A new year is on the horizon

Since December 2018, we, the Missionaries of Africa, have taken the time to give thanks to God for our experience since 1868, to live intensely our present and to look with hope and optimism at our future in the service of the African world, a world that is now established in all continents. Here in Canada, the feeling that inspires us is one of gratitude to our families, friends and local Churches for the gift of their sons to the great mission of proclaiming the Good News to the men and women of the African world. In several dioceses, beginning in Montreal on December 8, 2018 and ending in Quebec City on December 8, 2019, brothers and sisters, Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of Africa (White Sisters), usually from the place, went to say "thank you" for having trusted us and allowed us to answer His call: "Come and follow me, and I will send you to bring the Good News to the ends of the earth".

The great virtue that a missionary very quickly learns to recognize as essential to develop in his life is patience. Didn't a confrere say that the three most important virtues for a missionary are patience, patience and patience! It is it that has allowed us to look with the eyes of our hearts at the people we have met over the years and never lose hope in a more human, fraternal and spiritual world.

Already, we are watching the great feasts surrounding the birth of Jesus, our Savior, approaching. We are preparing for it with the help of John the Baptist, reminding ourselves of his words: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight..."  (Lk 3:4). After looking through God's eyes at what we have experienced so far, let us turn to the year 2020 and ask the Lord: "What do you expect from us? You can count on us." Jesus' message can be summed up in two words: Love and Service. When you love, actions are more important than words: "It is not those who say: Lord, Lord, who will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father..." (Matthew 7:21). It is up to everyone to find their own way to love and serve in 2020!

The articles we read in this issue of the Letter to Friends can help us to listen to the Lord's calls for the coming year. You will certainly read with interest the testimony of our colleague Roger Tessier who returned from Nairobi, Kenya, at the age of 90, and this short text on patience written by another elder, Gérard Grimonpont (94) from France. With the project we present to you in this issue, you can let your imagination run wild and transport yourself to a rural African area where the resources are still, unfortunately, very limited. 

In closing, I ask the God of Mission to bless you with blessings throughout the year 2020. May this another decade that is beginning be marked by more justice, peace and attention to ecology. 

Réal Doucet, Provincial of the Americas