Loana Wallace

We welcome our second guest to Talking Mission, where we introduce you to people who are turning Mission into action.

1. Can you introduce yourself and your role at Catholic Mission?

Hi, my name is Loana Wallace, I am commonly known as Lew, and I am the Diocesan Director for the Diocese of Lismore. My role at Catholic Mission is to embody and enact the mission of Jesus by proclaiming the Gospel, serving the poor and the needy, and acting for peace, justice, and creation in collaboration with the Churches in my Diocese so that all people will have life to the full. In my day-to-day work, this involves speaking in schools and parishes about the needs and aspirations of our missionary project partners in the communities they serve and thanking our wonderful donors for their generosity.

2. You recently participated in an immersion trip to Cambodia to meet with missionaries on the ground. Could you share your experience from the trip?

Yes, the staff exposure was such an intense, inspiring, confronting, and amazing experience. I was amazed at the vision of Bishops Olivier and Kike in creating educational and employment opportunities for some of the most vulnerable children and adults in Cambodian society, especially the people with disability. At the Arrupe Centre, 24 children and young adults with disability are able to complete their education and be supported into employment pathways at a textiles factory in Battambang, or the Lonely Tree Café, or Oh Battambang Hotel, which are enterprises made possible through the generosity of Catholic Mission’s donors. The interconnectedness of the projects has created warm, caring environments for people to live, learn, and work; sustainability; capacity-building, and generativity.

3. How has the trip impacted you personally?

This trip has given me immense joy and a desire to spread the word about the impact that the wonderful generosity of our donors has on the people who are supported by the projects. I have the desire to be more grateful to God for blessings which I have in my life, to consume less, give more, and detach more from my possessions.

4. How would you describe the work of missionaries on the ground and its impact on local communities?

The work of missionaries is so incredibly life-giving and love-giving. We met a missionary by the name of Map, who has literally changed the lives of thousands of children. He is a member of the Outreach Team in the Prefecture of Battambang who visits and supports 900 individuals and families each month and provides them with rice, other food items, wheelchairs, access to education, and other needs. Map regularly visits families with children living on a garbage dump in Battambang, and through his gentle, humble encouragement ensures that the children attend school so that they can escape the poverty cycle.

5. Now that you're back in Australia, in what ways has this trip influenced your interactions and discussions with others, both in your professional and personal life?

I want to tell people about the wonderful work of missionaries, the incredible impact that people’s generosity can have in the lives of the people most in need in the world, the joy and hope for the future we can bring into people’s lives by opening our hearts to their needs, the incredible sadness which I had in witnessing the poverty of my brothers and sisters, and my purpose in life to make a difference through my work in Catholic Mission and lived faith as a Catholic Christian.