Guilermo from Madrid reflects on his pastoral experience in Zimbabwe

Guillermo Rajas Thomas
After almost a year of pastoral experience in Zimbabwe, I have been able to engage in several activities: These include: catechesis with the school girls of St. Dominic’s school, Spanish lessons with our novices, recollections preached to various schools. Lately, I have been working with the postulants who joined us a few months ago teaching them about the saints, blesseds and martyrs of the Congregation.
If among all the works that I have done, I had to choose only one, that would certainly be the pastoral experience I had living with the Claritian Missionaries. I had the beautiful chance to live, work and know Zhomba Mission, a mission run by the Claretians in a rural area of Gokwe called Chitekete. It was my first time in a rural area with that sort of conditions. I was really surprised by the arid and dry conditions as well as and the extremely hot weather conditions. It is very difficult to access Chitekete due to the ragged road, full of potholes in addition to free ranging cattle.
I don’t really know where to begin telling my experience there, there are so many extraordinary things that I experienced. However, what impressed me most are the following.
First of all, the way of life lead by the Claretian community there is truly humble. They are a committed and missionary community entirely devoted to the evangelization of the peoples of that isolated and apparently neglected area.
During my stay in Chitekete I visited some families in their “mushas” (homes) and blessed them. I visited the St. Anthony Mary Claret Primary School that the Claretians have built (in fact, they are still building it up). I also helped in ministering to a youth gathering that was taking place. I gave some conferences to the youth on faith, the Eucharist, the community and the sacrament of the reconciliation.
As Redemptorist in formation, this pastoral experience in the rural areas was a great motivation to me. It was a unique chance to enrich and strengthen my vocation as a missionary. It was an opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to work with the most abandoned and the poor. It was above all a reassurance of my call Redemptorist.