Subject: Youth Leaders Trained To Handle Their Emotions

EAST TIMOR Youth Leaders Trained To Handle Their Emotions

June 27, 2008 | ET05213.1503 | 548 words

DILI (UCAN) -- A Church group in East Timor has conducted a workshop to help young Catholics be better leaders by not letting their emotions lead them.

Youth for Christ organized the workshop in Dili for 14 youth leaders from parishes in the capital area. The lay ministry, with a vision to renew society in Christ through young people, is part of Couples for Christ, the Philippine-based international family evangelization movement.

"It is very important to know how to deal with emotions. I hope to show a good example to my friends and hope they will do so for others," Joaquina told UCA News on June 20, three days after attending the workshop.

"As a leader, when you show respect to the others you will also gain respect from them, and that makes your relationship easier and smoother," the 23-year-old said. She added that she can see the impact the workshop will have on her ability to lead.

Aleixo Pereira do Rosario, 27, described the training as "really empowering," since he realized how many times he was not aware of his emotions and what effect this has on others. "But now we can recognize our emotions and this can help us be good leaders in our community," he told UCA News.

The workshop, through presentations and sharing, discussed how to be aware of one's feelings, and how to deal with outbursts of affection, hate, fear, anger and other emotions. Participants also saw the need to reflect and to forgive each other for emotional excesses that have hurt them.

et_dili_1.gif Leodeuxfile Dela Cruz, a workshop resource person from the Philippines, told the youths they should be aware that their emotions, actions, gestures, words or even silence can make other people feel unimportant, even humiliate and degrade them. "This has been so, and it has affected the youth in this country. As they did not control their emotions, they engaged in violence," he told UCA News on June 20.

Dela Cruz pointed out that Timorese youth in particular have been affected by violent situations, so healing people who have been hurt emotionally and spiritually is important to prevent further violence.

"Giving this training is a small contribution of inner freedom from bad memories," he said, pointing out that no one is immune to traumatic stress and emotional abuse. Healing these inner hurts opens a person to healthier relationships. It empowers the person to understand him or herself, which enables a person to care more for others, he added.

Street gangs are blamed for much of the violence that flared up in April 2006 and paralyzed the country for months. Gangs of youths armed with swords and stones roved the streets, burned houses and looted property. The violence claimed more than 20 lives and displaced more than 100,000 people, mostly in the Dili area.

The situation calmed before the general election in June 2007, but violence erupted again two months later, this time around Baucau, the other main town in East Timor. Up to 6,000 people fled into the jungle after gangs went on the rampage, burning at least 600 homes and setting up roadblocks. Church and government properties also were burned, and nine girls at a convent school were raped.

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