Yon Shin, we really never knew you!

by Yon Shin's newly baptized parents Odem and Mary
ELIZABETH YEAN SIN LIM was  a Columban Lay Missionary assigned in Suva, Fiji. She died of hepatitis at the age of 24 while on mission. Her parents who were not Christians went to Fiji for her funeral where they saw for the first time what Elizabeth had been doing and why. Her grieving father wrote this letter to her after her death.

Dear Yon Shin,

Yesterday, in the Catholic Church you used to attend, your Mom and Dad were baptized with the names Mary and Odem. The death of a child digs a grave in the hearts of parents. But why we don't want to forget you quickly or turn your picture back to front, I don't know.

But I wonder if this is not also what one reporter called "your missionary dream that began with death" -- now once more I live in great peace a life that is lived with you.

If I think back ... because of the restriction of our human ideas that we were not able to defend you at that time;  how much your death saddened the whole family. But that was the way that your spotless person was preserved for ever, and now I am gradually realizing that it was the way the means of accomplishing your great vocation as a missionary.

However, my daughter Elizabeth Yon Shin, when you died your Mom and Dad flew to Fiji and spent two nights with you -- were you aware or not then that your Mom and Dad were with you?

If your Dad had not gone there at that time he would not have realized that you were in the front line of a Catholic movement for reconciliation between the original Fijian people and the immigrant Indian people.

There in Fiji we went to see the village of Nakasi where you lived. Even though they were poor when the simple grannies, the women and children heard the sad news how sad they were!

Seeing the place where you lived I realized how much patience you must have had to live such a poor life with those people. And I went to that island where you seem to have caught the liver inflammation (and heard that you could not preach the Lord's gospel because of not being able to communicate with them, but that with them you drank the unboiled rainwater and you ate the food with your hands...) While there, the photo we look at the Mass became your portrait, and this year on the November page of the Fijian Catholic Calendar your picture appeared with the caption: "Let us remember you as your daughter."

When we came home we gathered those other youths you used to work with and we offered a Mass together, and there was also a Mass in that child centre in Song Nam that you used to work in. Your Dad went a few times to that child care centre and there I saw many people who sacrifice themselves in helping those who live under a cloud, to live a better life. As your Mom and Dad looked into your life's work we became convinced of how good your life was and we embraced your Catholic faith and this too will fulfill a great desire you had.

Praying for your eternal rest and in gratitude for the baptism you brought us.

Your Dad