Inhassunge is an Island and a suburban area located in the south of Zambézia province. The population lives on the basis of agriculture, fishing and informal trade. There is a lot of lack of employment and little motivation in school education. Most of the population belongs to and attends the Christian church. And they are very dedicated to church activities.
It has been very difficult to travel from Quelimane to Inhasunge, due to lack of means of transport. Because first, the crossing is made to the other side of the margin by boat or barge, then by car or motorbike to the village, and from the village to the localities and neighborhoods. The road is unpaved and has a lot of sand. But all this did not stop us from getting there; on the contrary, it encouraged us to be there twice a week, Friday, and Sunday.
We, the MDR Sisters, at the invitation and in collaboration with the Friars Minor Capuchin for a joint pastoral, felt that the people needed the presence of the sisters in the Inhassunge mission, because we did not have missionaries to attend to them and because our charisma urged us.
We accepted the invitation of the Friars and they asked us to take on the formation of the ministries, the formation of catechesis, the formation of the youth group as well as the children. Fr. Zacarias, the parish priest of the inhassunge parish, told us: sisters we need your presence here in inhassunge, because you sisters have a mother’s heart, and when you speak to the people you speak from the heart and touch the people’s hearts, unlike us men, and there are things that we have no way, but you have a lot.
At this time of the pandemic, after the reopening of the churches, in addition to the Eucharistic celebrations, we chose to prioritize formation.
And for feeling the desire and need of the people to have and be accompanied not only by the priests they already knew, but also by the sisters who for them was like the presence of God.
Because some places we have been and some people we have met there have never seen a sister in their lives. They only heard that there are sisters, and with our presence they felt that God had listened to their prey, and everyone thanked God and the Friars for our presence with great joy.
Due to the distance and difficulties in getting there, the people encouraged us and asked us to stay with them always and not to lose heart and abandon them.
For me the contact with the people and the sharing of life and formation was very beautiful and captivating. I saw and felt that the people were very interested and willing to learn and welcomed the newness of the formation we shared with them. Everything was felt from their way of being and being there, respect, listening, acceptance and sharing in formation.
With all this, I felt the presence of God in my life from the contact with the people from their delicacies, simplicity, in their look, in their actions. Those people for me are like a light and a mirror for life, helping me to find God in small gestures and to embrace my faith and mission in a spirit of joy and gratitude.
As our Mother Ascension Nicol used to say, on the mission everything goes well. That is exactly what I felt when I experienced it.
I felt that the people needed me, and I needed them for both of us to live and welcome the presence of God in our lives. In the experience and sharing of life I always told them that I would learn a lot from them and in their simplicity, they told me that they have nothing to give me, but that they have an open heart to welcome what I bring and learn a lot from me.
But after the formation and life sharing, we both discovered that we all have something to give and to receive, so at the end of the day and activities, we all left enriched, grateful, and happy.
During this time, I was able to discover that God speaks to us in different ways, and with the people, I was able to make this experience that was a marvel.
So, I thank God for manifesting himself in me and in the people with simple and concrete gestures. For being the light of my path in the mission, and for the mission. For making me feel the joy that wells up in my heart and my being, sustained and nurtured by God and the spirit of the mission.
Thank you, sisters, for the opportunity, and for helping me to live this beautiful experience.
A big hug to each one of you.
Marina Vasco Lamos
Community of “Bons Sinais”