December 2007 Archives
The 2nd JLMM lay missionary meeting was held in Pattaya, Thailand from 5th to 8th November, 2007. The first meeting was held in Koh Samui, Thailand six years ago. The purposes of the recent meeting were to encourage each other, share the experiences of each missionary with others, apply them to the future and hand down the experiences to the missionaries of next generation.
The theme of the meeting is "What is God calling you to?"
Total of thirteen people - seven active Lay missionaries from Thailand, Cambodia and East Timor, advisor priest, president of steering committee and staff of JLMM from Japan and OB from Cambodia - attended the meeting.
During the first half of the meeting the participants discussed about the projects run by them and management of JLMM. After that they deepened their experiences through sharing and meditation. They went back to their mission areas after the mass on 8th November.
In the closing mass, Father Desrisgers Raymond from MEQ (Advisor priest of JLMM) said, "Making hundred percent of effort and leaving hundred percent to God make hundred percent." He emphasized the importance of both one's own efforts and entrusting the outcome to God.
In the debrief meeting, each missionary reported about his/her project in details. Mr. Taro Sugimura (Suita Church, Osaka Diocese) and Miss Miyuki Asano (Kikuna Church, Yokohama Diocese) debriefed about the projects in Cambodia. Mr. Sugimura has been working on the project of refuse dump in the suburbs of Phnom Penh since 1998 and newly opened the class for younger children in the "Children House" there. Miss Asano started the new project "food stall project" for those who will loose job due to the close down of the dump where they collect the recyclable items to make their living. She plans to lend food stalls to the people to sell sweets in the town.
In the meeting about management of JLMM, Mr. Masaya Takahashi (Yonezawa Church, Niigata Diocese) stationed in Cambodia said, "Seven months' training was a great gift to me. It would be nice if not only JLMM missionaries but also other people from Japanese churches could attend the training." The management will look into his proposal. In the meeting the participants had opportunities to think about what they could do for the society during and after their overseas mission.
Mr. Kazuo Sakano (OB, living in Cambodia) said, "It is important to transmit the experiences and gifts of Christians who aim to live together with people to Japanese churches more actively." The new roll of JLMM - to convey the information about movements and situation of churches in Thailand, Cambodia and East Timor to Japan - was proposed. The participants exchanged their opinion very positively.
During the later half of the meeting an individual meditation was conducted under Father Desrisgers Raymond. The themes were "What is God calling you to?" and "What is God calling JLMM to?"
After the meditation "What is God calling you to?" the missionaries shared and talked about their thoughts with each other - To learn how to love for realization of the Kingdom of God. I change through meetings and events, and the change causes changes of people around me and the society. The awareness to return to the life which is the origin of human beings. The awareness was given by God who sent me here. etc. -
After the meditation "What is God calling JLMM to?" all the participants shared their thoughts with each other - The realization of peace and the Kingdom of God. To find God inside of poor people and become a tool of God as a bridge between God and Japanese people. To become a door for people who are seeking something. etc. -
After the meeting all the participants ordained each other and went back to the mission areas.
We deepened the meaning of "Living together" - the mission of JLMM - through sharing of the experiences of the participants during the four days' meeting. Two missionaries Ms. Wakako Matsumoto (sent to Thailand from Minamata Church, Fukuoka Diocese) and Ms. Hiroko Shigetomi (sent to Cambodia from Tamatsukuri Church, Osaka Diocese) who started mission last year renewed their resolve and returned to their mission areas.
Issei Sakano (1994 missionary to Cambodia)
At last I could attend the meeting! This time, those who had finished their mission were also invited to the meeting and I managed to spare my time to attend the meeting. Fortunately it was held in Pattaya, near Phnom Penh where I live.
It was my first visit to Pattaya, but I felt very comfortable when I met all the participants and greeted "I'm back." Again I realized that JLMM is my origin. I was very happy to have such feeling after ten years since my mission and I like to say "Thank you" to God and everyone.
"To be back" does not necessary mean to return to a particular place but means to face God and friends with a supple mind. In the closing mass of the meeting, we were resent to our mission areas. Actually I had "been back" to Pattaya, then I was resent - "was back" to Phnom Penh. Maybe I finally realized that "to be sent to mission area" meant "to be back."
As a matter of fact I realized it because everyone gathered. I would not have realized it by myself in my daily life. I was grateful to have participated the meeting this time. Thank you, everyone.
Hoping that the next meeting will be held in the near future and more OB/OG will attend the meeting, I have come back.