by Sr. Jacinta Mahakwe MMM Nigeria/ Brazil 13.02.2022
In one encounter during my pastoral work, a woman came up to me and struck a conversation. Accordingly, she is from Bahia, born in Itapuá and lives in Pituba. The places are nearby. She added that she cannot stand living away from home, family and friends and she visits home every weekend. Addressing me as little sister (irmázinha) she had a lot of questions and she want to understand how I could live far away Africa to Brazil for mission. She expressed worries for me, my family, my parents and siblings. As a mother, she wondered how they allowed me to travel so far to be a Missionary. Looking at her concerns, I reassured her that I am fine, and I am used to living far away from home. She promised to pray for me and to count on her support. Wow, the heart of a woman, a loving heart.
This encounter left me thinking about being and coping with Missionary life. I was born in a Missionary family per se. My parents were both civil servants. As such, their work took them to different States in Nigeria. They were often transferred from a particular location to another within a short period of four to five years’ intervals. For my family, it was new place, new adventure, new beginnings, new friends and new life. My Dad advised us never to resist or reject transfers. According to him, the world is so big and we do not stay in one place to watch the drama of life the way you view the African masquerade dance. You have to move around with excitement to enjoy life. Like my siblings, I enjoyed these relocations, meeting new people, learning their cultures, cuisines and dialect.
In analysing how social structures give shape to our lives, families come first because family is where we all have our beginnings from the moment of conception. The family is the garden of love offering a setting for nurturing love in the world. In other words, true love demands that we live for the sake of others in the spirit of solidarity. It’s about putting other’s needs above our own. These convictions nourish my Missionary zeal. I am delighted to share in the ministry of Christ who went about doing good, healing the sick and proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom. Being a Missionary allows me to serve God while serving others. I am enriched by the learning from people of other cultures, religions and ideologies in my Missionary encounters. As a Missionary, I am always ready to respond to the invitation of Jesus in Luke 8:22: “Let’s go to the other side”. I trust in the God of the journey, leading me on each day.