Sr. Magdalene Mathuvi is a Consolata Missionary sister who hails from Makima, Kenya. She first arrived in Mongolia in the year 2006 for apostolate after her studies, then returned to Kenya in 2012. Later, after 8 years, she returned to Mongolia for mission last year 2020.
In this interview, Sr. Magdalene shares her mission experience in Mongolia, and she gives us some words of hope and courage to help us move on well in this new year.
Q. How did you receive the news of your transfer back to Mongolia?
R. The mission of the church is universal. So, the missionaries are not tied in one place. In Kenya I was happy and fulfilled in what I was doing – missionary animation, formation and at school but I still felt the urge to move and go to evangelize in other places. So, I received the news of my transfer back to Mongolia with joy. I feel happy to be back here in the land of mission.
Sr. Magdalene in Mongolian traditional attire at the entrance of Erdene Zuu Buddhist Monastery in Kharkhorin – Mongolia
Q. What can you say about mission ad gentes (first evangelization) as in the case of Mongolia?
R. The church exists to evangelize. It might be first evangelization (like in Mongolia) or re-evangelization (like in some parts of Europe). According to Jesus mandate in the gospel of Matthew 28:19-20 the good news should reach every corner of the world through evangelization. Every baptized person is a missionary and should take an active role in evangelization in all its forms. Here in Mongolia, we have few Christians so far and a good number of foreign lay and religious missionaries are working here. There’s progress but still much is yet to be done. Interreligious dialogue is an important aspect of evangelization in Mongolia since the country has a strong culture mingled with Buddhist religion. Learning the Mongolian cultural and Buddhist values helps in knowing how to incorporate Christianity. The future for Mongolian church is bright!
Q. Sister, you came back when Corona Virus had already struck the world. How was the settling process and how did you embark on your mission?
R. Well, when I left Kenya there was no lock down there. However, the journey from Kenya to Mongolia took me about two months since I passed through Korea! Finally, I arrived in Mongolia, with a lot of enthusiasm to restart but things were never the same again since the church and social activities had already been suspended as part of the lock down. I didn’t get frustrated, but I started rethinking the mission. Movement and physical presence are important ways of doing mission, but they are not everything about it. Being precedes doing. My mission took another dimension; I started praying more, reminding myself about mission in Mongolia and in Asia at large through reading books, giving personal witness in my small community with my fellow sisters, talking to people and consoling them online etc. This way, I felt consoled too and at home!
Q. Corona Virus pandemic has crushed many dreams and hopes. What message do you send out to the world for the new year amidst pandemic?
R. There’s time for everything in life (Ecclesiastes 3,1-8). This is a time of suffering. The pandemic is affecting everyone in the whole world, so if we can all get fully united and dedicated in fighting the virus through implementing the preventing measures, we can emerge winners. People should have hope since without it no life. Hope for better tomorrow guarantees life. For Christians and non-Christians alike, support for one another physically and emotionally is inevitable. We should bear the cross with courage and faith since the Lord is with us, He has not and can never abandon his own.
The lockdown should not scare us so much since it is a temporal moment. Soon the virus shall end, and we shall be back to normal life. Let us be optimistic and encouraged. It is a moment to give witness in our families through ensuring constant harmony, love and care. In Matthew 8,23-26 when the boat was almost sinking the disciples called upon Jesus and he calmed the storm. With faith let us call Jesus to calm the storm of Corona Virus through constant prayer. He will definitely do it. Happy new year to all!
* Fr. James Muthoka Mate is a Consolata missionary from Kenya and lives and works in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, since 2018.