With gratitude

Everyone has a purpose in life, a reason for being. God in his wisdom gave us our own unique talents, gifts and callings. We are created to share those gifts with the world and I am happy to share my personal reflection – how I learned about myself and how I learned shepherding with others.

My name is Emilia Simon Ho. I come from a big family in Kampung Toboh Laut, Keningau. I have two elder sisters and a twin brother, and two step sisters and three step brothers. My father Anthony Simon Ho was murdered 32 years ago, when my mother had just given birth to me and my twin brother. We were five days old, so I don’t have any memory of my father.

When I was a child, I always asked myself, “Why did God take away my father?” In my reflection, I now understand that whatever happens, there is a reason.

I really thank God for giving me a brave, hardworking and loving mother. Her name is Flavia Bt Gahim, a farmer. My mother is very hard working and means a lot to our family. I remember how she faced the difficult times and struggled to feed and support us. She remarried four years after my father’s death. I remember my childhood - I didn’t have much time to play because I had to work hard to help my mother. My experience through difficult times developed my courage and taught me to work with others to get things done.

My parents could not afford to support our studies, so every day and during school holidays I had to sell kuih and vegetables and work in the farm to earn some money so that I could continue my studies until I finished my SPM in 1999. I got good results but my parents could not afford to pay for my education and at that time there was no one to help or inform me about scholarships or alternatives. Furthermore, I had six other siblings to support, so I had to abandon my dream and started helping my mother. I faced a lot of trials and hardship and began to question the purpose of my life, and what God actually wanted from me. I could not get a job because I had no working experience, was computer illiterate and my English was poor.

My life changed in October 2000 when the Good Shepherd Sisters offered me work at the Pusat Jagaan Seri Murni (PJSM) as a house mother. In my seven years of working with them, I learned English, took a computer course, got my driving license and most important I learned about myself, life and also about shepherding. Working in the residential ministry of SMCC from 2000 – 2007 and in Asrama Gereja St James Tenghilan (AGSJT) from 2008 – 2012 has enhanced my personal and spiritual growth. I learned to encourage and support others, and to manage differences in positive and healthy ways.
Besides teaching living skills, we inculcate values of responsible living and mutual respect for each other. “One Person is of more value than the whole world” - St Mary Euphrasia.

Through this ministry I have learned about relationships and values which have helped me in my personal life and in my family life. “Look for the good and positive in each persons” - St Mary Euphrasia.

I wish to thank all the Good Shepherd Sisters who journeyed, encouraged and supported me. I am also grateful for the experience with all the lay partners, volunteers, teachers, communities, parents and friends in Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS) and World Vision team who have contributed to my growth and development. “Gratitude is the memory of the heart” - St Mary Euphrasia.
When I reflect on my past, I feel very blessed by God. Through the Good Shepherd Mission I am able to see my purpose in the ministry and dare to dream again for myself, my family and also our community. Life is a journey and also a process of learning. My hope is to continue to shepherd and improve the lives of the community and at the same time learn from them.

“Yes, I thank you Lord, for the trials that come my way. In that way I can grow each day, as I let you lead. And I thank you Lord, for the patience these trials bring. In the process of growing, I can learn to care” - from the hymn ‘Thank You Lord’

By Emilia Simon Ho