The theme this year was Listen to the Voice of Creation and we had over 40 entries from across the Diocese. The winner of the competition was a year 9 student from Pius X Adamstown, Makayla Lawrence. The judges were impressed with Makayla’s poetic submission and use of local imagery. Makayla spoke about intentionally using a voice that was much younger than hers as listening to the voice of creation needs to start from the earliest point in a child’s development.
To view Makayla’s entry, go to https://www.mn.catholic.org.au/church-mission/catholic-life/faith-formation/recent-events/
It came to light at the gathering that Makayla is one talented young lady who has a way with words and images. Earlier this year Makayla won the 2022 Young Voices Awards by Australian Catholics magazine and sponsored by Australian Catholic University.
Makayla has kindly allowed us to share her winning entry in Faith Matters.
Light in the World
By Makayla Lawrence
For me, Faith means using kind words and the voice given to us by God to make a difference. I have faith that God has a purpose for me; if something unplanned and disastrous happens, I know that it is part of God’s plan for me to grow, learn and become a better person. As Pope Francis tells us, “The worst enemy of a fragile faith is fear. Do not be afraid!” My faith in God helps me to face challenges with confidence and determination.
On February 28th, extreme weather caused unprecedented flooding in Northern NSW and left thousands of people homeless. As I began to research this, I was introduced to a man named Steve. He lives in a small NSW town located 300m from the Tweed River on the border of Queensland. Steve was strongly impacted by the devastating flooding and kindly let me interview him about his experience and faith.
Steve told me that as water began to rise, he and his neighbours moved their cars to higher ground at 4am as they thought they would experience minor flooding. However, the water rose faster than expected and later that day Steve and his neighbours had to evacuate.
“My wife and I packed a bag for what we thought would be 3 or 4 days before we would return to our home. Then we waded through the water to our neighbour’s house,” he explained.
The water eventually rose to extraordinary levels, and the flooding caused devastating damage to his newly renovated home. It swept away Steve’s possessions and damaged 90% of everything he owned. Steve told me that at the time, he felt a great sense of loss; however, he felt a duty to fulfill in his community through looking after his elderly neighbours and being there for others to listen and be a friend.
When I asked Steve about his faith in God, he told me that “the Bible tells us to be a light in the world. Every day, I simply be the person I know Jesus would want me to be. I try to get to know others, care for them, and always believe that there are people worse off than I am. I try to be a friend,” Steve told me.
Steve has a loving relationship with his wife and family. He added that he finds great strength in his relationship and connection with God, and he told me that his faith strongly helped him through this difficult chapter in life.
“For me, it’s trust that God will be there to listen when you pray; and confidence that through his power, he will look after you. I understand my role in the world is to serve, and this led me to my work in charity,” he added.
Steve’s story inspired me. “We have our lives and that’s what matters. We have lost our material possessions and although we will not return to the home we had, we have each other. We will rebuild, which means new opportunities for myself and my wife. I’m looking forward to being together in our home, going on holidays, and getting out and meeting new people,” he exclaimed.
After this interview, I learned from Steve that connection to your faith is different for everyone – yet it is so important. Steve taught me that we don’t need a badge of honour or special attention to spread the Word of God – if we are connected to him in our heart, we will ‘be the light in the world.’
Tweed.nsw.gov.au. 2022. Second recovery centre opens as housing damage unfolds. [online] Available at: <https://www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/council/news-updates/latest-news/media-releases/1323408-second-recovery-centre-opens-as-housing-damage-unfolds> [Accessed 4 May 2022].
Vatican.va. 2013. Pentecost Vigil with the Ecclesial Movements (18 May 2013) | Francis. [online] Available at: <https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2013/may/documents/papa-francesco_20130518_veglia-pentecoste.html> [Accessed 4 May 2022].
Image- Unsplash- Davide Cantelli