Sharing: Shamian and Haikou

After leaving dormitory, I was staying at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Shamian-Guangzhou for two weeks. Sr. Chen of the Chinese Sisters of Immaculate Conception, who are usually staying at Cathedral, is moving in temporarily to accompany me besides the permanent residents of the Church: Fr. Peter and the security.
Sr. Chen and I usually prayed the Mandarin Divine Office before Cantonese Mass in the morning, after lunch and after supper besides Divine Mercy Prayer and Rosary. I read so slowly besides I can’t read all the Chinese characters. There is a parishioner who also joins us in the morning prayers. On Saturdays, Sr. Chen and I clean the sacristy and several people from Huiling are hired to clean the Church and first floor of rectory. Sr. Chen and I also cleaned the choir place, small chapel and meeting room once during my stay.
Most of the time, Sr. Chen cooked for us. Sometimes Fr. Peter cooked besides the parishioners. I helped in washing the dishes and prepared the table. I fried bean curd with egg and then showed how to eat with hand, it’s their first time to see it; one of the parishioners tried it and said it’s more delicious. After daily mass which including a recessional song, a song for Mather Mary and several prayers; several parishioners say their rosary and then two-three parishioners joined our breakfast. Once in a while I went to the market by bike, it’s has been a long time I didn’t ride a bike in a big road, at first I used to stop it by using my feet and I was not so balanced.
I attended Cantonese Bible Sharing on Wednesdays evening, Mandarin Bible Sharing on Fridays evening and Mandarin RCIA on Sundays morning after the Cantonese (mixed with Mandarin songs and sometimes with Mandarin homily) Mass. Several people from Huiling sang and had lunch together on Jul 15 so I had a chance to talk with one of the “mothers”.
Two elderly women and I accompanied Sr. Chen gave Holy Communion to two deaf elderly women in a nursing home. After that we visited another elderly woman nearby. We also visited Immaculate Heart of Mary Church or Henan Church and the two houses built by Guangzhou Diocese for the two elderly women as they should move out from elderly home in Shamian Church compound.
I had a chance to listen to several young people’s stories, both Indonesian and Chinese, including how did they become Catholics and also pray with them.
Most of the time, I stayed at Church compound which has four buildings: Church; two floors convent; three floors rectory including kitchen and dining room; and one floor hall including classroom and room for the security. Once a while, I went out either walking around Shamian island with Sr. Chen and/or a parishioner, or going to Sun Yat-sen University to pick up my certificate, repair my luggage and meet friends, or going to train station to buy ticket to Haikou. I had a chance to read Catholicism for Dummies and prepare the booklet for my renewal of vows.
As Tulus asked me to join a meal in a Vietnamese restaurant with Indonesians, I suggested have meals together in Shamian because Fr. Peter usually invites several young people to cook and eat together. Fortunately, Fr. Peter also wanted to invites Indonesians to have meal together, he helps the Indonesians a lot. The best time for Fr. Peter and I was Jul 16. Several Indonesian students came earlier to cook “tahu telur” (=fried bean curb and egg) and “pecel” (=Indonesian salad with peanut dressing). Lina, came with her two children and her younger sister besides bringing “mie goreng” (=fried noodle) and “kari daging sapi kentang” (=meat and potato in turmeric sauce). Fr. Peter cooked stir and fry vegetable and meat and also prepared cucumber and paprika in vinegar salad and fruit salad. There were 24 of us besides Sr. Giovanna who holy coincidencely came earlier for Adoration, Gao Zai, Allison and two Indonesians who came late.
The next day I helped the summer program for the kids at Cathedral. It’s a two weeks programme, in which the children-baptized and non-baptized-study, eat, play, and sleep at the Cathedral compound. As I walked to the room of Sr. Mary Clare to ask what I can help, she asked me to accompany a boy, who asked to go home since the day before. A laywoman was also accompanying, finally his father came to pick him up after supper.
Joanna came on my last day in Shamian and then we stopped at dormitory to pick up part of my belongings. For sure, I learn a lot from my staying in Shamian Church, including practicing Putonghua and listening Cantonese.
I am so grateful for the generosity of the Chinese Sisters of the Immaculate Conception and Fr. Peter to share life, prayer and ministry in Shamian Church.
A friend asked me to accompany her to go to Haikou since last summer. Finally I informed that I would be available on Jul 18-20. She paid the most part of our trip. We arrived at the Banana Hostel around 4.30 am instead of 2.00 am because the train was late. I try to sleep during the trip but I still could hear when the AC was turn off and noisy voice outside (later on I knew that they separated several trains as the train would be on the boat from Haian to Haikou). After resting for a while, we visited Clock Tower, Holiday Beach, and before sunset we visited White Sand Beach Fr. Peter gave contact of Luo Hong so I got the schedule for the daily mass 8.00 am and Sunday Mass 9.30 am and the address of the Church, unfortunately she was going out of Haikou. The next morning, I attended the Mandarin Mass at a newly built Sacred Heart Church, which are theatre seating (higher in the back) with four-five floors and eight screens. There were four lay persons and a Sacred Heart sister from Beijing attending the Mass besides two priests (one priest was a guest from Hebei). Fr. Yang was going to Guangzhou There are Guangzhou Diocese printed materials in Mandarin e.g. song books and the order of the Mass. After that, we visited Haikou Park and Xiuying Bus Station and West Train Station as we wanted to leave earlier by bus and refund our train tickets (95%). Our bus schedule was 6.00 pm. After settling down for a while in the bus, we were asked to walk to ferry terminal and finally left the ferry terminal at 8.00 pm. It’s a big ferry with buses, big trucks and cars besides hundreds of passengers. We arrived in Guangzhou South Railway Station before 6.00 am.
After resting for a while and packing my belongings, I went to Guangzhou East Train Station to see Allison and Gao Zai. I went to Shenzhen with Allison and then I continued my trip to Hong Kong.

Guangzhou, 13 Aug, 2012

Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.

Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible