I am in Bangladesh for a few months. Like all the missionaries, I too dedicate myself for the first months in studying the language. In Bangladesh there are not many schools for foreigners and the painful facts of the last period have further put this sector in crisis.
For these reasons, it is easier to find Bengali teachers who are willing to give private lessons. In the same way for me: every day I go to my teachers house to learn Bengali.
Rama, is my teachers name. She worked in a school for foreigners, here in Dhaka, but due to the lack of students the school is closed and now she is looking for a job.
She is very happy to work and teach a foreigner, especially a nun. For her I am a blessing, a sign of God’s care. We have been meeting for a few months now. We have learned to know each other beyond the language difference. Day after day we tell each other and this makes us friends.
Rama is a Christian but not a Catholic. Hers is an interesting story. Her whole family is Hindu and she converted to Christianity out of love, in order to marry her husband who is a Christian. She tells me with simplicity and joy of someone who has found a treasure. She is happy for having known another faith, she feels happy and free.
She does not deny anything of her past life, rather, she respects her parents and her family as they respect her, but now she says that she feels more open to God.
I admire this woman capable of changing and challenging the future. I like her because she does not stop at her knowledge instead she is interested about the world, she is curious, she wants to know how I live, because I am in her country.
Thinking of her, I recall a passage from the Gospel of Matthew that I feel strongly appropriate for me: “…for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:20). Yes, it the Spirit! It is He who guides us on the ways of the mission, always new and unexpected, and it is He who works in us.
I do not know the Bengali. I am not there to witness or to do catechesis, yet I am asked to explain about my faith. It is myself that need to learn, yet it is she who asks me and is interested.
I realize that in those moments I am not the protagonist. It is someone else who prepares, who acts, who finds the adequate means and moments. Someone else who awakens, wants to know and to show.
In our moments of break, we find ourselves speaking about different things: of our cultural traditions, of her children, of her faith. She asks me about the Rosary, Holy Mass and about Christ.
Of course she is already Christian and will not change her confession but she wants to know and understand what she still does not know. This is the same for me: I too am a Christian and I will not change my confession, but I will be able to know another shade of Christ, in a different way of manifesting and acting.
I feel that the relationship between me and Rama is moved by the Spirit. It will allow both of us to understand more deeply that Jesus who called and who guides the lives of both of us.
“…you shall receive power of the Holy Spirit …
and you shall be my witnesses (Acts 1: 8).
The Spirit acts in every way, even in this part of the world. I see it and I witness it.
Sr. Silvia Leoni