Fr Francis Makuba MHM will be a familiar face to our Missio family in England and Wales, sharing news and stories from his parish in Shauri Moyo, Kenya. On the ninth anniversary of his time as a Mill Hill missionary, Fr Francis is taking a short sabbatical in Tanzania, before moving to a new assignment at Luanda Basic Formation Centre in July 2021. Here he looks back at his time in Shauri Moyo.

Since my ordination in 2013, I have only been in one mission area; that is Shauri Moyo Parish in Nairobi. I will always cherish this place that received me as a baby and now sends me out as an adult.

‘What do I bring to the table?’

One cannot truly give what one doesn’t have. I have realized that a basic question in life, especially as far as relationships are concerned, is: ‘what do I bring to the table?’ Our life as pastoral agents involves meeting people and sharing with them the joy of the Gospel. Meeting people who were full of joy in Shauri Moyo meant asking myself once more, what do I then bring? I hope I did bring something precious to the good people of Shauri Moyo.

I also came to learn that ‘grace builds on nature.’ You need to have something in you for God to act. I realized with time in Shauri Moyo that I needed to put some effort in doing mission. God wishes to use my gifts and talents however weak they are to bring about his kingdom. I think I tried very much to cooperate with the grace of God in my mission. With my little effort, I came to realize God was always increasing it to live one day at a time.

A leader leads from the front

As a leader of this small Christian community in Shauri Moyo, I learned that a leader leads from the front, just as Jesus teaches in the Gospel of John:

‘the sheep hear his voice, one by one he calls his own sheep and leads them out.

When he has brought out all those that are his, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow because they know his voice.

People keep coming to ask and seek advice on many things. They expect that you show the way; or as we say, you lead for them to follow. If you don’t lead, then you will be led. That should not happen to a leader for he loses credibility. I learned this art of leadership and it helped me a lot in giving direction to the flock that was entrusted to me.

Indeed, another vital lesson l learned in the was: always learn to encourage and challenge people. Don’t be their judge. Be slow to condemn and belittle the people of God. They have that seed of faith within them already. Many are making efforts to know God and live the Christian faith from their perspective. They can only be helped to get more meaning from their efforts. They are collaborators in mission and share their talents and gifts for that same mission.

In reality, I came to realize these people have actually been evangelizing me all the time.

All is possible with the Spirit

As I move out to share in the universal mission of the Church in another way, I go with this final lesson. The kingdom of Christ will come to his people not so much because of me, but in spite of me. May the Kingdom of God continue to reach his people through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Borrowing the words of apostle Peter I can say:

‘I am a witness to all this, me and the Holy Spirit.’

(Acts 5:33)

We wish Fr Francis every success in his new mission posting. Our thoughts and prayers go with him!

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