Singaporean Father Anthony Lim, CICM, has been doing missionary work in Zambia for 14 years. Here is a letter from him
DURING THE LAST 14 years of my missionary commitment in Zambia, I was assigned to three different areas. In 1995 I arrived in Ndola Diocese, in the Copperbelt Province near the border with Congo (RDC). In 2003 I moved to Kabwe in the Central Province, in the Lusaka Archdiocese. Finally, in early June 2009 I moved again, this time to Lusaka city itself to a new parish, St. Monica, Makeni Villa. I moved from the North of the country to the South, from the Cibemba to the Cinyanja.
My first eight years of ministry were with a parish community started by CICM confreres, with fully functioning Small Christian Communities (SCC). When I arrived, we were preparing to hand over the parish to the local clergy, helping the community to become self-reliant, self-administering and self-propagating. During the last three years of my stay, we even built a new church and prepared ourselves to welcome the local Zambian clergy who would continue the work of building the Kingdom of God with the people.
After handing over parish communities in Chibuluma and Chibote to the local clergy in November 2002, I went home for three months’ home leave. When I came back to Zambia in March 2003, I was given a new assignment as Formator of our Pre-Novitiate Formation Community. I moved to Kabwe and for six years I accompanied young Zambians in their search for God’s call for them to become CICM missionaries.
Recently, I found myself packing and moving again. This time I am given the task to help build up a new parish community in Makeni Villa, Lusaka. The parish was started in September 2007 by our Congolese confrere Father Raphael Mukendi. There was only an empty plot bought by the Christians around the area in the hope of founding a new parish community.
Together with the people, Father Raphael put up a hall and a small office block and, with the help of friends and Christians abroad, the community was also able to build a presbytery. That is where I am now living with a Filipino CICM confrere, Brother Maurice Galasa, who will soon be ordained a deacon.
The presbytery is still unfinished. We have no water, no electricity, no proper floor, no ceiling, and many other finishing touches are wanting. But we are slowing making our presbytery into a home where parishioners can be welcomed and share with us their struggles and happiness.
There is a good spirit among our people. They are happy that a priest has come to live among them and they are doing their best to take care of their priests. Every day there are people who come and volunteer to help us draw water, keep security within the premises and do some maintenance. Father Raphael handed over to me the charge of the parish and left for Rome on Jun 8, 2009, for further studies in Canon Law.
I am now very much at home in Zambia. I have started to learn another local language, Cinyanja, the local language used in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. I have also experienced plenty of support from you my friends in Singapore and the Church in Singapore. As I begin this new ministry, I continue to count on your support and prayers. May God bless all of you!