The mandate of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19), “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations,” may seem simple on the surface. However, on closer look, really raises many questions, like the following: Who is supposed to go? Is it only the Apostles/Disciples? When does the mandate cease?
Obviously, it is not only the Apostles/Disciples who are being sent. The promise of our Lord Jesus Christ is that he would be with those carrying out the Great Commission until the end of the age, making it clear that generations following the age of the Apostles/Disciples have to continue the mandate until the Lord returns.
Growing up as a child in a very devoutly Catholic family in a village of the Delta State of Nigeria, I started questioning myself how I, too, could make my contributions towards fulfilling this Great Commission. Joining the Mary League and Block Rosary Crusade, singing in the Church Choir from an early age, helping to clean and decorate the church, Altar and sanctuary for Sunday and other Feasts and Festivals, helping wash and iron church linen did not satisfy me.
In 1993 the Most Rev. Dr. Anthony O. Gbuji, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Issele-Uku, of the Delta State, Nigeria, founded The New Evangelization Sisters of Mother of Perpetual Help, a women’s Religious Order. He did this in response to repeated and passionate calls on the Church for a New Evangelization, by the then Supreme Pontiff of the Church, Pope John Paul II, now Saint Pope John Paul II. Bishop Gbuji’s vision for the New Evangelizations Sisters (NES) is that they should engage in primary evangelization, catechesis, teaching, clinical services, spiritual animation, grassroots evangelization, home-to-home evangelization, outreach to schools, prisons street outreach, social services, health care, assisting families, empowering women, and caring for motherless children, the sick, widows and the home-bound elderly.
I fell in love with this agenda of Bishop Gbuji, and so joined the Sisters of the NES. When in 2013, the opportunity came for me to go to Botswana for Missionary work, I jumped at it with great excitement because I felt that my missionary activity was then extending beyond my own country, and enabling me too to “go into the whole world” to make disciples.
At the St, Bridget Catholic Mission in Botswana where I have been working for almost eight years I have found my fulfillment in working with children for whom I have a great passion, nurturing them in the love and fear of god and inculcating moral values in them. I teach them Bible stories, songs and hymns and teach them Catechism, and it is a great joy for me to see many of them receive the Sacraments of Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation and Reconciliation. It is so gratifying to see the enthusiasm of the children in their attendance of Sunday School, learning from me how to decorate the Altar and sanctuary and, sometimes, joining me for home-to-home pastoral visits. Some of them are members of the Vincentian Marian Youth sodality (VMY).