“We preach with joy for joy.””
The Slovenian missionary, a member of the South African Province. p. Janez Mujdrica DJ, writes:
First of all, a warm greeting from Zambia! I want to briefly describe the meaning of being a missionary in today’s world. Why did I become a missionary in Zambia? And why should you also do missionary work at home, in Slovenia?
I became a missionary 49 years ago when I was sent to Zambia by the Slovenian Catholic Church so I could spread the Gospel there. Gospel is a Greek word that means “good news”! There are as many as three missionaries from our village of Bratonci:: the other two are Jože Mlinarič, who did his missionary work in Burundi, and Marija Sreš, who has been a missionary in India for 40 years. Both returned home and now continue their work in Slovenia.
I am proud to be a Slovenian missionary. Why? I work together with the Irish missionaries here. The Irish have their own country and are a bigger nation than Slovenia; however, they speak English and not Irish, even though they spent many more years under British rule than we did under Germans and Hungarians. We Slovenians are tough people indeed! In the Prekmurje dialect, we would call ourselves “trdleki” (the hard ones, TN.)
What do I do in Zambia? I teach religious education at a Catholic university and spread the good news this way. We are unfamiliar with religious education in Slovenia because religion was considered conservative during our previous political regime. I say the opposite: religion, especially Christianity, is the most beautiful thing, the good news bringing the fullness of life.
I teach six subjects. My work mainly emphasizes three things: 1. We are wonderfully made; 2. We are God’s image, and 3. God loves us beyond words.
I like to stress how creation was wonderfully developed in my subject, science and religion. At the beginning of the Universe, there were clouds of hydrogen which slowly turned into stars, where all other elements, such as oxygen, carbon and iron, were made under extremely high temperatures and pressure. Unicellular life, which began on our planet four billion years ago, was becoming increasingly sophisticated and, finally, the first people appeared in Africa 200 hundred thousand years ago. Your development in your mother’s body symbolises how all creation points toward an even more significant story. The author of creation and its director is God, a wonderful power, wisdom and goodness. You are indeed wonderfully made!
In psychology and religious education, I tell you that your brain is the most significant achievement of the evolution of the Universe. Billions and billions of brain cells cooperate and create your thoughts, desires and emotions. You are aware of the self and can think critically and creatively. This way, you cooperate with God, building a better life and world. Jesus, our God incarnated, is the wisest and the kindest man ever walking the Earth. As Christians, we follow Jesus, striving to be as beautiful as Him.
In the Christianity course, I explain Jesus’ words about God being our “abba,” which means Father. Our God is full of father-goodness and love. The Scripture says you are written in God’s heart – He is constantly thinking of you. Even if your earthly father forgets you, God will never forget you. You are eternally His.
I emphasize in the course that Allah is very different from Jesus’ Abba: Allah is the Lord, and people are his slaves. The word Islam means complete obedience. How significant is the difference between Jesus’ and Muhammad’s God?
Our God is indeed an incredible power, wisdom and goodness. As a missionary, I stress that God gives our lives deep meaning and joy during my lessons and preaching. Generally, life is beautiful and good. A Canadian author, John Kehoe, says that the media spreads 95 % of negative news. The truth is the opposite: 95 % of positive things exist. Of course, there are, for example, car accidents happening, but there are also thousands of successful drives for each accident. We should have a much more positive outlook to experience joy with a brighter smile.
Dear Slovenian brother and sister, Let God not only be some unclear idea but also the most beautiful person, full of power, wisdom, and love. Spread this good news in Slovenia, just as I do in Zambia. May God be with you!