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. In this second part we publish their sharing on the words “vocation” and “love”.
Laura Ripamonti – Bangladesh
Each one of us is living a vocation. The vocation to be a doctor, a teacher, a cashier, a barman, an accountant, it is a natural inclination to adopt and follow a way or a style of life. From a Christian perspective, vocation is a gift and a loving, complete free invitation from God to change in a radical way one’s life and to give it totally to others.
I didn’t know exactly what vocation was before leaving, taking 5 flights and finding myself at the other end of the world with three girls which I merely knew, in a place which language was unknown to me, a culture completely different from mine, which required to me many changes in order to live good and in harmony with the others. All this was not difficult to me, it didn’t hinder my participation, at the contrary to adapt to the new culture, language and place helped me to change my way of looking at the world, at the relationship with the other and my way of living.
I saw, then, what vocation can be: feeling at home at the other end of the world, be willing to remain there and take to heart the problems, needs, desires of the people, be willing to give oneself for them all, going back home satisfied but sad at the bottom of your heart because of the desire and the awareness that one day you will go back there … And when I tell my experience of mission, I hear myself saying: “among us, in Bangladesh we do like this, … we use like this…”. If this is not vocation, then it is what?
During this month I felt very clearly this for me and my life… And now I feel like a missionary who is on holiday in her own country, where to stay for a while but then have to go back “home” and will remain there for ever!
Sara Giacobbo and Stella Giani – Manaus, Brazil
Here, not like at home, lay people are very much actives in the celebration of the Word of God and in the catechesis. Consecrated people are lacking here, so in this great need, they feel themselves called to this voluntary service, to put themselves at the disposition of the others.
In them there is this true vocation to the mission and to the liturgical animation which sometimes in our place, together with the animation of the Mass, we give for granted it is the priest’s. In many communities here the Mass is celebrated only twice a year, for the rest of the time are the lay parishioners to animate every Sunday’s liturgy.
Luca Marcandalli – Mexico
Before going to mission I thought love is a mix of dramatic or affectionate actions and small daily actions; after the mission I understood that it is difficult to give a definition of LOVE, but I can say I experienced it in Mexico.
Love for me has been: the children who early in the morning were coming to the parish to play, the people who were welcoming us with some food, Ximena who took me by hand, Irving who gave me a drawing, Paolina who pat me with a stroke, the eyes of Alma, the care and the attention of the fathers. This is what LOVE is for me, after the mission experience: open, boundless, deep, inexhaustible … difficult to describe but unforgettable once felt!
Valentina De Donato – Cambodia
This mission experience made me reflect on how extreme visible is the LOVE of God every day and how much important is to notice it.
I am aware that God is with me every day in my ordinary life but sometimes I can’t see it and when I don’t realize it I feel my heart not completely full and my life less colourful.
During this month, instead, God showed me all the love He has for me, in every possible way. I saw His love for me in every person who I met and in all their small gestures of gratuitous, not to be taken for granted love, and I loved everything.
The hospitality, the richness and strong faith of the fathers who welcomed us in the PIME house as well as in those who took care of us in the village. The support of the secretaries of the hostel in our every day need, their patience in translating to the children the games we were organizing. The adolescent willingness to stay with us despite their many commitments and school assignments , their tenderness and their taking care of us and treating us like their own sisters. Secretaries, adolescents, fathers most of all made us feel part of a big family and made us lack nothing, doing all they could to make us feel at home.
The generosity of all the persons who welcomed us in their homes and everywhere, who gave us something to drink, to eat, who gave us a seat even when there was not for themselves, showing us their respect for us and their happiness simply because we were there with them.
The madness of the sisters who were always telling us that they wanted us to stay in the centre with them. The enthusiasm in the eyes and in the smiles of the children of the two nurseries we visited when we reached and we stayed with them. The esteem and the trust which the teachers had for us and their precious help in concretizing our proposals and ideas. The perseverance of the children and the young people of the village who chose to come in the afternoon and to play with us with joy instead of staying at home doing other things. And last but not least, the complicity of my companions, bright girls with a big heart with whom I adored walking together and live this beautiful adventure.
After this month, therefore, I decide to live with my eyes more open in order to acknowledge the wonderful and disarming love which every day surrounds me, and to enlarge my heart to be able to receive it all.
Then, perhaps the picture more suitable to express this concept is the picture we took in the airport, before coming back to Italy, in tears, full of gratitude and so excited for the ineffable love we experienced in Cambodia, a country really colourful where we left a piece of our heart.
Sara Giacobbo and Stella Giani – Manaus, Brazil
“The one who does an action out of love and discover that he is happy doing it, understands why it is worth loving”. We met love in ways never experienced before, like the love of grandmothers taking care of small children. The love of a wife who takes charge of a community for the healing of drug addicts after her husband recovery; of a lady who voluntary helps in the missionary animation; men and women dedicating their lives to Jesus and to the mission so that whoever become closer may be good and feel loved.
All this stimulated us in comparing the persons of reference who we have in our place and helped us to question ourselves how could we be like those persons we met.