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Mission ad gentes in Thailand

21/03/2011: Thailand

To be a missionary is to be endorsed to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ in another culture, to other peoples… But how to be an announcer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ faced with the reality surrounding me, while in most of Asia Christians are only from 0.5 to 5 %?

Galiléia, in his book  Le Chemin de la Spiritualité, p. 215-220, expresses it thus: First of all the missionary must be a contemplative, capable of transmitting not only ideas, speeches and  analyses, but above all a personal experience of  Jesus Christ and the values of his Kingdom. Among the masses of the marginalised, he is often a witness. He is like a candle which spends itself little by little in communicating the light of the Gospel. The further we penetrate into the peripheries of Christendom, into «foreign land », the more we have to remain united to the contemplative sources of the Church. Many generous missionaries have suffered shipwreck or lost their Christian identity  from forgetting this.

That has given me pause to reflect and ask the protection of God so that I do not forget « what is my mission » in these lands and remember that it is for God we become missionaries: it is for Him that I am here.

Someone has defined the missionary as « one who behaves as if he were invisible ». Such a one is capable of going ahead, despite difficulties, frustrations, disappointments, because he is invested with the power of one who knows that God is the cause of his Christian experience. Such is the source of his missionary experience. This is what I am doing here at the moment. I continue my study of English, because this language will be the basis of my work, and I am thinking already about what to organise and how, what type of project can be undertaken and/or reworked for the communities already on  mission in the six countries of Asia where we are at present.

 Mission is a call, a « vocation » by which God sends us « for others » (Gal. 1:15). The missionary call is a projection towards others, a dynamism for always going « beyond the frontiers ». This dynamism runs out if it is not constantly nourished by the contemplative experience of prayer. The missionary sending is not a juridical condition, but the dynamic result of an encounter with the living Christ. For only faith and  contemplation bring us face to face with the invisible God.

The challenges of the cities of Asia are great and call for a new missionary presence in response to the deep existential desires and the cries of the numerous poor, in all fields. That also demands of us new evangelical attitudes, whether in connection with the meaning of life, or with the possibility of perceiving a new sign of the future, or with a stronger commitment to life, evangelization and justice, or with what may be possible in seeing rights respected.

So there I am! In the certainty that God is with me… He is the light which guides my steps, the force which sustains me… He is the reason for my day… It is for Him that I accepted this mission, for Him that I try to transform the difficulties I confront in a new  horizon of light and life!

_______________
Neiva Hoffelder, Province of « Brasil Centro-Sul » - 11 March 2011

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