One of my many blessings and opportunities as a missionary is to share the Joy of the Gospel. As a missionary Sister in Chile and Pakistan, I found the countries to be quite different in terms of culture, religious beliefs, language, weather and even food. In my third mission assignment in the United States as part of the Development Office, I gained a wider perspective in the context of the U.S. reality in its diversity.
"Abba, call me that," my host father responded when I asked him how I should call him. Abba is the Hindi (Indian) word for father. Sam Daniel would be my third host-father in Fiji. He is Anglican and lives with his wife near their church. They have a son, Roneel, who is now an Anglican priest himself. Abba works as the school manager of the Anglican church-run schools in Labasa. He would wake up early in the morning to feed the chickens.
I met the Columban Fathers for the first time in my hometown, Seoul, during the summer of 1953. Korea was at war then. Amid destruction and the chaos of war, I was trying to leave home for a college in America. As the oldest of five children of a widow, apart from the promise of a full scholarship, the friendship of a U.S. Air Force chaplain, and the rash enthusiasm of youth, I had little else going for me.
Pope Francis continually reminds us that the Church is missionary and is called to reach out to the poor, to sinners, to unbelievers and to those who live on the margins of modern society. In 2016 Pope Francis called the Church to celebrate a Year of Mercy and to discover once again the importance of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
The Ai Jia Development Center was founded by the Hsinchu Catholic diocese in Taiwan to help and support mentally challenged adult students. Like in many other countries, mentally challenged people in Taiwan are not considered as important. Consequently, there are not enough social benefits to cover their daily needs. I have been working as a volunteer at the Center for more than six months, and I have had a very fruitful experience.
Audy was a bright-eyed, smiling three-month-old baby who arrived at church for her baptism in the arms of her proud father, Jason. I chatted with him for some moments at the entrance to the church while a large number of relatives and friends of the family arrived. Soon the church was rather full. It was Sunday afternoon and this was going to be my first baptism of a Filipino baby.