12 September 1997, the first Verbum Dei missionaries, Maria Jose M. Egido and Yolanda de la Fuente, (both Spanish) arrived in Singapore to set up the first foundation in South-East Asia.
Why Singapore? There were many factors, among them; the language accessibility (the wide-spread use of English) and the relative openness of this Asian country to missionaries.
Coming from the Philippines, which was the first Asian Verbum Dei foundation in Asia to be set up in 1980, the missionaries were pleasantly greeted by the melting-pot of races, cultures, languages, religions – the characteristic face of Singapore.
Armed with a lot of poverty and uncertainties but with a lot of faith, the missionaries struggled to find the door that God had opened for them in this place.
‘How can we carry out the mission of prayer and preaching the Word of God here?’, was their constant question. And sure enough, if God was the one who sent them here, he made them see a gnawing hunger for the Word of God.
From a 3-room flat in Clementi, the Verbum Dei Missionary Fraternity in Singapore was born. And as the community grew and matured in this unique context, God sent more people who could understand and co-operate with the plan of God in this specific mission.
I have heard the cry of my people… whom shall I send?
Seeing the thirst of His people in Singapore, God continues calling out to those whom He can entrust with His mission. Throughout the years, the Verbum Dei community in Singapore has been blessed with several local vocations, each with a unique story to tell.
The following are some of their stories: