By Kim Sun-Hee "Maria"

Before I was assigned to a regional mission unit as a Columban lay missionary, I was attending the orientation program, and in the seminar held on “the Day of Overseas Mission”, what was written and shared by a nun touched the bottom of my heart. According to her, what she had learned during her missionary life was that “the life as a missionary is the story of her redemption by the God of love.” When I first had read this, I asked myself, “Really? My redemption? How can it be?” Even if I was preparing myself to become a Columban lay missionary, I had a question that I couldn’t find an answer. “Why do I want to take this journey?” 

Kim Sun-Hee "Maria"
Columban Lay Missionary Kim Sun-Hee "Maria"


In order to talk about calling, I would like to talk about my family story first. This is because I cannot talk about the calling without talking about my family. Reminiscing about my childhood, I mainly remember the feelings of anxiety and loneliness. Frequent quarrelling between my parents made me feel anxious for my future. My father was seldom home because of his medical treatment for a work-related injury as well as the conflict with my mother. My mother kept herself busy earning money to support the family. My brother kept himself occupied with his school life and sports. Against this family background, I was wandering around all by myself. Did I need to find means of escape then? 

Currently my family members are separated from each other. My parents were divorced after a long period of separation. My father remarried while my mother lives alone working as a social welfare worker. My brother got married and is living in Germany with his own family while I am now living in Taiwan as a missionary. I encountered God during a Pentecostal seminar I joined for the first time when I was a voluntary Sunday school teacher. My feeling was like a small child finding a lost mother in a crowded market place. It was a mixed feeling of relief, anger, sadness and joy all at the same time. When the seminar was over, on my way home, I felt so empty after such a passionate encounter with God. So, where is the God I encountered with my whole heart? 

The War Broke Inside Me.

After that day, my search for God began. Masses on Sundays and weekdays were not enough. I joined the Bible study group, Taizé Mass and vocation meetings. However, more questions than answers came to my mind. Why do we have a religion? Can a person choose a religion? Why do I want to depend on religion? I felt as if I was mentally ill and for some time, tried not to call on God and even not to look up the sky. However, God was everywhere. There was nothing in the world that did not remind me of the existence of God. Like an adolescent returns to her parents who are waiting with wide open arms, I also returned to the House of God, feeling the God who has been constantly calling me. 

Calling: It was Redemption. 

Looking back, the reason why I knocked on the door of the Columban Lay Missionary program was my yearning for a passionate encounter with God. I loved the great consolation God provided to me, and I wanted to change the focus of my life by finding that consolation. Only now I begin to understand the meaning of what the nun said and shared with us. That is, God called me so that I could learn what the genuine love is. Today, I am still learning the genuine love of God.

Columban lay missionary Kim Sun-Hee Maria lives and works in Taiwan.

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