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Bidayuh seminarian shares his story

Henry Anak Jimbey:  I am a Bidayuh from Bau, Sarawak, baptized and confirmed in the parish of St Stephen’s Church, which comes under the Archdiocese of Kuching.

Before entering the seminary, I taught Mathematics for upper secondary students at SMK Lake, Bau for 16 years. I obtained a degree in Planning and Management from Unimas in 1997 and from UPM in 2007, my Master in Corporate Communication. In 1999, I obtained a Diploma in Education which made me a qualified teacher. Since then, I was posted to SMK Lake which is only 10 minutes from my home.

At the same time, I was actively involved in parish activities and heading various ministries such as the Parish Youth Movement, Legion of Mary, the Parish Council, etc. Though I was experienced and enjoyed my daily life as teacher, I still felt that something was missing in my life until I made up my mind to join the Seminary in 2013.

On entering Initiation Year (IY) early 2014, I thought I was ready to be formed. I thought I was well-prepared and above all, I thought I was good! For the first two months, I had a hard time adjusting my life, my academics and my daily routine as a seminarian. With the help of my formators, especially Fr Michael Modoit, I was able to let myself be moulded slowly through the year.  I began to see more clearly my journey towards priesthood.

I could recall from one of our monthly recollections, how we were reminded to balance ourselves in whatever we do (study, prayer etc.), and to make an effort to reflect on what we have done throughout the day. I took this seriously, and soon, for each time that I made a mistake or being taken to task, I was able to reflect on it and to see my mistakes as a way to improve the self.

As it happened, the monthly recollection became one of my favourite programs.  Through the input given, I could sense that God is constantly speaking his Word to us and inspiring us through his Spirit. This is the time given us to seek God through meditation. Meditation enabled me to experience the love of God and how it could change me. Meditation also reminded me of my vocation and geared me up to offer myself freely as the best dough for Him so that He could mould me according to His will.

The most memorable experience to me was the discipline of silent retreats where we were not allowed to speak for more than 12 hours, but only to meditate and to let God do the talking. What a challenge!

Archbishop John Wong reminded us in one of his lectures that we must always pray that we do not stray from God because God never abandons us. Though a very simple reminder, it struck deep in my heart, and from that moment on, whenever I receive the Holy Communion, I say to the Lord, “God, never let me go astray from you.”

I also realized the way of greatness is not about being greeted in marketplaces or places of honour at banquets or seats of honour in the church or any church activity. Rather, it is achieved through service, humility and gentleness of heart. Jesus shows us the way.  St Francis made it clearer, who urges us to follow the example of Jesus.

I also had been nurtured by the spirit of prayer, especially the Rosary. I was reminded that when we pray, we are to pray for others. We must pray for others especially those who are alien to us.

There is always a new experience for each new day in IY. Whether good or bad experience, therein lies some hidden treasure.  There were so many things to explore and my spiritual year here in IY could be likened to a rose that was ready to blossom. Above all, my Rector taught me to stay humble and to live my life according to God’s will. I realized that I need God to lead me even in the simplest thing and to become childlike to please God through my deeds and actions.  Looking back to my life in IY, instead of saying “I thought I was good!” now I would heartily say “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit”.

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