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In 2016, following Canon Fragelli’s invitation, we landed with our six children, ages 3, 5, 8, 10, 12 and 13at the Mission Sainte Thérèse in Mouila. We had been invited to give witness as a Christian family while volunteering in this little paradise for a month. We were humbled by this calling, our family being far from perfect! Once there, we put ourselves at the service of one another: housework, structural work, supervision of children, work as artists, etc... In Africa, all talents are useful, even those we don't even suspect to have! There is never a lack of work at the Mission! And all this is done at the rhythm of the sacramental life of the Mission: daily Mass, rosaries, Adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, prayers, etc... 

As soon as we arrived, our children bonded with pretty much everyone and learned a lot from the extraordinary resourcefulness of the Gabonese children; the boys shared their time with the soccer team and helped with other tasks; Thaïs danced with the majorettes and helped the ladies; the little ones did the dishes and sang! It was as if they had been living there forever! 

Bénédicte discovered the extraordinary courage of the Gabonese women, prayed, sang, danced and talked a lot with them. Emmanuel helped out in a variety of manual work and did what he does best...the daddy! Responsible and always at the service. 

We returned to France persuaded that: 

- mission is a call to give oneself joyfully but also to receive a lot. 

- mission is not an escape. Human relations are the same there as in the Western world, same struggles, same consolations, even though life does not have as many of our conveniences. If one comes to Africa to escape a complicated situation, worries or to seek rest, then the experience of the mission can backfire. One will not set a good example to the locals eitherIn a word, one has to be well balanced. 

- the prayer and work life are challenging. Obedience to the canon who is like a father figure at the Mission, and obedience to the rule of Mission's life are fundamental to perfectly help the mission and their peoples. 

A piece of our heart remained there: memories of the odors, the joys, the friendships, but also the pride of having contributed a little bit to the endeavors of this little kingdom of Our Lord on earth... We are looking forward to coming back! 

Emmanuel & Bénédicte Schneider and Children.