Dear friends, peace and good!
We wish to share with you a little of what we, Regimar and Valmir, Comboni Lay Missionaries, are living during this time of preparation for the mission. As you all know, we should already be in the mission of Mozambique, in Africa, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the governments have closed the borders and we have not yet been able to leave for the mission. We are still in the house of formation and mission of the Comboni Lay Missionaries in Contagem/MG.
Before the coronavirus crisis, besides the formation we received here in the formation house of Ipê Amarelo in Contagem, we also went to Brasilia to do a course for missionaries going to other countries, mission beyond our borders. After that we went to São Paulo where we did another course. These two courses offered us the dimension of what it means to be a missionary in another country.
The Ad Gentes course at the Missionary Cultural Center in Brasilia took 26 days and helped us to interiorize, to look inside ourselves. It also helped us to get to know a little of the place where we were assigned as missionaries. We say with certainty that the course makes us think and rethink if that is what we want, if we want to continue on the path of mission in another country or stay where we are, because the formators of the course make it very clear the difficulties we will undoubtedly face and other difficulties that may arise.
In the second course in São Paulo on spirituality in the cities, which lasted eight days, we were transported to a world beyond our own already known world where we were taken to meet people with a very different faith and way of being: from other religions, sects, atheists, of different sexual orientation, people who never go to church, but who dedicate themselves to love their neighbour to the point of giving themselves to the other, of spending nights on the streets to defend the most needy and persecuted (homeless people).
It was a meeting in which more than just listening to something, we had contact with many concrete realities, in which we made friends that we will carry in our hearts wherever we go. These courses were very important for us, of immense richness. After the courses we went to Paraná and Santa Catarina. There we took part in the community councils, in the meetings with the lay Salvatorians, in the meetings with the GEC (Comboni Spirituality Group) of Curitiba, with the Comboni Fathers and we participated in the celebrations and Masses, always doing missionary animation and speaking of the Comboni charism.
On our return to the community of Ipê Amarelo, Contagem/MG, we continued our formation, always helping out in the community and in the work groups. Valmir, also known as Tito, started the training course for agents of APAC (Association for the Protection and Assistance of Convicts) and I formed a children’s choir in the community. Now everything has stopped because of the pandemic and the quarantine.
For the time being, with the pastoral work stopped, we have created a new routine. Here we are five adults and four children of the Comboni Lay Missionaries couple from Guatemala who came to Brazil as a missionary family and live here in the Comboni Lay Missionaries’ house of formation and mission. We have morning prayer, as always, and then continue formation. In the afternoon there is free time for rest, then reading and a little physical exercise. We leave Thursdays free for recreation; it is the day we play most with the children, they love it. That’s a bit of what we do here in the house.
There are also times to help people, either by talking on the phone or on WhatsApp, or by donating some food or other ways that are possible, because people come to us and we can’t stop taking care of them, taking the necessary care. And so we are living these days of quarantine, asking God that this crisis will soon pass and we can return to normalcy and finally go on mission.
We would like, in addition to sharing, to thank you for your affection and your prayers. Be assured that this will strengthen us greatly and encourage us to continue. Thank you very much also for the financial help sent by the GEC of São Luís and Timón. It is very valuable for us to count on your contribution. Thank you very much, may Jesus the Missionary and St. Daniel Comboni continue to bless you all.
Finally, we wish to say that we are united in prayer and love. Let us pray to God that this crisis of the coronavirus may soon pass and we may continue our lives in another normality. Let us pray for the families who have lost their loved ones, for all the sick and for each one of us.
Hugs to all and light in our hearts.
Regimar and Tito (Valmir), Comboni Lay Missionaries