In the parish of Hong Kong, there were two youth overseas volunteer service groups this year.
One of the groups went to Tanzania where our religious family is serving. Four youths were participating in this volunteer group.
There are four priests working in Tanzania, two serving in the Parish and two in the Formation House. There are four sisters; they carry out pastoral work in the parishes, and service in clinics, schools, etc. Their missionary zeal and joy were a big testimony and model for us.
We started the trip on July 3, and had three weeks of service. The youth were very happy and benefited a lot. The volunteer group have carried out different services; the main job of the boys was to build a sanctuary. The faithful there don’t have their own church. So, they only carried out masses and prayers under a big tree. The boys ‘work was to make bricks with a very simple machine with cement and to build the Church. Some of the local residents helped them also. The pastor priest told me that there are still several other sanctuaries waiting to be built. In addition, the work done by the girls was to help in the clinic and in the school, served by our sisters, so they help to paint the clinic, and to play with the children.
For the young people, this volunteer adventure was a very new and profound experience, because people living in Hong Kong, have never suffered any lack in their material life. This service allowed them to encounter the simple life of local residents, their kindness and enthusiasm. Our youths learned from the people what is contentment, what is gratitude, how to get happiness from simple life. On the other hand, the enthusiasm of the religious living there was also very strong.
The people there have a special greeting among them. When they meet a friend, one will say, “May Jesus Christ be praised,” and the others will answer “Forever, Amen.” These simple things show us that the lives of local residents blend their faith.
Beside this, their music and dances are also very unique. Through them they express their respect for God in their own culture.
The most beautiful coincidence is that our volunteer team arrived in time for their “Holy Mission”. During that week, missionaries visited the faithful to invite them to go to Church and receive sacraments, and to participate in others activities such as the procession of Our Lady, the morning Mass, performances, and so on. The youths who have only been single-minded for volunteer service suddenly became missionaries, helping in the mission week. This was also a wonderful arrangement by God.
The three-week service time passed by, and our youths were very reluctant to go back when they left Tanzania, and already started to look forward to the volunteer work held next year.
In union of prayers,
M. Maria Wule Zhi Yuen, SSVM
Missionary in Hong Kong