Columban Lay Missionary, Korea, 2007-2012
It’s been five years since I arrived in Korea as a Columban Lay Missionary from the Philippines. Within my nine months of language study I have been immersed in ministry with a community of persons with AIDS. On my first day there I felt a mixture of excitement and fear: excitement because it was my first time meeting people living with HIV and I was curious to know how they were coping after learning that they were HIV-positive; fear because at the back of my mind I was thinking I might get the HIV virus through them since we ate at the same table, used the same toilet, talked to each other and so on. But through the years I have been with them, my thinking and feelings have changed, not only about them but also about life, about people, about me and about God. Being a missionary involved in AIDS ministry has helped me to grow not only as a person but also as a woman called by God to be a part of his mission. Throughout my journey, the prayer that has helped me and acquired a new personal meaning is the Lord’s Prayer.
I grew up in an environment where most people were Catholics. But in Korea most have a different religion from me and have no idea what a Lay Missionary is. There was a time when I chose not to say that I’m a Lay Missionary, not because I had a problem with the term but because I had a hard time trying to explain it. Not only did the Koreans have difficulties understanding the term ‘Lay Missionary’ but so did most of the Filipino migrants I met. The first thing that came to their mind was that either I was a religious or a migrant worker with a missionary visa.
thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil