By: Fr Beatus Volkmar Tola, SDB
The community life that I have lived has always guided me well until now, supported me when I was not well or I was sad. Another thing is the life of prayer. For me, the life of prayer is very important because in the environment of prayer I found my existence as a person who always needs God's help. Then I understood that God is speaking to me in many ways and listening to all my complaints, pains and joys. I always remember what our father Don Bosco often said: Vocations are preserved only through prayer; those who leave prayer will certainly leave their vocation.
The Brazil that I knew before my arrival was a great country, very famous for football. The first time I arrived in Brazil, I was confused because I did not understand what my brothers and my Salesian people were saying around me. I spent my first year of practical formation in the village of Boeri-Bororo, Meruri (Mato Gross). The first time I went there, the Bororo welcomed me with great joy; obviously they expected me to give them something. So I took up the challenge because, first of all, I still did not know how to speak or understand the Portuguese language. Later, I was with people who had a different culture and language from Portuguese. With these limitations, therefore, I chose to listen, listen and act. Listening and acting, I tried to participate in all the activities, both those organized by Salesians and by the indigenous leaders themselves. The other interesting thing was when I participated in the rituals of their culture. I remember the day of the Indians when the Bororo and I went to the forest to collect various materials (firewood, palm leaves, fruit to paint, etc.).
During the time I stayed with them, I was able to learn how to work together, respect their culture and understand more deeply that there was hope. When I speak of hope in this context, I think it is a value that will always be a source of strength for the young Bororo in pursuit of their great dreams which, meanwhile, many people doubt. Their reality and their dreams always inspire my faith and hope, that there is always the possibility of better days.
My interest in becoming a missionary started with an article on the adventures and hard work of Salesians in Sudan who work to help the oppressed and neglected. I read this news as an aspirant. What motivated me to become a missionary is that I listened to and followed my conscience: "Go to that place, do not be afraid, do what you can. The rest, God shall complete!"
For young people, or Salesians, who wish to follow the missionary call that I am living, I would say: "Listen and follow your conscience and then take your decision in prayer! When you understand what it means to listen, you come to know many realities that need your love, especially the reality of the young, the poor and the abandoned.They need your love to listen."