About 30 youths and adults from Singapore visited Pattaya, Thailand, from Dec 2 to 10 with the Redemptorist Overseas Mission Experience (ROME) team.
Most of the group members were from the Church of Christ the King, Church of the Divine Mercy, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School (Secondary) and CHIJ Katong Convent.
This mission trip has been held annually over the past several years, and in recent visits, participants have gone to the Fr Ray Foundation comprising of a vocation school, School for the Blind, children’s Home and Centre for Children with Special Needs, among other institutions.
Spiritual Director Fr Simon Pereira said that the events and experiences would shape the participants and help them to build motivation to embark on different forms of mission.
One of the institutions that participants visited during this trip was the vocation school, where it teaches young adults with disabilities the skills and knowledge required to give them the confidence to live an independent life.
Another highlight of the trip was when the group heard the life story of 20-year-old Nui, who was born without hands and legs. She shared about being rejected by her parents at birth and subsequently, mocked by people as she grew up. Through the Fr Ray Foundation, she picked up vocational skills and learnt to fend for herself.
Nui, a Buddhist, said that she was grateful for all the help that the foundation has rendered, and added that she is thankful for the encouragement from Singapore groups who have visited over the years.
“I felt this mission trip has shown us how fortunate and blessed we are in Singapore,” said Ms Nicole-Ann Nielsen, 41.
“Through these less fortunate – orphaned children, people with disabilities – they were in fact evangelising to us that no matter how difficult an obstacle we face, we must constantly try our best to...persevere in all that we do,” the Church of the Divine Mercy parishioner added.
“I learnt to treat others with compassion and empathy. I gave them love and I’m positive that they have felt my warmth. Through simple actions they have taught me and provided another perspective to life,” said Leow Jingxin, 16, a non-Catholic student from CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School (Secondary).
Ms Magdalene Lee, 71, from the Church of the Divine Mercy said she felt sympathetic towards the underprivileged people that she met during the trip, and urged Singaporeans to “go forward to try and serve the less fortunate”.
For more information on the Fr Ray Foundation, please visit fr-ray.org.
By Benedict Tang