Jesus called the twelve disciples and gave them instructions (Luke 9:1, 3-5). Then he sent them out to preach the Kingdom of God, (Luke 9: 2 and 6). The Apostles came back and told Jesus everything they had done. Jesus then took them with him, and they went off to a town named Bethsaida to give an account and pray together, (Luke 9:10).
From 19th to 21st January 2018, eight students on Missionary Experience in Cameroon, (three from DR Congo, two from Philippines, one from Uganda, one from Kenya and one from India), together with our MEP coordinator, Fr. Elvis Shudzeka, who is acting in Persona Christi, went off to a lonely place in Mbengwi Monastery to give an account of our Missionary Experiences, since six of us are due to complete our Missionary Experiences in Cameroon, by April 2018.
Our time in the monastery was a time of prayer and reflection. We prayed and reflected on the following:
· how we made efforts to know the people whom we are sent to and learn from them,
- · how we have grown in our faith,
- · how we have adapted to the new cultures,
- · our sources of hope, courage, etc.
- · what we are carrying along from our missionary experiences
- · what we have learnt
- · areas that we still feel we need to grow
- · our evaluation of MEP in Cameroon and our recommendations
Listening to the sharing of every student we realised that our missionary experiences have been moments of learning and contributing to the Mission of the Church. All of us shared how we have experienced joy, love, fulfilment and fun. However, there were also moments of confusion, disappointment and anger. The common factor that was so evident in our sharing was the reality that during these difficult moments we all found our consolation in the people of God.
It did not take us long to realise that at the heart of our mission experience is MISSION itself. If our MEP was all about comfort, good food, enough drink, an easy life, we would have all long since packed our bags and gone home. Our practical realisation is that mission is not about comfort but rather about moving out of our comfort zone and reaching out to those at the periphery of society, those in greatest need, then excluded, the voiceless and the abandoned in service. So, what we eat, where we sleep, the means of transportation, the language barriers, the difficulties of climate did not stop us from reaching out to the people growing in their cultures, wisdom, customs, values, symbols and languages.
Of course we treasure the Mill Hill Missionaries in Cameroon particularly those accompanying us on whose shoulders we stand and Christ whom we felt has journeyed with us through it all.
From our sharing it was clear that we all enjoyed our mission in Cameroon. Surely, Cameroon is a country suitable for MEP. We hope that despite the few challenges (current unrest) our Society will continue to send more students to Cameroon. This is because Cameroon offers inexhaustible opportunities for students to learn and develop their gifts and talents. It also prepares them to become full members of our Society under the loving and serving heart of Jesus.
Henceforth for MEP to be really fruitful we need time away with Christ. We need time to account and reflect on all that He has done and continues to do through us. Such will mould us to be other Christs in our mission.
Lonkoy Patrick Bolengu mhm, MEP student