Witness to a Transfiguration in Kenya

Our guest writer is Michele Miers, in ministry with The Pontifical Mission Societies (TPMS) in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Michele writes about her mission trip to Kenya.

"After an airless, hot experience of visiting the sick of Makuru, we went to Saint Mary's Parish, located in a beautiful mountain oasis that reminded me of the story of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. I felt God's presence the second I set foot in this parish. A choir of angels sang; all were dancing, praising the Lord.

In a language that escaped me, the meaning was clear: "God, we love You, please, hear our prayer!"

Despite the sweltering heat, everyone was dressed in their Sunday best: crisp white shirts, ties, hand-made skirts, and simple dresses adorned each person. I wondered how they kept their clothes clean in a village without electricity or running water.

The love for God the faithful had was palpable during the three-hour Mass. They praised Him in every motion, with every word. A group of young dancers praised to the choir music's rhythm. Everyone glorified the Lord! It was easy to forget that this incredible spiritual experience was taking place in a poorly ventilated church, with no fans!

Just when I thought the experience couldn't be more moving, the climax: a young boy held high on a man's shoulders, lifted the Book of God's Word. They came marching down the center aisle. This procession, visible from all corners, spoke volumes: "God is with us in His Word, listen."

I couldn't help feeling like the great fathers of the Church, Moses and Elijah, must have felt during the Transfiguration when Jesus was presented to them as the Son of God. In this extraordinary Mass in Kenya, I felt all three figures were alive and present.

The contrast between the suffering of the poor and the joy and deep faith during Mass at Saint Mary's poses many questions. One can easily understand how the Eucharist can be such a life-transforming experience. But to this day, I struggle: how it is possible that so many in the world live in the conditions I witnessed. Why can't we fix it? And yes, even 'where is God amidst this much suffering and injustice?'

My visit to Kenya forever changed my life and helped me to better understand that we are all called, by our baptism, to be missionaries and to 'go and make disciples of all nations,' witnessing to and giving testimony of our faith. And we are each called to answer this command in different ways. As my good friend and fellow TPMS director, Maureen Heil from Boston, says, 'Some give by going, others go by giving.' And sometimes, we get to do both!"