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A Japanese young Salesian talking about his missionary experience in PGS


By Cl. Philip Neri Tsutsumi, SDB


Araimiri, PNG, 10 June 2018 -- I was born in Fukuoka, Japan. In 2010 I became a Junior aspirant. After my novitiate in Chofu I made my first profession on March 19, 2016. I graduated from the Sophia University with a degree in education last March. Since I had long expressed my missionary desire to my Novice Director and then to my Provincial, Fr. Mario Yamanouchi, he sent me to PGS Vice-Province to help me discern my missionary vocation. I was welcomed here with open arms last April 5.


Upon my arrival I had 2 weeks cultural orientation in the Provincial House in Port Moresby. Fr. Alfred Maravilla, the Provincial, helped me understand not only the history and directives of the PGS Vice-Province but also the Melanesian culture and values which are so different from my Japanese culture and values. I was also pleasantly surprised that this small PGS Vice-Province is made up of confreres from 14 countries, working together for marginalised young people in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands!


I was assigned to Don Bosco Araimiri in the Gulf Province, around 7 hours from Port Moresby through rough road. I hope to be here until March next year, but already after 3 months I am so happy with my experience. Before coming here I had romanticised missionary life. Now after being fully involved in the life and activities of the 5 other confreres I realised that missionary life is difficult because we have to deal with very difficult people, tough environment and deprivations of things I took for granted in Japan (no electricity, no internet, no phone signal, etc). I have lost a bit of weight but my health is OK. But I also realised how much the whole community helps me to grow in my Salesian and missionary vocation. Cl. Sylvester Kuli is a practical trainee with me. We help and support each other.


Last month we had the practical trainees encounter. It was a beautiful experience for me to meet other young Salesians and share our experiences together. In Japan I was the only novice and now there is only 1 practical trainee. Instead here I learnt so much from our group sharings as young Salesians from PNG, India, El Salvador and Japan. I really appreciated our camaraderie.


Last month Cl. Sylvester Kuli renewd his vows in Araimiri surrounded by so many young people. I am happy that Fr. Alfred agreed to consider my request of the possibility to renew my vows next year also surrounded by so many young people here in Araimiri. He reminded me, however, that I am here to discern my missionary vocation with the help of my rector, hopefully in view of making myself available to the Rector Major through my missionary application.


Last June 9 I celebrated my 24th birthday in a very simple and frugal way, but very memorable for me. Thank you PGS Vice-Province for this missionary experience!




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