EUROPE/PORTUGAL - From Slovenia to WYD through Madagascar, Turkey, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Kenya

Friday, 4 August 2023 world youth day   missionary animation   missionaries  

Lisbon (Fides News Agency) - Klemen, Špela and Zala, coming from Slovenia, are part of the over one million boys and girls who are meeting up in Lisbon in the coming days for World Youth Day (WYD) with the Holy Father. A much desired and eagerly awaited event by all three, as an opportunity to deepen their walk of faith, as well as a unique opportunity to pray and share with their peers.
They are not just united by WYD, but by a missionary journey undertaken thanks to the "Pota" program. "I went to Madagascar and Turkey - Klemen Kraševec recounts -. Mine was a material kind of support, from the fixing of vehicles to that of a dentist's chair, "mixed" with sharing my free time with the local youths, playing soccer, dancing, singing and forming friendly relations with them in general. I took in everything around me, the different culture and environment, diametrically opposed relational dynamics".
During these trips Klemen switched between moments of deep crisis and experiencing "Grace". "Being in a church on the other side of the world, sitting amidst the locals and praying to the same God in different languages" - Klemen explains, and "realizing, though it may sound banal, that you assume you've come to help whereas you still have much to learn, to improve in your relationship with God, and that these kinds of experiences increase your desire to do so".
For Špela Vrtačnik, who after WYD will be flying to Kazakhstan, the two missionary undertakings in Ukraine and Madagascar, respectively dedicated to helping a center for the homeless and a Children's Ministry, were also very powerful: "Within me I carry the faces of all the missionaries I met, the examples of gratuitous love, understanding and patience that I can never forget".
For Zala Žnidarič who, since she was a child, had always wanted a missionary experience, what she lived in Kenya last year was an unforgettable adventure. "We worked with street kids, deaf kids and children with rare pathologies - Zala explains - . I clearly perceived how much our visit meant to them as time went by and the bond between us grew, like the authenticity that characterized it. The strong reliance I perceived in the people I met had a very significant impact on me, every day the Gospel turned to living flesh through those brothers and sisters".
(EG) (Fides News Agency 4/08/2023)