Mongolia, September 2016
It was in the calm sunrise of first of August, 2016 that we, Fr. Yeinson Galvis (Colombian) and Fr. Dido Mukadi (Congolese), left Italy after a couple of months spent in waiting for the documents. Our destination was Mongolia, an Asian country where Consolata missionaries have been present since 2003. Both newly ordained priests we have been waiting for that day and here we were. Our joy and expectations were big.
This is of no doubt that upon arriving at Chinggis Khaan International Airport we were welcomed by a sun hanging on a cloudless and lovely blue sky. Besides, a warm welcome to the newcomers by Fr. Giorgio Marengo and Fr. Ernesto Viscardi, Consolata missionaries, was to initiate our staying here.
On the way to our new home at Ulaanbaatar, we could already read the cultural imprints that colour Mongolia. The most striking are: the horse statues. An animal without which a Mongol would be like a bird without the wing. There are also camels, oxen/yaks, sheep and goats; the traditional ger, which is a portable house made from a wooden frame and covered by wool felt; a splendid landscape embedded on a vast green surface and so on!
The following day, three Consolata sisters (Sr. Sandra Garay, Sr. Furaha Mponzi and Sr. Anne Waturu) had come in Mongolia.
Life in these first days is such that we would not wait going around. Thus, to get in touch with this new reality the community organised visits to some places. All this allows us to appreciate the peculiar beauty of the Mongolian culture reflected in the ordinary life. A culture that upholds its tradition and opens the window to modern air. We started also taking part in Church celebration, a way to meet with people, whose history is so dear and with a promising future.
A glance at the City gardens, palaces does not leave us unaware of the dominance of Buddhism, a Tibetan religion definitively introduced in Mongolia in the 16th century. But this does not compromise as such the peaceful and respectful attitudes toward other religions and foreigners within the country. This is so obvious that even when we get to a Buddhist temple and ger we ought to get in in reverence: not touching the wood down at the entrance door, getting in from the left and out from the right, receiving a drink with two hands and so on.
Such attitudes that permeate people life and way of doing emphasize a deep moral and religious heritage. Heritage that when we visit people we already understand the sense of the divine behind it. On this, we remember that in most communities Christians do not hesitate and repeatedly tell us how happy they are to know about the merciful God. Some say they cannot imagine what their lives would have been without knowing Christ.
Their enthusiasm makes us understand how much hungry they were in waiting for the Gospel and how joyous they are in their encounter with the Word that becomes flesh as to save us. We heard someone saying: “the Word of God changed my life, I am really living in peace with all my family.” An impact that is mostly observed in the fervent Christians who come to the Church.
In addition, Churches are not as full as in the places where we come from. However, their faith building is so impressive. The simplicity of their life and the joy of their adhesion in faith leaves no doubt that the mission in Mongolia is taking slowly yet surely on a hopeful future. This hope is a source of motivation for missionaries evangelizing and promoting Mongolian society. Just to borrow Bishop Wenceslao Padilla’s words: “whatever we do, whether in the social, educational or humanitarian sphere, everything has an impact on society.”
This impressive work done and being done by the missionaries is so encouraging to us who have just arrived. We salute their zeal and enthusiasm. They show us how greater their love for the mission is despites the impasses and challenges that come and go. Ours is to join hands and work with them in God’s vineyard.
p. Dieudonné (Dido) Mukadi Mukadi, IMC