Thursday, October 4, 2018

Called to be Missionaries

by Ms. Nene Yap

As a mother of eight, I am proud to say that three of them joined the Columban Lay Missionaries.  And there is no other joy than seeing my children willing to offer their life as missionaries serving our God through others.  Hence, I am most thankful for the opportunities to touch other lives. I thank the Columban Missionaries for providing my children a venue to express their love of God through service to our brothers and sisters who are in need of spiritual care.  I thank the Columban family for having a program where one can offer his/her life as a missionary for the service of our God and the Church.  You are an instrument of God's love not just to our family but to the world.


Being a missionary is not so new to my children, for us their parents, have also been missionaries in our own unique way.  We have mostly lived our life as a couple working and helping closely with the Jesuit missionary fathers in building and establishing our then Prelature of Ipil, which was recently erected as a Diocese.  As a couple, we have been missionaries locally and internationally helping form Basic Ecclessial Communities (BECs)  or Gagmayng Kristohanng Katiligban (GKK) in our context and strengthening the Family Life Apostolate.  So with all of our participation and involvement in these missionary activities, our time as parents to be physically present for our children had to be sacrificed.  There were many times that we had to leave our children with our adult relatives or friends.  And it is an absence not just for days but weeks due to time and distance that we have to take in order for us to be able to fulfill our missionary endeavors and commitment. It is an unfortunate fact that some of my children have grown in this unlikely kind of family environment.  But it is with no regret that as a couple we have accepted the situation relying only in God's grace.

Yap Family
It is only with God's grace also that we have given all our children the proper education they need for them to fulfill their own dreams and aspirations.  Some of them even went to some big universities and institutions which was unimaginable then for our meager salary (honorarium) combined as a couple that we were receiving from the Prelature.  With our love of God and continuous service for the Church, I can proudly say I have seen and felt God's generosity through the many people we have worked with.  Indeed, 'seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all things will come to you' has been our real experience as a couple with our family.  In serving the Lord with our whole heart, He didn't let us down for He provided the things that our children needed for their growing up.  I believe that it is because of our family's unique setting that a calling to be missionaries for some of my children came with not much of surprise to us.   As a couple, I believe we have made ourselves clear to our children that they can choose to be whatever they want to be and we will give them the support they need in the best way we can.  And is with great joy that the call of my children to be missionaries was not from an outside force but from their own willing and personal spiritual discernment.

With my husband Lito during our younger years
As a parent of three missionaries, I have nothing but joy in my heart that our hard  work and sacrifice, as a missionary couple, have more than paid off.  As I recall the loving memories of my husband Lito who has gone ahead to our Creator on June 6, 2006, I know that he is smiling with me knowing some of our children had somewhat followed our footsteps to be missionaries with our model and guide who is Jesus.  I know that the life of a missionary is never easy. It is a  path of sacrifice, pain and danger but at the same time a path for great self-discovery, adventure and spiritual fulfillment. It is a path that I would not want to bargain with anything else in this world, for it was a path for my knowledge of the great love of God for me and my family. Yes, it will be a path that I will always recommend but not force on anyone else because I know that each of us here on earth has different calling in serving our God.

To end, I express and offer my endless gratitude and prayer to the Columban Family who embraced my three children as their own and shared their missionary spirit.  I hope for more of God's blessings  for the Columban Family that you will continue to touch many lives by providing opportunities to touch other lives.  I thank you for providing my children a venue to express their love of God through service for our brothers and sisters who are in need of spiritual care. You are an instrument of God's love not just to our family but to the world.

With my daughters visiting the grave of my husband.
From right counter clockwise: Joni, Jenny, Joan and Jasmine
With Jasmine, USA
Ms Nene Yap, fondly called by many as Mommy Yap, has three children who joined the CLM over the years.  Jenny joined the orientation in 1999 and was assigned to Fiji from 2000  to 2003.  She is now married and has her own family.  Jasmine joined CLM in 2004 and was assigned to Taiwan from 2005 until 2007.  She is now married and lives with her husband in the United States. Joan joined the CLM orientation in 2010. She is now on her 7th year as a Columban Lay Missionary in Taiwan.  Mommy Yap's youngest son Marcelo is preparing for his Diaconate Ordination set for November 2018.

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