“What is it that keeps you going?” is a question that I frequently ask other Columban missionaries who live and minister in very difficult circumstances.
I left Taiwan three years ago and returned for a two-month refresher course in Chinese Mandarin in March 2015. It was great to be back in a place where I am familiar, a place where I feel secure. It is fair to say that Taiwan is my place of comfort, my second home.
For many years, the Columbans have been sponsoring the Education Commission of Myitkyina and Banmaw Dioceses, in Kachin State, Myammar, in their provision of boarding hostels and schools in the remote areas, where war and poverty are widespread.
When I was a very young priest just out of language school in Tokyo, my Japanese vocabulary was somewhat limited! To give me confidence and help me get the message across I used many visual aids in my classes with those preparing for Baptism.
Tears flowed down the cheeks of Yudi’s face as he listened to the voice of his mother speaking through my cellular phone while he laid on his ICU (Intensive Care Unit) bed fighting for his life.
On September 6, 2015, I celebrated Mass for the last time in prison. For the past 22 years I have been working as a prison chaplain in Western Australian jails.
The Thar Parkar Desert is situated in the southeast of Pakistan in Sindh province. It covers an area of 22,000 square kilometers with an estimated population of 1.5 million people and is one of the most densely populated deserts of the world.
I got off the minibus at the last stop on the hillside in Huaycan, on the outskirts of Lima, Peru. The road ended here so I walked on the unpaved sandy track up the hill, past the shacks that seemed to sprout on the bare slopes. Sand, dust, dirt. Not a blade of grass. Not a flower.
Fr. Thomas Nan was ordained in 2002 and spent eight years in Peru as a Columban missionary. “When I was young I never knew the Columbans. I was an altar server in my parish and always thought I would become a diocesan priest.
It’s hard to remind yourself to have faith every day. Especially when it comes to having patience or to being confident in God’s plan when it is unknown to you. I have found myself saying, “God has a plan,” a number of times over the last few years.