♦ By Joseph Ho Xuan Huong, DWT in Sai Gon, Vietnam
OTP is an Oversee Training Program organized by the SVD Congregation for confreres after their philosophy studies. It is a beneficial two-year period for all confreres who will do their missions in the future.
I remember a saying of Saint Paul: “How can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent?” (Rm 10,14–15), and I wonder how they will be sent without being trained? Therefore, two-year foreign practicum is a good opportunity to gain more knowledge and experience about the people, culture, geography and missionary matters.
On November 25, 2022, two confreres of SVD Vietnam province, Joseph Nguyễn Văn Đạt and Peter Đặng Hữu Khanh, who have come back from Colombia and Ghana recently, shared with our community about their valuable experiences with a hope that their knowledge will be a useful source for other confreres.
Colombia and Ghana come to mind clearly through the vivid images: the friendly people, the harsh climate, the diverse cuisine, the slums beside high-rise buildings, living faith in dilapidated chapels, the rough roads imprinted by missionaries’ foot steps. Moreover, there are the moments of loneliness, tears of wounds, and the suffering of failure which can make missionaries feel discouraged or give up. Therefore, OTP may become a “passion” consisting of both happiness and challenge.
Thanks to their sharing, I’ve realized that being a missionary necessitates not only knowledge, health, and other skills but also strong faith. A missionary has to believe that God will always be with him in both success and failure. As a result, God never abandons us but we do.