We arrived at the Lay Mission House in Manila on December 28, 2015. This was not my first time in the country. I was a novice with the Little Company of Mary in Quezon City few years prior. This was not also my first time in the Lay Mission House because I used to visit Naanise Mounga, a fellow Tongan. But it was my first time in the Philippines as a Columban Lay Missionary. I felt overwhelmed and thanked the Almighty God for giving me this privilege to be in the Philippines as a Columban Lay Missionary. I felt it was a blessing to be able to respond to God's call.
After just a few of days to relax and get familiar with our new surroundings, we flew to Davao for our six months of Cebuano language studies. I really enjoyed the first day in the language school meeting new people of different nationalities which inspired me to do my best. I really admired them when I heard them try to speak Cebuano. I thought to myself, they are foreigners like me but they are able to speak Cebuano; I wonder if I can do the same. The days turned into weeks and I found myself really struggling to learn the new language.
I did not give up that easily. Instead I continued to try my best to learn Cebuano and after two weeks, with the the help of my language teachers, of course, I was able to speak a few Cebuano words and phrases which really made my days. Slowly, I learned a lot more about the grammar, pronunciation, etc. This really helped me not only to understand the language but also to know how to communicate with the locals.
Learning the local language is really important. From my experience, I realized the local language is one of the important ways to reach out and engage with the local people.
I would like to thank my companions for their support, my teachers for their help, and my fellow Columban Lay Missionaries for their prayers. May the Lord repay you for what you have done.
Published: May 25, 2018