Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Loving the Fijian Hospitality

By Lily Faunillan

My name is Lily Faunillan, from Cebu, Philippines. I came to Fiji in 2017 as a Columban Lay Missionary and that meant traveling several thousands of miles from the Philippines, and leaving behind my family, comfort zone and friends. I am currently assigned at St. John the Apostle – Natovi Parish.

Being a lay missionary is not easy because from day to day of my mission journey, I am tested in many different ways such as spiritually,  how faithful I am in saying yes to this mission especially at times of difficulties;  In the midst of crisis and criticisms, how strong I am in handling my anger and stress. I’m not a robot. Sometimes when I am physically strained, sick and tired, my commitment, consistency, perseverance and determination in fulfilling my day to day missionary responsibilities in Natovi parish specifically in St. Vincent de Paul Primary School, house / village visitation, women, youth and attending the Small Christian Communities are revealed.

I also celebrate joy in my missionary life by sharing my joy with the people, through them, unto them and in them.
Upon completion next year of my three year agreement as a Columban Lay Missionary, I will go back home to the Philippines. I’m very thankful to the Missionary Society of Saint Columban for accepting me as a lay missionary. This is the greatest gift that I have ever received in my whole life because of my mission experiences here in Fiji. Coming to Fiji for my missionary work is something I will cherish forever. It has allowed me to interact and engage with the parishioners in their villages and local community, learn a new culture, and share my experiences with them. So far I’ve found the Fijians very warm and family oriented and this reminds me a lot of home. I like too the Fiji weather and I have developed a liking for local food, including spicy curries, chopsuey toa, ika vakalolo, lovo and kokoda.

With my fellow lay missionaries in Fiji
Most of all, I Iove the hospitality of the Fijian people. This is something I will dearly miss when I return home.  I am often invited into people’s homes to eat and tell stories. I never really felt home-sick because of this.

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