A car accident has failed to deter a young Perth man from doing missionary work in the US.
By Robert Hiini
In a time of financial crisis when most are keeping their money close to their belts, people are still willing to invest in agents of hope if Miller Lokanata’s recent experience is anything to go by.
In the past few weeks Mr Lokanata has received the prayers and financial contributions of scores of Catholics throughout Perth who became aware of his predicament.
Working towards the end of his time as Perth World Youth Day’s Media Officer, he was accepted into a missionary role with Lifeteen in Arizona – the largest and most successful Catholic youth ministry organisation in the western world – when disaster struck.
Needing $10,000 for flights, food and accommodation costs for the year long period of training and mission, Mr Lokanata’s car was written off in an early October accident.
He has been planning on selling it to fund his mission.
With no insurance payout forthcoming, Mr Lokanata thought his dream of taking up the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train and work at the frontier of ministry in digital media had come to an end.
He decided to send an email to his many friends and contacts asking people to pray for him and to consider investing in him.
So far, he has received $5,300 in three weeks from young adult Catholics throughout Perth, with amounts given ranging between $20-$1000.
Mr Lokanata says that he doesn’t want donations but instead for people to come on mission with him, but he feels a healthy sense of accountability for the funds he has received so far.
He thinks that God wanted him to invite people on mission too, saying the amount he received from the wrecker who took his car was, to the dollar, the same amount he still had owing on it.
“If I hadn’t lost my car I’d just be going by myself so it’s a massive blessing in a sense,” Mr Lokanata said.
One person who gave $300 said she felt God calling her to share her wealth and had been asking Jesus who she should give her money to 15 minutes before receiving Mr Lokanata’s email.
Having crossed the halfway mark, Mr Lokanata is scheduled to fly to Arizona on 30 December but still has a long way to go before he has the money he needs.
In 2009 he will be working with teens directly, helping to run camps, Lifeteen’s weekly “Life Nights” in parishes as well as undertaking a stringent program of prayer and the sacraments within the Lifeteen missionary community.
He will join six other young missionaries, five of whom are from California and one from England, all aged between 22 and 24 years old.
Mr Lokanata has set up a website that he will update frequently to let all of his fellow missionaries-in-spirit back in Perth know what he has been up to, in Jesus name.
He is obviously overwhelmed by people’s kindness and their willingness to invest in him and his mission in these economically troubled times. “I am really thankful to God and to all who are praying for me and those who have invested in me,” he said.
“People have been really generous. That’s how we are created.”
For more information about Miller Lokanata’s mission visit www.millerlo.co.cc . Donations can be made online or by calling 0413 289 040.