Mission improbable: from accountant to PNG preacher

improbable journey

The exotic appeal of mission work has a timeless attraction for many. But when Jesus Youth volunteer Sid Jose, an accountant, was selected to travel to a PNG mission, at first he had his doubts.

- Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

Most people love the idea of Mission trips and look forward to going away, but for me it wasn’t quite like that.

I volunteer for an international Catholic youth movement called Jesus Youth. It works all over the world and does quite some amazing work with young people.

Jesus Youth began its missions to Papua New Guinea early last year and this year, Jesus Youth gave me the option of being part of the mission trip. When it comes to Church-related stuff, I generally don’t say no, but in this case, I was trying to avoid the mission trip - not because PNG was a risky place to be, but because I thought someone else could do better at preaching and being a missionary.

This probably is the story of all our lives. We quite often leave the preaching, teaching, sharing of Jesus’ message to the experts and carry on with our ordinary lives.

Eventually, after a time of prayer with a priest friend, I came to a realisation that God was actually calling me to the mission and I felt a sense of courage and peace. Still, I prepared myself for the worst case scenario. I had heard many stories about the cannibals in the highlands of PNG, thefts, murders and the country being listed as one of the most dangerous places in the world!

As we approached the place where we were to stay, via flooded roads, I was starting to feel anxious, thinking, how I am going to preach to these people? Will they understand English? Do I know my topics well enough to preach? I had all these mixed emotions but there was no turning back now. I had powerpoint presentations and videos prepared but on arrival I noticed that there was no electricity!

Since I could no longer use my computer, I had to resort to my only other option – the Bible. I did find it hard to preach to them because they were proud of their culture of clan wars.

If someone attacked your family member, you retaliated with a lot more destruction. My preaching challenged this violence, using scripture to remind the people that God loves them and calls them to love their enemies.  

There was some disagreement in the crowd when I preached about forgiving your enemies but that’s the gospel: it challenges us to live radical lives. I am no good at singing but I was meant to teach worship songs and so I had to sing. It was an easier group to teach because the people didn’t know how the song was supposed to sound!   

Read full article: The one who has his eyes on the Lord (Catholic Diocese of Maitland Newcastle)

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