Asante na Kwaheri Kenya! Hello Singapore!

24 July 2012

     


It’s been just over a week since I returned to the “little red dot,” of our island Singapore. I left Nairobi on Friday the 13th (!) of July 2012, with a lump in my throat, feeling a mix of emotions. I was sad to leave quite suddenly, six months ahead of the planned schedule of a late December departure which would have concluded my 5 year assignment as a missionary in Kenya.  But at the same time, I was happy to be back home, nearer family and friends. 
Why the earlier return? More pressing needs for our congregation in Singapore. During the one month notice I was given, the song, “Any Road, Any Cost,” performed by Point of Grace became my theme song, encouraging me to be open to God’s call and to forge ahead to wherever he may lead me:

Any Road, Any Cost (Words & Music by Scott Krippayne & Tony Wood)
Leaving the safe and familiar
With their hearts set on a heavenly prize
There were some who laid down their nets
And some who laid down their lives
Not sure where they were going
But they did not have to know
'Cause they knew who had called them
And they said, "We will go"

(Chorus)
Down any road at any cost
Wherever You lead we will follow
Because we know that You've called us
To take up our cross
Down any road at any cost

It may be fear that we're feeling
We see what we must sacrifice
But You promised You'll go with us
So we'll trust with our lives

It's Your love that compels us
To do what You've called us to do
And be completely abandoned to You

Because we know that You've called us
To take up our cross
Down any road at any cost 




Just before departure, my main apostolic project was to complete the English dubbing and editing of a DVD on the Sacrament of Marriage. Entitled “The Covenant,” it was produced by our Sisters in Ivory Coast and the original language was in French. Here’s a teaser of the English version (slight delay in syn when streaming on youtube):



Another major production that we completed in Kenya was a catechetical DVD on Celebrating the Mass on the New Roman Missal which I had blogged about in my last post. After some revision, it was finally given the green light and is now one of our top selling DVDs in the Catholic Bookshop of Nairobi:



Apart from my main apostolate in the Audiovisual Sector and helping out with classes in the novitiate, I am also grateful for the mission trips I was able to make outside of Nairobi. They added to the colour, aroma and taste of experiencing African culture, and more specifically Kenyan culture. Some of my previous posts provide the details.

So here I am back in our convent of the Daughters of Saint Paul in Jurong  (west of the island) after five years away, filled with wonderful memories of my time in Kenya and grateful for my missionary experience there. It was indeed a truly enriching experience and I believe I have grown and matured somewhat from my missionary years. I spent the first half of my 40s in Africa and I’m glad that I sailed through this phase of my mid-life journey relatively smoothly while on the red Kenyan soil.


With our lay staff at Paulines Africa
Cake from Paulines Africa at one of the farewell parties for Sr Marie from Madagascar (who was also leaving Kenya) and me.

Thank you to my new found friends in Kenya – the zealous international  group of Pauline Sisters with whom I lived and worked with, as well as our rich variety of African sisters from around the continent including the different batches of our vibrant and enthusiastic novices. Thank you to the many priests, and religious brothers and sisters with whom I met and collaborated with in our ministry. Thank you too to all the lay friends I got acquainted with while in Kenya, the small and cosy group of Singaporeans plus the many other friends and collaborators I had the privilege to know and with some, even work with. It was indeed a grace to be in Kenya and to know all of you. I will certainly miss you, the beautiful country and especially the cool Nairobi weather!!

Now I am adjusting to the hot and humid climate of Singapore but fortunately the people here are as warm as the weather! J It’s great to be back as well and I look forward to continue and to develop our Pauline mission on home soil! Counting on your prayers please! 

First parish mission since I got back - Church of Saint Francis Xavier

This post concludes Notes From Kenya on this blog. I’m not sure if I’ll continue blogging while in Singapore but who knows, if inspiration hits, and there are some “chillies” or “lime” spicing up my life, I just might. Meanwhile thank you so much for reading and for your comments since I started “Notes From Kenya” back in early 2008! Many of your comments were a great source of inspiration for me.
God bless you and your loved ones!

