To be a missionary is a beautiful task to proclaim the gospel and to learn the culture. As much as this is not a new experience for me because of the cosmopolitan nature of my formation years, I looked forward to this exciting chapter of my life as a missionary in Ghana.On 1st August 2021, the day of my ordination, my Provincial Superior Fr.Trinkson Debres KitheryMuthu SMA announced that I am appointed to Ghana for my first mission. When I heard this, I had a mixed feeling, the sadness of moving away from friends and
family, and the excitement of a new chapter in my life, where I am going to be a full-time missionary. It could be an historical moment in my life because a missionary is sent to Ghana from India after several years.
With haste, I began my preparation for my mission with a month off for recess. After my holidays I started my visa acquisition process at a time of a surge in the coronavirus cases in India. The process was a bit cumbersome; the embassy was closed, halting a lot of travel preparations and external relations.
COVID – 19 took a toll on the livelihood of Indians. The crisis in the health sector was very serious to the point where medical supplies had to be donated from other countries. In the First week of October, the lockdown was lifted in several parts of India and the embassy started to function.
I asked myself a lot of times if I was ever going to get my visa.
Finally, I got a visa after several attempts, excitement coursed through my veins for long days, I just couldn’t go to my first Missionary journey. On 1st November 2021, the solemnity of all Saints Day with all its blessings I started my journey towards Accra through Dubai. To my surprise, I met my formator Rev.Fr. Abou Yepie Herve SMA in the flight, what a joy for me to see him after four years. After eight hours of journey, I reached Ghana and had the warmest reception ever given by Rev.Fr. Paschal deo SMA by saying “Akwaaba” which means welcome in Twi a dialect in Ghana.
I stayed in the SMA Ghana Provincial House where I had a month with Rev. Fr. Paul Ennin SMA, the Ghanaian Provincial Superior as my host. In the entire month I had to learn and understand the history of evangelization, politics, culture, language, and traditional customs of Ghana. as a blind man to Ghana, I needed to feel my own experience with the natives.
My stay in the provincial house ended with my appointment as an Assistant Parish Priest to Our Lady Queen of Peace catholic church, Madina- a suburb of Accra. The church community is a beautiful sight to behold lovely and hospitable people all around. The parish has Four priest including me. I felt a bit queasy being the newest and youngest priest among the experienced ones, but I knew this was the right platform and opportunity for me to learn from the best.
The Parish is surrounded by Muslim Brothers and sisters and interspersed with other Christian denominations. Amid all these, there is a serene and harmonious relationship between the Catholics and other denominations including our Muslim counterparts.
The Parish is Honored as the mother of Madina Deanery. The parish is vibrant with youthfulness and camaraderie. Sunday masses are alive with the active participation by the community. The aged and convalescence are never left out, there are special days of visitation and mass celebration just to keep the spirit of unity bustling in the community. So far, 7 months in Ghana has not been dull. I am meeting a lot of people and making friends and understanding how evangelization and missions works in Ghana. I have had the opportunity to visit Elmina, Cape coast where the First SMA Missionary came to berth in Ghana. I am empowered and motivated by my superiors to fulfil wholeheartedly my ministry as a missionary in Ghana. This is the short experience of my first mission in Ghana.
Ravikiran Johnson SMA