153rd Missionary Expedition: interview
Guatemala/Colle Don Bosco, 20 September 2022 -- Hi! My name is Cristian Adolfo López de León, I´m 29 years old, a Salesian missionary from a small country in Central America called Guatemala. I would like to share with you in a small summary the reason for my Salesian life and my decision to bear witness to Jesus in such a faraway land from my homeplace.
What is your faith and Salesian vocation journey?
It´s been a long journey but looking backwards all of it has a reason for being. My beautiful town (Salcajá) and my grandparents were of great example in my Catholic faith, followed by the fact that I was baptized in a Salesian parish, and I studied in a Salesian school and college. All my education was received in this joyful environment, they are all I know! Of course, there was something these “different priests” had that the other ones didn´t. So, from a young age I wanted to be a Salesian.
My dream came true after 3 rejected attempts, 2 years of forgetting my origins and focusing on social life and one failed relationship. After all this and a well-done discernment, I was ready at the age of 20. I started my vocation journey in 2014 in my home province going through all the initial formation phases until getting to this precise moment: getting ready to leave for the missions.
How were you attracted to the Salesian missionary vocation?
This is a question I´m not sure how to answer. I´ve tried to recall the precise moment when I thought about it but I just can´t. It´s just in my heart, I just know that it is what I always wanted. Of course, this intention grew with the help of the testimony of various Salesian confreres on the way, reading about the congregation´s history about the missions and how it is now. I was constantly praying, letting myself being guided by my spiritual director and my superiors. Also my two years of practical training as a teacher in a Nicaraguan school and assistant to the novices in Mexico was an important time in my vocation maturity.
What makes you happy as young Salesian from Guatemala?
It makes me happy that I was able to know all the communities in my international province (NB: CAM province is composed of 6 countries in Central America), sharing with the confreres and young people. I have had all the experience and great moments of a young Salesian life, I´m proud to say that I´m educated in the province of Central America. It makes me happy to be a Guatemalan in a far away mission willing to be a witness of God´s love to everyone I will share with. Overall, it makes me happy to be part of such a great group of people decided for God and willing to be these signs of faith, hope and charity in a diverse cultures.
What are the fruits of this new missionary course?
I like to be honest. Before the course I was scared. This three weeks has helped me focus and accept my mission, deepen my Salesian vocation while being in Don Bosco´s house. I took advantage of the silent moments and prayer to prepare myself for such a big change in my life. I´m not completely ready but I trust God´s will and I want to answer faithfully.
I´m very thankful for this opportunity, I see how the Holy Spirit acts and guides all of us missionaries but mostly, I´m thankful for all those people that are in continuous prayer for our wellbeing and that are seeing in us a way of believing and getting closer to God.