Novice Joy Monica Abado reflects on her weekly ministry:
Two other novices and I minister at Odumasi Parish every Friday. We go mainly to the tiniest villages about twenty five kilometers from the parish. We engage in different activities such as teaching catechism, recollection services, playing with the children and visiting the Christians in their homes. It is always a time to be with God’s people and sharing and receiving the love of God together.
I always find the times for culture exchange a time of transformation and a sign of unity in diversity with the people. They do appreciate the similarity of all African cultures and realize that the differences are very minimal. This is usually followed by the emphasis on all humankind being in union with God. “We are all children of God and belong to one family.” This fosters the people’s trust in us and their openness to share. We also share about our well being. During such moments I am always touched by the openness and readiness of these people to share both their blessings and their struggle.
They especially trust our prayers for the sick members of their families. We lay our hands on them and pray for God’s healing upon them. Through the prayers, they strongly believe that their intentions and struggles are cared for by God. This is a sign of a deep rooted faith in God. As we depart from their homes, they remain happy people trusting in God’s providence.
In visitations we also identify with the neediest people such as the old, the physically challenged, and those who cannot practice farming to provide for their needs. Here in the village the main source of income is farming. They practice communal farming, sell some of the produce and use other farm products for family consumption. Therefore those who are not able to practice farming due to their physical status, feel hopeless and incapable of providing for their needs. Some also feel lonely and rejected as most of the time they are left home alone. Our presence is always a real blessing in their lives.
I also feel blessed in the gentle conversation with the old who are sources of treasure in the African societies. We pray with them and encourage them in their situations..
Despite the blessings, there have been times of challenge which have called me to transformation. I take the risk to go into unknown homes and am open to meet strangers. Sometimes we are rejected. Once they see us they turn away or just tell us that they are busy. Inability to communicate directly with the people has called me to be patient in my sharing with the people and to trust that whatever I share is translated correctly. In my ongoing discernment, ministry experience has been very significant. I have grown to be more open and flexible to the direction of the Spirit as I pursue God’s mission.