Missionary sharing in Hong Kong and Macau
By Cl. Anthony Lo Po Tak, SDB
GBR province missionary
Hong Kong, 28 October 2017 -- Missionaries of the 148th SDB Missionary Expedition and the 140th FMA Missionary Expedition received their Missionary Cross from the hands of the Rector Major, Don Ángel Fernández Artime and the Mother General, Madre Yvonne Reungoat respectively on 24th of September 2017 at Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, Turin. I am one of them. I am sent to Great Britain. I will be part of Project Europe. I am truly thankful from the bottom of my heart to God for calling me to be a Salesian. He lead me to go deeper in my vocation journey towards becoming a missionary. After the month-long missionary formation which concluded with the send-off in the Basilica of MHC, I came back to my hometown, Hong Kong. I started the process of visa application to my destination. As you know, visa application takes time.
My former Provincial Superior, Fr. Lanfranco Fedrigotti, has invited me to take advantage of this opportunity to visit different communities, schools, oratories, and parishes in the CIN Province to share my experiences in Africa and the story of vocation journey to confreres, young people, parishioners while I am waiting for the visa. By God’s grace, there were many different schools or groups who approached me, invited me to their places to give a sharing session. Some asked me to share my experiences in Africa. Some told me that they wanted to know how I responded God’s call. Some were just curious about my encounter with Salesians during secondary school life in Tang King Po School. I have begun this sharing tour in the middle of October (Missions Month) which would last for around three to four weeks in Hong Kong and Macau.
It is a very amazing experience for me. Every time when I share my experiences to the students or young people, I am also helped to encounter His Love again. I find that He is always with me in every moment, especially in moments of difficulties and challenges. I realized I am not just sharing what I want to share with them. God sent me among them at that very hour to sow the seeds of Faith in their hearts with His Love and Joy, and He will do the rest. Even though I am not yet being in my destination, my new mission is already stared. To preach, to share, to give… these are the talents God gave me so that he can use me to spread His Good News to others through these special opportunities.
On 21st October, the evening of eve of World Mission Sunday, there was a prayer meeting organized by Salesian Youth Ministry Department of CIN Province in the hall of Casa Maria, Shau Kei Wan, Hong Kong. Kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament, I had experienced a very strong and warm affection. I remembered the many beautiful encounters with God I had in my life. I was touched by His Love. Without Him, I am really nothing. I cannot live without Him. Within the prayer meeting, I was asked to share about my missionary vocation story. Honestly, I have prepared something to share with the people, but I did not know why I forgot everything. I spontaneously shared my experiences. I could say that Holy Spirit was speaking through me at that moment.
There were so many familiar faces in front of me—my parents, my confreres, youth, my friends, benefactors… I gave thanks to God for letting me meet so many good people. They are helping and supporting me in my vocation journey, most especially through their powerful prayers. My personal and community prayers, prayers from different people in different places are the source of so great a power that motivates me to move forward and overcome all difficulties. How blessed I am! There are plenty of people who pray for me, pray for my mission, and pray for my vocation. Thank You, God. May God bless them all! I do not know what I can do for them. The only thing I know I can surely do is to keep praying for them every day. Although we are in different places, we will encounter each other in prayer. At the end of my sharing during the prayer meeting, I pleaded to them and asked that they continue their prayers for me, the Salesians and all the missionaries around the world.
Here are some touching feedbacks from the young people, sisters and confreres after the prayer meeting:
“God calls continually, Po Tak responses generously!” I am so glad to congratulate him in responding courageously to God’s call because he has finally found his deepest desire in heart and has followed the will of God after years of spiritual guidance and discernment. - Don Bosco school student
Particularly this year, he has received and responded to the gift of vocation to both being a Salesian and missionary forever from God’s bountiful grace. I have learned from his sharing that prayer is the most important element for a Salesian to sustain his religious life because it is God who calls with his grace, and we respond with faith, including self-sacrifice and self-abandonment to seek for the Will of God. Surely, I do pray for him as what he has asked us to do, and pray that he can be truly Don Bosco of today, APOSTLE of the young! — Cl. Leo Leung, SDB (Hong Kong)
I find this prayer meeting very meaningful for us religious and to the youth who have participated. For the religious, we can back to our own God experience and rekindle the fire in our heart. For the young, it is a good chance for them to see someone who answered God’s call and reflect in themselves what God invites them to do. — Sr. Mazzarello Lee, FMA (Taiwan)
Br. Po Tak is the funniest SDB I met in my life. I can entirely feel the joy of Don Bosco through him. During his sharing, he said that he quit his job, his salary because he found that there was something more important than this, the Will of God. Nowadays, it is difficult to take up this courageous decision for giving up the materialistic life. His aspiration is well worth, I learned. In his missionary vocation journey, he experienced a lot of difficult and challenging moments which brought him down and depressed, but he never gave up. I am so moved by his witness. He is a good example for me and for the youth. Finally, I am thankful to God for bringing me to meet this missionary, Br. Po Tak. He is not just a Salesian, but he is the best friend of the young. May God continue to bless and protect his mission! – Kelvin On, Boy (Hong Kong Tang King Po College, SDB)
At that time, a Bible quote has come to my mind, ‘God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength.’ (Col. 10:13) It has empowered me to trust in God, and remind me to keep praying to ask for His help when I feel confused, afraid, and frustrated in my daily life. I will always pray for Br. Po Tak, our new Salesian Missionary. I hope our prayers turn to a power to motivate and support him walking through his difficulties in the missionary path. —Yvette Yeung (Our Lady’s College, FMA)
In this prayer meeting, I learned a lot, through the sharing of Br. Po Tak, particularly about his vocation. He said that a missionary took him back to church, back to Jesus, and always accompanied him to discern deeply in his vocation journey. I realized that I also needed a guide to teach me, lead me and help me to discern my vocation. I am so timid, but Br. Po Tak is very brave to accept the calling of God to be a missionary. His sharing, his witness is encouraging me to say "YES!" to God bravely as His instrument for spreading His love and joy to others. — Anthony Yu (Salesian School, SDB)
During the prayer meeting, especially the sharing from Br. Po Tak, I am utterly touched by what he had said. He told us that he used to be losing in the materialistic life, and losing the meaning of his life and his relationship with God. However, the Lord is almighty and gracious. He sent a missionary to inspire Br. Po Tak, and called him to be a missionary too. I was moved by his experiences. I hope that one day I can also find my vocation and become a loyal servant like Br. Po Tak, leading more and more people to realize the love of God. — Joe Hui (Hong Kong Tang King Po College, SDB)