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03.02.2016 15:17:12 8354x read.
Living the Spirit of the Congregation as a missionary in Malawi, Africa.

Living the Spirit of the Congregation as a missionary in Malawi, Africa
Bro. Martinus Dariyo FIC.
We are proud of you; go and serve the nation.
The missionary zeal was implanted in my heart when I was a student at van Lith Teacher Training College in Muntilan. In that first year, it was a transition period of change of name from Xaverius Senior Teacher School (SGA Xaverius) to van Lith Teacher Training College (SPG van Lith). It was a big feast to witness the birth of SPG van Lith in 1967. The motto : “Api van Lith dinyalakan diseluruh Nusantara” or “The Spirit of van Lith is lit throughout the country” was born, and printed on the wall of the recreation hall of the College. Every Saturday evening, all students gathered at the hall to take part in “group discussion” and the topic was selected especially on “burning issues” related to society, politics and religion.
Bro. Aristides Huitjens, then  principal of the college was the main actor of all these activities. Before discussions he gave an introduction to the topic, and for him,  this was the time to “deliver the mission” or the “values” which should be carried out in our lives. These messages were based on the ideas and experiences of father van Lith , the founder of the mission in Java. This idea of “empowering the locals” has already passed the test. The spirit of  Muntilan Mission has spread all over the country. The first Indonesian bishop urged us  “to be 100 % Indonesian, and 100% Catholic”. This is the expansion of the  idea of “empowering the locals” practised by Fr. van Lith, maintained and developed by Brothers FIC especially those who taught me in Muntilan.
One of the core ideas of mission deepened during my three-year teacher training in Muntilan namely, the  great commission based on the Gospel of Matthew 28: 19-20: “Go and make disciples of all nations….. and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you……….” As young people, we talked and discussed this matter again and again, and later each one of us had to decide where to go and become “domestic missionaries”. I was baptized in the third year of my teacher training. My elder brother, the product of “Xaverius Teacher Training” left Java island and served the people in the mainland of Papua. I left Java Island to serve in Borneo and later, my younger brother left Java island to serve the people in Riau islands. The process of  “teaching people” is simplified. First, learning from the people, and later giving back to the people what we have learned from them, with additional spices. The word “spices” refers to the values of our Congregation, of our founders, the Gospel values etc.  
When I did my teaching at Borneo school, majority of pupils were Chinese. Others were Dayaks, Javanese, Malays (Muslims),  and even Madurees (Muslims). We delivered the Gospel messages through their way of thinking and living. After two years of teaching I went home to Java and joined the FIC Brothers. Here at the  pre-novitiate,  I met a brother- teacher who had a similar idea with that of van Lith and Aristides Huitjens. “Be an international man”. This is the sentence repeated again and again by Bro. Veronus van Hoogstraten, an English teacher at the pre-Novitiate in Muntilan. Of course as an English teacher, the meaning of this message is that the learners must be able to speak English as an international way of communicating. But in his teaching he explored far more than that. He said, the meaning of the word  ”international” refers to  “universal values”  such as  “respect”, “love”, “understanding” etc.,  that could be expressed through other languages and cultures. Once we develop these values, we are able to live with others regardless of their tribe, race, nationality or religion. In short, we can go beyond our own boundaries.
“We are proud of you; go and serve the nation”, is the commission given to the Malawian student teachers where I taught before. Usually, this message was displayed on the wall of the hall as part of the decoration during the annual graduation ceremony. The first part of the sentence "We are proud of you"  is related to the mission stated in our Constitutions number one “Being truly human, that is how we see the mission of our lives”. In the process of learning and teaching the learners are given the chance to discover their talents, explore them, develop and deepen them. From this process each learner will feel confident and have  a high self-esteem. It is the fruit of “empowering the locals” and it should continue with the second part of the sentence "Go and serve the nation". Our talents should be shared with others in the form of teaching or educating people. In this activity, the learners should be the subject of our attention.
New Adventure
In the beginning of 2015, after teaching in the teacher training college for 25 years, I wrote a letter to the Ministry of Education, applying for “retirement” as I had gone beyond the age of retirement in Malawi, that is 60 years. In mid April 2015, I got a letter of transfer, from Blantyre Teacher Training College to Montfort  Special Needs of Education College,  with the assignment “to teach Creative Arts” at the School for the Deaf. This is completely a new adventure and my job is to start learning at the age of 64. I am motivated by three FIC brothers who started serving the deaf children at their old age. They are  Bros. Alcuino Willems, Hortensius Meeuws and  Ludwin Speth.
Bro. Alcuino Willems in Indonesia, after teaching for many years at the teacher training college, retired and started learning from Scratch how to teach deaf children and later set up a special needs education  school. He was the founder of Pangudi Luhur Deaf School in Jakarta.   Bros.  Hortensius Meeuws and Bro. Ludwin Speth in Malawi, did the same thing. They were the founders of the School of the Deaf Children in Maryview and Mua respectively, and so this is my turn to take part and to continue what has  been built. The stories   go on……...  

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