(ANS – Castelnuovo Don Bosco) – Next Sunday, September 25, the solemn and evocative rite of sending off the departing members of the Salesian Missionary Expedition will be repeated for the 153rd time. As this appointment approaches, a series of interviews with the Salesians who will receive the Missionary Cross on that occasion from the hands of the Rector Major, Fr. Ángel Fernández Artime, begins today on ANS. Today inaugurating that journey is young Korean Paul Hoon Kang, destined for the Salesian presence in Mongolia.
What prompted you to apply to become a missionary?
The aspiration to get closer to Jesus Christ following Don Bosco’s way. In other words, it’s the longing to deeply experience God in the midst of the lives and cultures of the poor young people at the mission field as a Son of Don Bosco.
How did people close to you react to your missionary choice?
When I expressed my dream of a missionary vocation, of course, my family and many confreres were saddened by my departure and worried about me. However, after looking at my discernment journey and listening to my vocational journey, most of them promised prayers and support for me. Once again, I would like to thank my parents, family and my dear confreres for accepting this decision.
As a Salesian brother, Blessed and soon-to-be Saint Artemis Zatti had a great missionary spirit in his apostolate – the clinic. Do you also feel passionate in this aspect?
I believe there is a strong passion in me for evangelization within myself. I am ready to accept any ministries that will be assigned by my Superior. Sure, I hope I can work for young people, especially those who are most in need there.
You are about to be sent to Mongolia: are you happy with this destination? Do you have any doubts or fears about the new reality…? Do you feel ready to face the challenges of a new culture, to learn a new language?
To be honest, I got confused the first time when I listened to the news that I will be sent to Mongolia for I am somewhat weak to coldness. But after deep discernment in my prayer with my spiritual accompaniment and superiors, I realized that this is the great gift prepared from God for me. And then, I was caught up in a longing to go to Mongolia and encounter with Mongolian young people. Now I am happy and filled with gratitude, excitement, and joy for my missionary journey.
Do you have any missionary role models you want to imitate or follow?
In fact, for me, only Don Bosco is the model for my Salesian missionary. Just as he left rural Becchi and experienced the fullness of his vocation among young people of diverse backgrounds and cultures in the metropolitan city of Turin, I would like to live the same way. I want to live more fully in the Salesian vocation itself than looking for anything else specifically for the life of a missionary. I want to find Christ through the eyes of Don Bosco in those I will face on the mission field. I want to encounter with them with the heart of Don Bosco and become like the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ.
What message do you want to send to young people regarding the missionary vocation?
Become a Salesian of Don Bosco if you want to have a pleasant encounter with God in your daily life.
Become a Salesian if you want to live with the living Jesus among the poor young people.
Become a Salesian missionary if you want to further meet and experience God more deeply.
Become a Salesian missionary if you want to discover and meet Christ through the eyes of Don Bosco every day.
I promise that this Salesian missionary vocation will be the greatest gift from God you will ever receive.
Published in ANS: https://www.infoans.org/en/sections/interviews/item/16225-italy-listening-to-the-voices-of-missionaries-fr-paul-hoon-kang-departing-with-153rd-salesian-missionary-expedition