Jesus are we complete; we are Princesses in the King’s Palace (Psalm 45:10-11, 13). The girls were asked to write a commitment statement on how they might dress, on relationships with same and opposite sexes, behaviours based on God’s standard of modesty for the Glory of God, and what characteristics they would want in their future life partners.
Session 8 was “Making Wise Decisions/Achieving Independence” by Tan Soh Kheng. The girls were guided to depend on the Holy Spirit as their Spiritual compass in getting direction from God and to help in making wise decisions rather than just smart decisions.
Session 9 was “For what do People Praise Me?” by April Woodward. Psalm 139:14 was used to remind the girls that each of them is wonderfully made and unique with characteristics exhibited by the biblical characters of
- Esther (brave),
- Mary (teachable),
- David (courageous),
- Abraham (faithful), etc.
They were reminded to learn to get along with each individual’s uniqueness. They were asked to name two people in their life circles and what they admired about them, and then to relate the emotion or thought when thinking of them.
Session 10 was “Self Talk/Inner Dialogue” by Dr. Evelyn Biles. The girls were guided to use the “T.R.U.T.H” Chart starting with the inner thoughts from a Trigger event leading to a negative Reaction, an Unhealthy feeling, then thinking about what the Truth was that would lead to a Healthy reaction. They had to make the choice to reframe their initial thoughts focusing on what the Truth was about the life event to train their minds to lead them to Healthy reactions. They were encouraged to learn to listen to Jesus, so that we can be more confident in handling life events (Isaiah 30 20a-21b). This reminded us that life is not without its challenges and God is sufficient for any difficulty that life brings our way (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Session 11 was on Interpersonal/Communication Skills by Doreen Tan. The girls were guided with Scripture on ways of communication through talking (Prover12:18b), listening (Pro 18:13), thinking (Mathew 21:28), and feelings (Proverb 12:25). Effective communication is the key to interpersonal relationships; we can bless others with our behaviours and thoughts.
Session 12 was “Coping with Body Changes” by Ruth Lee.
Starting with the theme “YOU ARE UNIQUELY SPECIAL”, and using Psalm 139:4 she reminded them that we are all created in the image of God and are fearfully and wonderfully made.
The physical changes from a being girl to becoming a woman are part of the growing cycle of life. They were reminded that physical changes require self-care and to make personal hygiene an essential part of their daily lives as a token of honor and worship to God. There are constant changes during the stages of life that can lead us to focus on the unique identity God has given us, which is our unchanging thumb print and that no one is the same. That was also a reminder of Jesus’s teenage time years when He grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Through the Scriptures (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-5) they were reminded that the beauty that matters most to God is that of their inner spirit and character. The challenge is to make the choice not to compare themselves to others and to become channels of GOD’S love (Zechariah 2:8). Romans 12: 1-2 was used in encouraged them to make the commitment of their body as a living sacrifice and to be transformed by the renewing of the mind.
The session ended with some simple dance steps in how they could use their bodies in worship by raising of hands (Psalm 134:2); dancing & leaping (Psalm 149:3, 2 Samuel 6:14, Exodus 15: 20), clapping & shouting praises to GOD (Psalm 47:1, 66:1), and kneeling & bowing (Nehemiah 8:6, Revelation 4:10, 5:8). Everyone enjoyed this session and had fun.
Although none of the sessions were rehearsed nor discussed with each other, we saw how amazingly God had led each session to link to the next and extended the individual topics discussed. Ruth said she was really blessed as her session was the last so she had the advantage of sitting through all the other sessions first.
There had been some discussion wondering how much these girls would take in as they sat in all these sessions. The goal was for them to process these concepts to they could also bring change to the lives of their peers. I was reminded of the illustration Jesus used through the story of the lost sheep in Luke 15:4-7 that we should rejoice even one life was touched. Our task was simply to plant that one seed in their lives; there would be others later to water that seed. God is the one who would make it grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-7) and bring their leadership qualities and skills to harvest.
From the initial stages of forming the committee in January 2012 to identify the shelter homes and the selection of girls in September 2012, VFG became a reality on 18th November 2012. The program ended on the 23rd with the girls writing thank you notes and cards to the volunteers, donors, sponsors, and all whose service they appreciated.
After enjoying a Thanksgiving Turkey feast especially prepared for them by the resort, the girls also learned that expressing gratitude is a vital component of building a strong relationship. We could not have achieved the same level of success without the generous contribution and accommodation of the management and staff of Sepang Golden Palm Tree Resort. As the VFG committee we are grateful to them and to everyone on both sides of the globe who believed in the vision and so generously invested their money and time to make it possible. We appreciate each individual who had made this event a success and who participated in any form of sponsorship with generous funds, products, and transport to ferry the girls to and from the resort.
After a day of sightseeing in Kuala Lumpur, the event ended with an appreciation dinner for the U.S.A and Malaysian teams and “Selamat Tinggal” to our guests.