Democratic Republic of Congo - "Those unforgettable days in the Congo": interview with Peter Son Lam

23 July 2019

(ANS - Kinshasa) - Peter Son Lam, a Vietnamese missionary, received the Missionary Cross from the Rector Major in the context of the 148th Salesian Missionary Expedition in 2017. He is now completing his internship in Kinshasa.

What do you think of the missionary course done in Italy in 2017?

Together with the other confreres, coming from the 5 different continents, we encouraged each other to overcome all obstacles. In this sense, the course in Italy, in the presence of our superiors, was a precious experience, which helped me to consolidate a general vision of our Congregation. I understood that the Salesians have been and are always available to open up new horizons. Visiting the places where Don Bosco lived and studied, then, made me feel that Don Bosco himself was accompanying me to my mission land.

What were your first impressions of Africa?

In my opinion, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is a country with great potential with a good climate and extremely rich resources. However, political instability and ethnic conflicts have caused so much loss. The life of young people has become complicated and this is truly a huge challenge for the Salesians. That said, the first days in this land were the most unforgettable of my life. Sometimes I felt lonely, but I always recited the Rosary to find comfort in Our Lady. Fortunately, having studied French for a year, I quickly integrated into my new lifestyle.

What can we learn from young Africans?

During a conversation of the "Good Night" I spoke of the difficult childhood of Don Bosco, who had lost his father as a child and who had worked in the fields to help his family. When I finished, many young people did not believe it was a true story. In their minds, Europeans are always wealthy and it was impossible for this poor Piedmontese boy to have started our Congregation. Some children started talking, saying that Don Bosco had succeeded thanks to his determination. It is the same determination that I see in the Congolese youth. When they have a desire, they are determined and want to make it happen at all costs.

Do you have a message for young people who are evaluating the missionary vocation?

Dear brothers, I know that you have some concerns before such choices. It is never an easy job, but it is enough to believe in Mary Help of Christians and in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and then we shall see miracles!


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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