Thirty-one years ago, when my family moved to the vicinity of Ampang, my children and I became regulars at the Chapel in Madonna Heights for the Sunday Mass. My interaction with the Sisters then was an occasional “Good Morning.” Little did I know that I was “spotted” by them.
In 1999, I was invited to some “serious sessions” together with a group of close friends. I began to learn about the life of St. Mary Euphrasia and her work. We were expected to chalk up a minimum percentage of attendance for the monthly meetings before we could be invited to be a Lay Associate. I thought, “Am I worthy? What does that mean to me?” Initially, I was reluctant to accept the invitation. For some unknown reason, I made a last minute decision to give it a try. From then on, there was no turning back. I developed a close relationship with the Sisters, assisting them whenever, and in whatever ways I could.
I started out by being their debt collector! The Sisters operated a sewing “business” to supply school uniforms to schools. There were outstanding sums of money due to them by several schools. Wearing a skin as thick as the school uniforms, I parked myself often enough in those schools until the management had no choice but to pay up! The entire debt collection took close to a year of work. The experience taught me that patience and perseverance do pay, literally! Naturally, I experienced a great sense of satisfaction and achievement. It was mission accomplished!
Not long after, I was “spotted” once more. This time, I was offered to take up the position of principal of Maryvale Kindergarten. It was supposed to be a temporary appointment. As it turned out, I remained the principal for close to nine years until its closure at the end of 2007. Throughout that period, there was always a voice telling me that I should stay with the kindergarten. I was “hooked”. Challenges and struggles were aplenty each school day. Nonetheless, I also felt a sense of fulfilment when positive changes were achieved. Furthermore, I had tons of opportunities, big and small, to share the Good Shepherd mission and values to the teachers, administrative staff, children and the parents as well.
My most memorable experience was the 3-day outreach project organised by the teachers and staff to serve 174 poor and marginalised children from 17 villages in Tenghilan, Sabah. That was in 2004. The joy on the faces of the children spoke of the love they experienced by our presence.
In November 2005, I was “spotted” yet again. I was asked to be the contact person for the Justice, Peace and Solidarity in Mission (JPSM) Office. “What on earth is that?” I had asked. A visit to the Social Justice Office in Melbourne cleared up my ignorance. Four months down the road, in March 2006, the JPSM Office for the province was set up at Madonna Heights. I was “hooked” once again. Together with the Good Shepherd people, I strive for social justice, respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
As a lay partner in the Good Shepherd mission, I have experienced the warmth, love compassion and life-giving spirit of the Good Shepherd Himself. I thank the Sisters for the many opportunities given to me to share in their mission. I must admit that I fell for it – hook, line and sinker!