Reflection September/October 2023 Far East: All Are Welcome

Sep 6, 2023

These days, I live a life of deep happiness in Pakistan, appreciative of many small things. Before I arrived, I was worried about the weather, living in a different culture with different food, and a new community life.

But then I realised I was focusing only on my fears. After recognising this, I decided to focus on how to overcome these fears. I felt a change in my way of thinking and an invitation to relax and be myself.

In the past, when fears appeared, I tried to face them and believe that I had the power to overcome them. As I reflected on those past experiences, I learned to trust that God would give me the strength I need and to trust in God’s providence which sent me here on mission.

A few months on since I first arrived in Pakistan, I now feel less nervous in what is a totally different atmosphere and environment. I go with the flow because I know the Lord will give me the energy when the time comes.

A visit to a neighbourhood where one of our Sisters ministers reminded me of my mission experience in Pasay cemetery in the Philippines: it was dirty, crowded, and there was garbage everywhere creating a terrible smell! It was a really grimy place.

The people were very poor and had little education but they were honest, warm and hospitable. I felt very happy and comfortable with them and with their children. I decided to learn Urdu as quickly as possible as I wanted to be able to interact with the people and convey Jesus’ love both in action and in words.

Columban missionary Sr Julietta Choi learning Urdu in Pakistan.

This challenging setting reminds me again and again that we all need fewer material possessions. Everything here is simple, there is nothing fancy, people have little, but I can see their hope and passion. There is a warm hospitality among the poor and I like the simplicity in their smile.

The day we visited, some asked us to pray for them. While we were praying, I could see how earnest they were – the piety in their faces. I realised that it is up to all of us to live the life of Jesus, who visited and spent time with the poor, the marginalised and the suffering. For Jesus, all are welcome; no one is left out.

Sr Julietta Choi

First published in the September/October 2023 issue of the Far East magazine. Please subscribe here and support Columban Missionaries. Just €10 for a year’s digital subscription and €20 for the print edition.

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