We, Fr. Antony Chomba and Fr. Caius take this opportunity to thank God for the opportunity we received to come to Asia and in particular in Taiwan, for the mission. When we received the news from our Superiors, we were enthusiastic and ready to embrace the new mission. Immediately we started the process of documents. The only challenge by then was our mission came at the time of the Pandemic and this made it a bit challenging for traveling.
To come to Taiwan, we had to pass through Italy first to learn the Italian language (since it is the language of the Institute) but also the Embassy of Taiwan is in Vatican. Unfortunately, by then, Taiwan was closed due to Covid 19, and this made us to stay in Italy for one year and three months (From February 2021 to May 2022).
At last Taiwan was open for a short period and we managed to apply. Our Visa went through, and we arrived in Taiwan on the 1st of June 2022. Immediately we began the two weeks mandatory quarantine (outside the Consolata community). First week in the Hotel (as per the Government regulations) and the second week at the Bishop’s Curia. After having successfully finished the quarantine, we joined the Consolata Community at Ximen street on 17th of June 2022. On the 19th of the same month, we joined the Parish Community in the celebration of the Consolata Feast. It was during this Feast that we were introduced to the Parish community.
The Consolata Feast usually take place on the 20th of June annually but it was anticipated in order to celebrate with the Parishioners. The Christians from St. Joseph the worker Hsinpu Parish also joined us in the celebration (St. Joseph the worker Hsinpu Parish is pastorally taken care by the Consolata Missionaries).
There were also some Priests, Nuns and Christians from neighboring Parishes who came to celebrate with us.
On this very day of Our Consolata Feast, Fr. Odhiambo Mathews took an oath to the office of regional Superior and officially began exercising his duties as the Regional Superior of Asia. As the Consolata Missionaries, we also renewed our religious vows and commitment to the service of the Church.
The Christians welcomed the two of us well and we felt at home, we felt part of the community. We appreciate our Consolata confrères for the welcome and the orientation to the life of the community and the context of Taiwan.
It was indeed a colorful celebration of our Consolata Feast. We had a beautiful Holy Mass which began the day. It was attended by many Christians and there was a beautiful singing. After Holy Mass, we proceeded to the entertainment by various groups. All was so interesting.
Some challenges we experienced in the new mission land
Some of the challenges we experienced just from the start include the time difference, the language, culture, among others. On the part of the language, of course, it was our first time in Taiwan and to enter in the context of Chinese. The language was strange for us and communication became a problem. The Bishop gave us the new names in Chinese. From then onwards Father Caius became 姬凱思, 神父, and Father Antony became 昌安道, 神父. The Chinese names were even hard to pronounce, for the first time we were forgetting our own names and could not even pronounce them well. The Consolata Feast was our first Chinese Mass to attend and in the whole Mass we only captured the Word “Maliya” (瑪利亞) meaning Mary and “Yesu Jidu”（耶穌 基督）meaning Jesus Christ, the rest was all sounds without understanding.
We began the Chinese Classes on the 20th of June 2022, just three weeks after arriving in Taiwan. Although the language is challenging, we had to be hopeful because at least we began expressing ourselves slowly by slowly.
On the side of culture, Taiwan people have a number of practices which make them unique, for instance their religion, food, dances and so on. There is a variety of food in Taiwan, for example rise, which seems to be the main food and others like meat, greens and many more.
On the time difference we suffered a bit. Kenya is one hour difference a head of Italy or two hours at some point. But coming to Taiwan there was a five-hour difference ahead of Kenya. So, the first days we struggled with the time of sleeping and time of waking up. One finds himself awake the whole night and the sleep comes in the morning at 5am. We were lucky this happened at the time of our quarantine, so we had time to adapt. We slowly started entering into the system and the context.
We would like to thank God for this opportunity to carry the message of the Gospel in Taiwan, but again to experience the evangelization in the Asian Continent. May God’s will be done, we surrender everything to God and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. We thank the Consolata family for embracing us in a brotherly manner. We thank the Bishop of Hsinchu Diocese (where we are stationed for the mission). We appreciate his welcome into the Diocese and taking care of us in accommodation and studies. We also thank all the people who in one way or another have welcomed us and helped us to enter into the context of the Asian/Taiwan culture and Mission.
We place ourselves together with the Christians, under the care of Our Lady Consolata and Blessed Joseph Allamano, may they intercede for us so that our mission may be fruitful. Together in prayer.
Fr. Caius Kiage Moindi IMC (姬凱思, 神父)
Fr. Antony Chomba IMC (昌 安道, 神父)