How time flies! In a twinkling of an eye, 25 years have flown by. On 7th May 2022, we celebrate joyously the the day that God through the community sent Susana Alonso Hermina to Taiwan on 2 May 1997, and months later, Angela Ng and Connie Tenorio arrived to participate in the mission ad gentes. Elaine Seow came in 2001 and there they lay the foundations for the first community in the Chinese world. But it has not always been an easy journey.
As we lamented in the first days, it was like sowing in cement. But the Word of God is active and alive, sharper than any double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), so we continued tirelessly relying on the strength of prayer and our mutual encouragement. The first vocation to the Fraternity came in 2015, her name is Hsu Piling and in 2019 another, Wang Ying Jen, took steps to discern her place in the Fraternity. The Family was born at about the same time in 2017: the school of Apostles composed of couples, singles and young adults.
7 May 2022 was an explosion of gratitude and amazement, seeing how God works when we persevere and say Yes to Him at every twist and turn. Even though the Covid situation was alarming, throngs of good friends came to celebrate with us.
We had a mass celebrated by a Dominican priest friend and seven con-celebrants. Evelyn Wong, the current Branch responsible spoke of how God led the community with strings of love (Hosea 11:4). A music forum followed where 5 members of the Family gave short testimonies. Susana share via a video how Jesus encouraged her in the first days of the foundation as there are many who belonged to him in this place (cf. Acts 18:10). Angela followed with a moving and funny sharing about how things were in the beginning, and the various communities who helped us in the beginning. Then Piling shared about the encounter between the Verbum Dei charism and the Taiwanese culture, giving her experience as an example. The fourth testimony was given by David, a Taiwanese missionary disciple about his encounter with God and how the Word of God is alive in his marriage and family life. Finally, Rosa, also a missionary disciple from Taiwan, expressed her hopes and dreams for the Verbum Dei Missionary Family in the future.
In the mass and song forum, we sang songs only from Verbum Dei and the result was a rousing, animating atmosphere that led to many dancing on their feet. It was also a moment when we announced the official launch of our third music album, “Put Out into the Deep.” The encore was a song to the Holy Trinity, invoking Them to consecrate us as bread and wine for the people, to be His beloved disciples in the world today. It was accompanied by sign language and as the whole community of people sang and gestured, the Lord sent us out again to evangelize to many who still do not know him.