“When a dream is alive in your heart, you just keep it there until the time is ripe. My dream of working in Africa had been in my heart for over ten years. When it leapt from my heart to my mind, I knew action must follow”.
It’s more than a year since I arrived in Zimbabwe, I can’t believe it! Time has passed very quickly and looking back on it, it seems like a dream. I wish to share with you my short missionary journey.
After receiving the assignment from my Congregation to serve in Zimbabwe, I shared my intention to serve in Africa with my parents, brothers and sister. Their first reaction was “Africa! Have you lost your senses? Are you going to die of starvation and sickness? Many other priests are going to Europe but you are going there?” Somehow I convinced them, with the help of my other priest brothers that Africa was my call and that God would take care of me. Before I stepped into this land, I learnt something about this Country, its cultures, etc.
On the 11th of November 2015 I set foot in this beautiful mission land called Zimbabwe, I was warmly welcomed by my priest brothers who were already serving here. I was stationed at our formation house which is in the capital of Zimbabwe, where it was easy for me to learn the local language known as Shona. Even though this Continent was completely new to me, I felt a sense of being “at home” within myself. I have gradually cultivated a sense of belonging here, and I feel it’s my own country and people. My first week here was a bit hard to adjust to the system, for example the time difference, different food etc., But things were normal within a week.
Since then a year has passed, I feel much joy and satisfaction being a missionary in this land. Little by little I have learnt how to converse in and read and understand the local language, but still I have to build up my language skill. During this year of my presence here I was exposed to various places and realities with rich experiences. First four months I was at formation house just for basic knowledge in the local language, and after that I stayed with a family about two months, it was a very rich experience being with them. I was blessed to get such a nice family. Here my main focus was to learn about the Zimbabwean culture, their way of living and to improve in language. Finishing the family experience I stayed in our Parish called St. Charles Lwanga, Ruwa. While staying there I helped the parish in whatever way I could, especially celebrating daily Masses, visiting the sick etc. After staying few a months at the Parish I asked the superior if I may to have some more experience, so I decided to stay with the Zimbabwean diocesan priest. I went to a mission called St. Michael, Mhondoro. I feel it is my luck, wherever I go I meet good people. The priest in-charge (Fr. Kizito Nhundu) was a very nice and friendly man. He looked after me very well and gave me lots of opportunity to have good experience. This mission had Primary and high school, hospital and orphanage. I had a wonderful experience there especially with the school children. In my stay there I attended to all their spiritual needs. At the same time I visited the sick and anointed them and celebrated Masses for them.
I had a busy schedule there, I went to a few sub-stations to visit the sick and satisfy their spiritual thirst. I visited the sick people with the help of the SCC leader. It was a very nice experience, walking with them hours and hours to visit the sick. Also I celebrated Masses in Small Christian Communities and Sunday Masses (usually three masses). The other greatest moment at that mission place was spending my time with the orphans, I don’t have words to express the experience which I had with them. In that orphanage there were around 22 kids out of 22 kids 11 of them are affected by HIV+. I was feeling very sad for them, they get daily medication. I really love them very much; such nice innocent kids. I am in contact with them. After my Christmas celebration I visited them and had a get-together with my loving kids.
After a month’s experience at that mission I came back to my place due to the Provincial visit. Now I have got my appointment to a new place called Zhomba mission under Gokwe diocese. I will go to my new place on 27th of December. This is a very remote area, there we lacked a lot of facilities, such as water, electricity etc. For water we fully depended on rain. We have a few big tanks where we collect water for the whole year. I hope I will be happy and nourish the spiritual needs of those people.
The Church of Zimbabwe is a young Church. So it is a missionary Church, I know God is asking me to work with these simple and poor people. I am also aware that our loving God is together with them in this new mission. My missionary journey is just beginning.
I conclude with a quote I read somewhere, “I have but one passion-it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning of souls for Christ”.