Excited, scared, determined, confused….any other emotion running through your mind? Well put them all together and that was the state of our minds when we left for Assam as a part of the #CFCISummerMissionCrew. Some of the Mission Crew members had already served in the prior missions, but for some, this was their first mission; to travel far away from home, comfort and family. This year’s mission to Assam was to guide the existing CFCI Youth members to grow together as a household. The Mission Crew members hailed from Assam, West Bengal, Goa and Mangalore; and were further divided into three teams to reach out fourteen villages in a time span of ten days.
The first team was set out to visit four villages; Panbhari, Helem, Kankatta and Orang, accompanied by two Full-Time Pastoral Workers, who helped in getting around these villages. The responses received from the youth in the villages were way beyond our imaginations. Every village had a great turn out of youth members reciprocating their eagerness to serve the Lord. And when they praised the Lord, they did it without ceasing and so loud that it was overwhelming and a blessing to witness. The mission was not just about giving sessions, but more about sharing how we have lived out these talks in our lives, the struggles we faced in our households and how as a community we have worked through it.
Assam seemingly has unpredictable weather; it either rained or it did not and this was a concern since it could hinder the program. But our Mighty Lord walked before us as we visited the villages and ceased it from raining till we reached the assigned villages.
The second team visited five villages; Toklong, Dirok 6, Dirok 25, Hatiali and Khetopathar. The youth in these villages were enthusiastic for any kind of service; be it spreading out mats in the chapels or helping the mission crew members to carry their bulky bags. From the 13-year old to 23 years old, all of them had a deep desire to be a part of the Lord’s service. In most of the villages, we were welcomed with faces beaming with excitement and eagerness, while in some we felt a tinge of resistance. It was in these places, we saw the power of intercession from a point where only five youth had reached for the program to a point where the Chapel was filled with youth, who didn’t want to go home even at 9 pm. Even the clouds seemed to throw a fit when we had to travel but they were forced to stop every time we prayed the rosary. This happened not once or twice but almost every single time we travelled.
The love and joy they share is something that needs a special mention. I still recall an instance; when we sat down at the dinner table with just one candle, not knowing what we were eating but still enjoying the meal like none other. It was in these villages that we experienced some little, rather not so little things that moved our hearts and helped us to grow, not only as a team but also as individuals.
The third team visited five villages; Khanjikowa, Madarhat, Singlijan, Philobari and Dhelaghat. In some of these villages, the youth members were quite active, while in some the meetings had stopped. Even though they had quite a few reasons not to, the youth were still interested in what was being taught and seemed very keen on attending the follow-up meetings. They were ready to learn and implement everything that was shared during the program, such as how a household meeting should be conducted.
The love that we received and their hospitality were quite overwhelming. From ‘Jai Yeshu’ to washing our hands and feet; from shy smiles to ‘bhaiya-didi mat jao’, from ‘hand pumps’ to ‘bamboo bathrooms’, Assam was a Mission that will always stay in our hearts forever.