Jesus said to them again “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I send you.” Jn. 20:21 “You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8b. With these powerful words, Jesus commissioned his disciples and through them all the believers baptized through ages to bear witness to him to the ends of the world. I am highly favored with the gift of consecrated missionary vocation based on a solid foundation that is: Jesus. I am called first and foremost to bear witness to Jesus.
This is the strong power that propels me to go, wherever I am sent to be a witness of the one who was, who is and will ever be until the end of time. And Jesus goes on “I am with you always until the end of the age.” Mt. 28, 20b. What a sure, faithful and comforting companion! He is always there. Mine is only to become conscious of his constant presence, trust in Him and surrender to his power so that he may accomplish his work through me and hence, go… “I have come to make common cause with you.” I gladly borrow from these words of Saint Daniel Comboni so as to express my deep feeling as a Comboni Missionary Sister on the footsteps of Jesus and Comboni.
I am Sr. Esperance Bamiriyo, originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and daughter of the world by vocation. I joined the congregation of the Comboni Missionary Sisters in the year 1995 as an aspirant, then postulant and novice. I took my first vows on 8th December 2000, year of the great Jubilee. Since then I have worked as a missionary in the Middle East (Dubai) learning English and doing pastoral work among immigrants and prisoners. My second mission was South Sudan in hospitals among sick people and their care takers. My third mission was in DRC and then Uganda from 2015 to may 2017 as Students. Now the Lord who never stops calling has called me back to South Sudan and I go to witness Him where He is waiting for me. In the course of my missionary life and as the years pass I continually heed His call to cast the net in deeper water for a better catch.
I trust Him and with the heart of a disciple I say if you say so Lord I go because I love you and I know that you are the one accomplishing your work, I am just a channel for you to reach out. It is a special call within a call at this moment when it seems that South Sudan is getting emptied of its population due to internal conflicts. I am going inside South Sudan to be a witness of Jesus among those who have not/cannot escape. Some people wonder as they plainly ask “is it not better to take care of so many Southern Sudanese refugees who are scattered all over the neighboring countries? Why go there while people are coming out of that country?” Are you not afraid of death? What if you die there? “What are you going to do there that you cannot do from outside?”
To some people my answer is just a smile and to others I say: “if people are still there so I go to be there with them.” For sure there is no easy answer for these questions but only a conviction, an inner conviction that carries me there so that I can be a witness of Christ to the people who are there. The great ministry of being; I call it great ministry because as human we easily identify ourselves with what we do, we find satisfaction in our doings and sometimes forget to pay attention to the people in our surroundings.
Our success in life gives a lot of consolation, provides meaning to our being, sometimes procuring us a certain status in society and this keeps us going. Whereas continuous hardships, struggle, failures, lack of appreciation contribute to discouragement and change of direction in life. Although I might have work to do in the mission I want to share with you that what really propels me to my mission in South Sudan in this particular moment is the response to the call of Jesus and the desire of being with the people, sharing in their struggle for peace, sharing their hope for a better future and contributing with my ministry to the building of that desired future of peace, stability, fraternity.
I ask every reader of this short sharing to say a Hail Mary for me so that I keep focused in being a witness. Our Founder Saint Daniel Comboni wrote: “All crosses and adversities will only serve to strengthen the spirit of the members, who are faithful to this holy task, and determined to put the mission on the road of certain prosperity; because the works of God have always been born and have grown at the foot of the Calvary, and must, like Jesus Christ, go through the process of passion and death in order to reach the Resurrection” Message Daniel Comboni (MDC) 238. And “having been made sharers in the Passion of Jesus Christ, we have a greater desire than ever to sacrifice our life for Christ and for the mission” MDC 69 With intercession of Saint Daniel Comboni and convinced of what the Lord wants to manifest through my humble person I go.
Sr. Esperance Bamiriyo