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    Delighted to Work and Live in our Lubumbashi Community

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    Eric Michael Imbao

    Albertus Padang, cicm
    Intern in DR Congo

    Gaudencio Amaral, cicm
    Intern in DR Congo


    An experience of learning Swahili

    Being a missionary can be a challenging task, particularly when it comes to language barriers. As a native Indonesian speaker, my first language is Bahasa Indonesia. However, since I joined CICM, I have had to learn how to speak other languages like English and Swahili. Though it has been a challenging experience, learning these languages is necessary to communicate effectively with the people I serve.

    Since joining CICM, I have learned to adapt to living in different countries to continue my missionary work. Initially, I had to learn two languages, English and French, as I come from Asia. I learned English before attending the novitiate and studied theology in the Philippines. After English, I was assigned to work as a missionary in the AFA Province, which led me to Cameroon, where I had to learn French. This language is essential as it is widely spoken in my mission province.

    Missionary work is my response to God's call to serve His people. As a missionary, I must immerse myself in the life of the people I serve. This required me to learn their language, as language plays a vital role in bridging the gap between us and the people. I learned this quickly after my experiences in the Philippines, Cameroon, and Congo. I had to learn their language to integrate and connect with the people's culture, which was a great challenge. However, learning the language of the people we are sent to is an essential part of missionary work, so there is no excuse to avoid it. Therefore, I prepared myself accordingly to face the challenge of learning the language of my new mission in Lubumbashi. When we arrived, the people welcomed us warmly and encouraged us to start our apostolate.

    I want to share my recent mission land in Lubumbashi, the second-largest city in Congo after the capital, Kinshasa. People in Lubumbashi speak two languages, namely French and Swahili, with Swahili being the most widely spoken language. I had just finished learning French in Cameroon before going to Congo, so I needed to learn Swahili to communicate with the locals. This is a tough challenge for me as it is not easy to master two languages simultaneously.

    I have organized my Swahili lessons with two teachers for my companion, Gaudencio Amaral. Initially, I had a lesson from 1:30 to 3:30 pm with my teacher, and Gaudencio had his lesson from 3:30 to 5:00 pm with his teacher. However, learning was difficult as our teachers were busy and needed more time to teach us. After a month, we decided to change teachers, and Father Jean-Paul Kasengu found a new teacher for both of us. We had separate lessons at different times - Gaudencio in the morning and I in the afternoon. Gradually, we started picking up the language and having small conversations with people. However, we don't think one month is enough to master a language.

    We still have two more months left for learning and the immersion program with host families, which lasts for three months, to improve our language skills. To strengthen my Swahili personally, I read during morning masses in our community and the parish. I also joined a parish choir to learn the words of the songs. However, singing in Swahili is challenging because it is a tone language. Nonetheless, I draw two important values from this experience that remain engraved in my heart. I seek the presence of God during difficult times, and secondly, I seek the strength to continue my vocational journey to serve the people to whom God has sent me through prayer.

    As the letter to Hebrews 13:5 states, "I will neither leave you nor forsake you." So, when I am having a good time alone or with others, I thank God, who is always by my side. I feel so blessed that everything I am, have, and do are fruits of divine providence.

    The second important thing to me is having the support of God's people. The teachers here are incredibly kind. They help me improve my Swahili so that I can converse with people in practice. My colleagues are also very supportive and guide me through my training. I feel very grateful for all of this. I pray to God to grant me more of His grace and to put people of goodwill in my path who can help me advance in my missionary and religious life for the greater glory of God and the salvation of humankind. - Albertus Padang

    in the frontline 28 05 24 fA


    An experience of Living in Community

    My name is Gaudencio Amaral. I am an Indonesian national and currently working as an intern with the CICM Province of AFA. Over the past few months, I have been learning the Swahili language and also involved in a pastoral experience in Lubumbashi, under the guidance of Father Jean-Paul Kasengu, the Parish Priest of Notre Dame de Guadalupe Parish. I am writing this article to share my experiences and information about community life with you.

    As mentioned earlier, I am currently doing my internship at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a part of the Archdiocese of Lubumbashi. Our arrival has made our community more diverse and international. Our parish priest and mentor, Father Jean-Paul, is a Congolese, while my longtime companion, Albertus, and I are from Indonesia. Despite our different backgrounds and cultures, we live and work together like brothers, striving to fulfill our mission. After having lived in this community for almost seven months, our life's dynamic here is lively and enriching.

    As religious missionaries, prayer is an essential part of our daily routine. For us, prayer is crucial to fulfilling our mission of serving the Lord, as without Him, we are nothing. Therefore, we have community prayer and Mass every day. We attend morning mass with Christians on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, while on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, we have mass in our community. In the evening, we pray vespers together as a community in a spirit of fraternity. This spiritual exercise not only helps me grow in my faith but also brings me closer to God. It provides me with the steadfast support and strength I need to carry out my mission.

    I cannot ignore God because he inspires my prayers and missionary work through the Holy Spirit. Fraternity is our congregation's second most important aspect after the priestly life. As our motto says, “one heart and one soul,” we share our experiences daily with a bottle of beer at 12:00 and 21:00. Father Jean-Paul is a model of a CICM missionary. Despite being busy with pastoral work, he always finds time to be with us for meals and community prayer. He is always available to listen to our difficulties, gives us advice when necessary, and encourages us as we follow Christ. Living in an international and multicultural community takes work. Still, with a bit of openness and self-denial, I have learned to adapt, integrate, and appreciate the cultural habits of the environment in which I now live. That is why I am proud to say that I am delighted to work and live in our Lubumbashi community. - Gaudencio Amaral

    in the frontline 28 05 24 fB