Every year many young people decide to get involved with the journey of Giovani e Missione, which is a two-year path that includes a short experience in the mission. More than a trip abroad, it is an itinerary to discover oneself and know what truly matters in life, an opportunity to be questioned by the beautiful and important questions that lead to the search for the meaning of life.
Some of the young people who left on mission this year wanted to share with us what changed their outlook towards acceptance, love, joy, poverty, sacrifice, vocation… and much more. During the missionary month, we will publish their reflections every week.
Cristina, Camilla and Anna – Bangladesh
If we think of the concept of hospitality that we had prior to the mission, what comes to our mind is our communities somewhat individualistic, where each one is in ones’ own house, living ones’ life and if an outsider comes to the community, not everyone notices. If we welcome someone into our house, our first concern is to make the guest find a welcoming home, hence giving importance to cleanliness, order and preparation of food, to what we show of ourselves to the guest’s judgment and to the “perfection” that we would like to have.
During the mission, we experienced a community welcome, colorful, flowery, warm and joyful. The entire community cooperates and donates flowers, prepares songs and dances to welcome the guest in the best possible way.
When you go to visit families, they always prepare something according to their abilities and are not worried about the appearance of their home, but only about making the guest feel good, giving the best they have. There is only them and you, without many frills, without the desire for perfection, but with joy and gratitude in the heart. All this makes you feel truly special, well liked among them and makes you deeply love every petal of a flower, every note of a piece of music and every sip of tea offered.
Sara Giacobbo and Stella Giani – Manaus
We immediately felt welcomed and found people everywhere who wanted to take care of us. We experienced a family warmth despite the distance from home and we were integrated into the daily life of a people with wonderful culture. We experienced for the first time living together with unknown people and in welcoming communities of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate where we were cared and loved like daughters.
Our communities in Italy are sometimes more closed towards those who are different, they struggle with novelty whereas here there is a desire to enrich more and more one’s circle with new people.
Alessandro – Bangladesh
I have always considered friendship a truly priceless value, a special bond to cherish and treasure. Being there for the other person, caring and thinking about sharing an intense and concrete bond is what makes friendship unique.
Through the Mission in Bangladesh, the value of friendship has only grown: there the kids called us “brother”; Even though they did not know us, they immediately opened their hearts and trusted us, going beyond friendship to fraternity.
The bonds with my mission companions have also been strengthened. Having shared such an intense emotional experience tied me definitively to Emanuele, Giovanni and Luca. What I feel for them now is immense gratitude and incredible affection; a type of affection that goes beyond friendship. For me now, the three of them are brothers, as we saw in the mission, in fact, to be brothers you do not need a blood bond.
Martino Brivio – Ciad
Friendship, what an important and simple word at the same time; a month of living together allowed me to understand its meaning more deeply.
It is not simple sympathy or respect, as I sometimes believed before starting the journey of youth and mission: it is much more. I discovered it first through the relationship with my mission companion and friend Tommaso.
I have experienced many different shades of friendship, such as reaching out, clashing, confronting each other, not being able to understand each other or share a choice. And then thanking the other for the insistence and making us change our minds, playing, laughing and feeling the pain, respecting the other’s times and, vice versa, rejoicing when the other respects our times, and for being able to alternate moments of joking with more intimate and serious moments. The list could go on for long …
However, there is a special moment in which I feel to recall everything that the mission gave me to experience in terms of friendship, a practice that we took together and that I continue to carry in my heart even now that I have returned to Italy: the Good night. Every evening when we went to bed, before falling asleep (dispelling the fatigue of the day as much as possible), we spent about ten minutes to share meetings, experiences and thoughts on the day. Then alternating every evening, in turn, one would say goodnight to the other, a summit of the day to carry in the heart, and the other responded with thanks, a sincere and heartfelt thank you, because where there is openness and sharing, there is friendship.
Johnny Araldi – Messico
This mission experience reminded me that friendship is free and as such, it is beautiful. You do not need any special requirements to be welcomed and loved by people you have never met, as I perhaps thought on the eve of departure. I felt this sensation, thanks to the children who were gifting me and to all of us so many gestures of affection, even though we had just met them and having done nothing to deserve them. Thanks to my mission companions, I also felt their solidarity in moments when the intestine was put to the hard test.
From this experience, my view on faith has also changed. First I would like it to be a faith in relationships, in persons; a hope that things, relationships can always change, improve, just as Jesus himself changed in the course of the Gospel, directing his mission no longer only to his people, to the Jews, but also to pagans, to all peoples of the world. Moreover, I can say that before the mission, I had never thought about a God who changes his vision.