My Mission Experience
by Jimmy Lindero
The author, from the parish of St Julian de Cuenca, Janiuay, Iloilo, a seminarian of the Mill Hill Missionaries (www.millhill-missionaries.net), is continuing his studies in Nairobi, Kenya.
The author (rightmost) with friends in Kenya
After two years of theological studies at the Missionary Institute, London, England, I was sent to Witu Parish, Malindi Diocese, Kenya, in August 2003 for a two-year mission experience. The aim of the program is to give missionary students a foretaste of real life in the mission. It gives an individual student an opportunity to properly discern his vocation before making a lifetime commitment to missionary life.
I enjoyed my time in Witu and learned not only many things about the art of missionary ministry but was also challenged about my real motivation for wanting to be a missionary priest. Witu is a rural area, about 250 kilometers away from the town of Malindi, where the new diocese is centered. Witu is covered by the resettlement scheme of the government which has brought many people from different parts of the country and from different tribes to live there.
Our main task in Witu is to cater to the needs of the few Catholics who have come to the area. We gather them and form small Christian communities. To date, there are 11 mission outstations and the number of Catholics is increasing notably. Since the area is predominantly Islamic, we also try to build up good relationships with Muslims by visiting their homes, talking to them and helping them bring social services to the area. This form of interaction is commonly called nowadays ‘dialogue of life’.
My happiest moment in the mission was when I learned the local language and was able to communicate with the people with ease. By learning their language, I was able to adapt to the people’s way of life and challenge what was contrary to Gospel values. Another rewarding moment was to see communities of believers growing and maturing in faith. Yet, there is still a lot of missionary work to be done. As Jesus said in the Gospel, ‘the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few’. So please include me and my fellow missionary students in your prayers that we may be given the grace to continue to spread His gospel of Love and Service.