My name is Olajoke Ajikolu, and I am from Nigeria. I have five brothers and a sister, and life seemed to be pretty hard for us. I stopped going to school at the age of 16 as the family could not afford the school fees for me.
In 2007 my father talked to me about the possibility of going overseas as a lay missionary. When I began to attend, with 20 others, the orientation program in Suva I had no idea what being a missionary might be about.
My name is Nilton Iman, and I am a priest of the Diocese of Chimbote, a land blessed with the blood of the first martyrs of my country, Peru.
Shusaku Endo, a Japanese novelist, died in 1996–almost 20 years ago. In Japan he is still featured regularly in television programs, magazine articles and exhibitions. Every bookstore still has an Endo section.
My name is Teakare Betero, age 28, and I have been with the Columbans for five years now. At the moment I am studying at the Pacific Regional Seminary. This seminary is the only place for theological study for the priesthood in Oceania (South Pacific).
You might call me a slow learner. I am 84 years old, and about 40 years ago a colleague recommended a book called “The Forgotten Spirit.” The title seemed only mildly interesting to me. I admit that at the time the Holy Spirit did not occupy the place of honor in my spirituality.
It has been nine years since I started working as a personal counsellor in a Boy’s Secondary School in Dublin, Ireland, and also nine years since I started working in The Capuchin Day Center for Homeless People in Dublin. As regards to the school I can see a great improvement over the years.
Editor’s note: Emmanuel Trocino, a Columban seminarian from the Philippines, shares his experiences of life and faith in Peru, his first missionary assignment in another country, with Columban employee Stephen Awre.
My first experience of engaging in pastoral ministry in Japan was at a residential center, run by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, for adults who had various physical and intellectual disabilities.