A new mission in Uzbekistan
November 27, 2020, on the 190th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, the Company sent us on a new mission to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, an Asian country that has been closed to and distrustful of Catholic missionaries for many years. It is to the Immaculate Virgin that we entrust the new mission and all those to whom the Lord sends us.
For the first 14 days, we were locked down in our apartment, in a block of flats, due to compulsory quarantine after crossing the border. We spent these days tidying up the apartment given to us and arranged it according to our community’s needs.
After this period of isolation, we began our ministry by joining the animation of the Sunday liturgical setting in the Cathedral and giving catechesis to various age groups. Approximately 60 to 100 people from the capital and its vicinity attended. After the Holy Mass, apart from the catechesis, children also have had the time to play together and young people gathered to “worship the Lord” together.
The next days, we reached out to poor parishioners, visiting them in their homes. We got to know a boy and his father who live in a utility room with an area of 2m sq. We were taken by the Bishop to an older couple and we listened to the story of their life in poverty. We took special care of children with disability and who live in poverty situations and their families. The State do not give them assistance, they do not have a livelihood and are deprived of medicines and rehabilitation. The Lord Himself guides us to those who need help the most.
In January, when there was a break from school, we organized “Holidays with God” for the children and another one for young people. More and more came every day, not only from the capital but also from villages as far as 1000 km away. Meetings started at 10.00 am with a shared meal and would end at 4.00 pm. There were times for common prayer, adoration, needlework, and culinary preparations for a meal together; a good warm-up with cheerful music brought joy and fun. One of the children during prayer said this intention: “Lord God, please, do not end this time of holidays,” which expressed the desire of many children to continue coming to our organized activities.
This experience encouraged us to make the children’s dream come true by opening a day-room that can welcome them during the week. When we first came to Uzbekistan, we were told that children could not come to this day-room, because they live far away and the road was dangerous. However, after the winter holidays, we decided to try it and entrusted all to God so that His Will may be fulfilled.
Bishop Jerzy Maculewicz made the rooms at the Cathedral available for this purpose and with God’s blessing we started… 9 children came to the first meeting with a document stating their parents’ consent. Currently, about 30 children come to the day-room. They have meals, interact at a common game, play integrative table games, and have guitar, dance and art classes; they also listen to spiritual and educational talks. For children, it is a time when they feel loved and accepted. During these moments, they feel safe and for a while, forget about difficult situations at home. Here they have food to eat which unfortunately they do not always have at home.
We ask St. Vincent to give us strength and courage to take up new challenges and to continue to search for those who are pushed to the margins of society so that through our service they can feel that they are truly God’s children.
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