With love and prayers,
Wendy



PS: A grace filled encounter worth sharing:
My close friends often tease me and are amazed at the way my favourite celebrities relate so warmly to me. I myself am at times, deeply moved by their warmth and approachability. Two months ago, in May, I was just blown away by the kindness of Han Hye Jin 한혜진, a very beautiful and amazingly talented Korean actress (see previous post) of whom I and my mother are huge fans. (For those in Singapore, she is the leading actress in Jumong which is currently airing on Channel U, 7-8pm) Well to cut the long story short, Han Hye Jin was in Singapore for a magazine photo shoot and when I told my mom about it, she got so excited and wondered if she could meet her. Hmm, most unlikely I thought but I decided to give it a try and wrote in a request to HHJ on her website/café. My mom had just celebrated her 80th birthday the previous month and an encounter with HHJ would certainly be one of the coolest birthday gifts for her. Well believe it or not but HHJ responded to my request both on her website as well as through twitter. From Kenya I frantically communicated with my mom and the encounter took place!!!

Mom thrilled to meet the ever gracious Han Hye Jin and receive her embrace! ^^

 HHJ being a big Korean star, it even made news on various Korean websites, as well as on an English site on Kpop culture (to date this has had over 26,000 views!) Here’s an album I created in honour of my mom and HHJ, two inspirational women in my life. Experiencing the graciousness of HHJ, I could only see the gracious love of God behind the encounter. Han Hye Jin’s kind act touched me deeply and I am convinced her outer beauty radiates from a more profound inner beauty. She has such a big and gracious heart. It was for me an experience of Christ’s love flowing through her (she's a staunch Christian by the way) and if anything, it reminded me that miracles do happen and God continues to love us. Sometimes we do need little miracles in our lives to deepen our faith in God’s boundless love! In short, the whole incident inspires me in a deeper way to respond to God's call and serve this wonderful, gracious God of love and hopefully also reflect his love to others. 혜진님, 대단히 감사합니다!



9 comments:

  1. Hi Aunty Wendy! Mandy here. nice blog, great pictures :D

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  2. Hey Sr Wendy, please i beg you not to stop blogging, i enjoy reading them and experiencing your encounter in my imaginative mind. :) looking forward for your next blog. Have a blessed week. (Fred PPA Nairobi)

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  3. What great news Wendy ! Welcome back to Singapore! Thank you for all the life giving thoughts and reflections I was drinking in as I read your blog. Your radiance and joy of the Lord speak volumes to me. Also a Wow to your Mum and her meeting with that big Korean Star ! Your Mum looks so great and young! She must be so happy that you are back!

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  4. Hi Sr. Wendy, Welcome back. You have gone thru' one of the dangerous places on earth and came back safely. Praise the Lord !! God with you always

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  5. Welcome back dear coz. Too bad I never visited u in Kenya but I'm sure I will have that opportunity when the Lord brings me there. Well, looks like He has some work for u to do here in "Sing n Pour" - that is what u will need to do when times get challenging ...when u sing His praises in everything, He will pour out His grace to you! And that's a promise! From Him that is- will keep u in prayer and we shall choose to keep on smiling and praying for our persecutors and bless them always as that would be what Jesus would do! You are blessed always!

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  6. Phew, you managed to get the re-direction off!
    Must catch up soon!

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  7. Welcome back Home Wendy !!!
    Congrats on your African posting -- I'm sure you were an important part of the landscape while you were there and that your heart touched many others. It must feel good to be back, to see family, and reconnect with friends. Thanks for keeping me in your loop all these years, I've truly enjoyed it. Be well and happy and write again when you are settled in.

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  8. Welcome back home. I too am leaving Boston for New York and though it is not as far as you travel or in such unique cultures, the change of ministry and the move give me empathy for your leaving and arriving. Thank you for the blog! Keep it coming! Sr Margaret Kerry,fsp

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  9. Thanks for sharing your inspiring experiences in Kenya and welcome back to Singapore.
    Praying for you as you embark on a different kind of mission.
    Blessings!

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