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Missionary Zeal and Down-to-Earth Reality

Fr. Frank Hoare drinking yaqona with an Indo-Fijian friend.

By Fr. Frank Hoare

Columban Fr. Frank Hoare shares an excerpt from his diary:

January 18 2009

I am back in Naleba – the rural settlement on the second Island of Fiji where I began, in 1975, my missionary journey. After seven years away I feel the need to refresh my Hindi language here.

Pages from a Missionary's Diary

Last evening I visited Salen and his wife Natasha. Salen, despite never attending church services, gave me a great welcome and we drank yaqona1 and chatted until late in the night. This morning as I breakfasted with them on fresh roti and curry I wondered how I could approach with him the big question of the meaning of life.

After breakfast he insisted on mixing more yaqona. As we sat amicably together I said to him, "Salen, do you ever think about death?" "Yes," he said emphatically, "I think about it all the time." The heart rose up in me - I'm onto something here. "So, what do you think about," I asked eagerly. "I think constantly about who is going to grab, when I go, all the things I have worked for and accumulated!" he answered. My heart settled down again.

1. Yaqona is a non-alcoholic drink made from the pounded dried roots of a species of pepper plant.

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