October is Mission Month -a special time of prayer and action leading up to World Mission Sunday and beyond.

This year’s World Mission Sunday campaign takes us to Kibera in Kenya, which is the largest ‘slum’ in Africa. There, missionary Sister Mary and Father Firmin accompany people living in great poverty. Father Firmin shares about bringing God’s love and hope, and encouraging this inspiring community to work closely together.

‘As human beings, we are already social beings. So, we cannot do without each other,’ says Fr Firmin, a missionary Priest serving in Kibera. ‘And our ministry is the Ministry of Christ. As a missionary, this is also to care for the poor people around us.’

The size of the problem

Nobody is quite sure how many people live in Kibera, but it could be anywhere up to 1.2 million. There is widespread poverty; many people live hand-to-mouth, doing whatever work they can find to bring home income for their families. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, much of the work available has dried up, and the cost of food is rising.

The solution is all of us

For Fr Firmin, the way through these problems is simple: you get through them together. He explains:

‘Here, people live as families. Even the way people live close to each other already shows how people care for one another and how people have that sense of unity. You can find some families taking care of the children of their neighbours.

‘This is very common. And this is why many times here you will find that someone will say, “my children” – possibly you will find that that person has only two children of their own, but you will find around ten children with that person. So it’s a sign that our brothers and sisters who live here in Kibera, they care for one another. So, I will even encourage them to do that more, because this is what we say: “together we can!”. When we are united, we can, all of us, fight a common challenge that is a haunting everybody.’

Together, we are Christ’s body on earth. This Mission Month, will you join Missio in supporting missionaries like Fr Firmin in bringing God’s love to all his children across the world? Find out more here>>

One body in Christ

A big part of Fr Firmin’s mission is to network and create connections with anyone who can support his work with the poorest people in Kibera. He shares:

‘We work with like-minded people, like-minded congregations that are also working with the poor. And even people around us, other Christians that are also like-minded, that also work in the spirit of caring for the poor people, those who need our help and our support. I think this goes in line with the preferential option for the poor as we are doing.’

During Mission Month, and around World Mission Sunday, we have a chance to come together as a global family, in support of mission and missionaries – and all of our sisters and brothers in need. If there was any doubt of your vital part in this work, Fr Firmin is passionate about letting you know how important each and every contribution is:

‘I think the work is great. All of us. We are working for the betterment of, and for the good of, our brothers and sisters… together I think we can do much better than when people work individually. And this is what helps us and motivates us to connect with others.’

As a Missio supporter, YOU are part of this mission – our global mission to set hearts ablaze with God’s love, and let all people know that they are valued, by God and by us. Will you support our World Mission Sunday appeal? Click here to donate>>

The need is great – and a friend in need…

Of course, the resources of the local Church, of Fr Firmin’s order, and of the Sisters are not endless. So how do they meet the great needs of their community? Fr Firmin shares:

‘Sometimes – even many times – what people need is not only financial help, is not only material things, but our simple presence.The way we come to visit them; we listen to them. We care for them. We sit with them. We spend time with them. I think what we have to offer is not only about money, but also our time. We offer our presence. We offer our hearts, our ears so that those people feel like they are not alone.

‘So they know that other people care for them. And then little by little, later on the financial help, if it comes, well and good. But I think the best thing to provide them with is not simply money or material things, but it is our self, our presence, our heart, and our ears to listen to their cry and to their situations.’

Servants of God

Fr Firmin meets many people who are in difficult situations, but who are also working also trying to help others. He shares:

‘Here problems never finish. This is like what the gospel says: “The poor, you will always have with you.” We also have in our mind that we cannot do it all; that we cannot save everybody. But I think what is important is to do as much as we can. So that at the end of the day we are able to say: “Yes, we have done that.” We are simply the servants of God, and we can praise God for what God has done through us.’

With our help, Fr Firmin and his missionary network can reach more people in dire need in Kibera. Will you support our World Mission Sunday appeal, so that we can be there for missionaries on the front line? Donate here>>

Get involved with World Mission Sunday

‘Hearts on fire, feet on the move’- cf. Luke 24:13-35

World Mission Sunday is celebrated in every Catholic community in the world. It’s a moment of grace to express solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are living in situations of poverty, violence, and oppression. Every parish, school and community is invited to join this special event. And every penny, pound, and prayer you give to Missio helps missionaries everywhere continue their work.

[Images: Featured Image Missio/Hartmut Schwarzbach. Extra image: Brian Otieno/Missio]