AFRICA/IVORY COAST – Testimony of a lay missionary about her vocation

Bondoukou – “The vocation to be a lay missionary must be seen as a grace to be shared not only in words but through concrete, material and spiritual acts, with joy, sacrifice, conviction and a lot of passion”. This is what Annalisa Tognon writes, a lay missionary engaged in a large village in the Diocese of Bondoukou, in Ivory Coast.
“My service to Africa consists of giving my life to Christ and following Him in His mission”, Annalisa emphasizes.
“Currently – she continues – times are not easy here, in the extreme northeast of the Ivory Coast, on the border with Burkina Faso, which has become a target of jihadists. This is precisely why we are in a zone declared red because of the danger of terrorism that His Exc. Mgr Bruno Essoh Yedoh, Bishop of Bondoukou, and his Council, gave me the order to leave the mission of Tehini. Here, I was part of a pastoral team together with two local diocesan priests and Marie, one of the ladies of the Koulango ethnic group, originally from Yamadougou, a village near Bondoukou. She remained in Tehini, to ensure the presence and a certain number of services to the mission”.
The missionary explains that, for security reasons, since January 2020 she has lived in Bondoukou where she was entrusted with the visit to the sick of the Saint Camille Center, affiliated to the Association for the sick of Grégoire Ahongbonon. “The founder of the Center was Fr. Giacomo Bardelli, priest of the Society for African Missions , which began construction in 2001, a construction that I witnessed. However, for a few months now, the Bishop offered me another mission, in the village of Tambi, where the Nafana ethnic population lives, a branch of the great Senufo people, who live in the north of Ivory Coast. The village depends on the parish of the Cathedral and is some 40 km from Bondoukou, and 16 km from the border with Ghana. The Christian community of Tambi is not yet a Parish. A diocesan priest comes periodically from Bondouko to celebrate Mass there. Perhaps next year – God willing – it will become a quasi-parish with a resident priest”.
“My call as a lay person and as a missionary is specific and I well where God wants!” concludes the missionary.

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