My name is Ietawa, and my parents are Naaiti and Raakai. I am a 25-year-old. I was born on the island of Aranuka, which is in the Republic of Kiribati, an island chain (Gilbert Island). Because of its small size and inability to afford a modern lifestyle, as in Asia or Europe, the country where I was raised was a terrible quality of life. But despite its poverty, the people there always seem to be happy.
The calling to be a Columban seminarian makes me surprised in my daily life. I had no idea how I came to be a Columban seminarian. Back home, there is only the diocese and the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, and there is no Columban Missionary. My desire to become a priest was strong right after I finished my secondary studies. I considered joining the diocese, but for some reason, I had not been successful until I met Fr. William Lee (Columban priest) and learned about the Columban Missionaries.
I joined the Formation in 2019, studied for two years at the Pacific Regional Seminary, and then relocated to the Columban Formation programme in Manila, the Philippines, in August 2022. Living in Manila, where I can observe and experience a variety of lifestyles, is a blessing for me. Therefore, I’ve always thought it would be beyond my capabilities to leave my small country and go on a new life, but I think this is an opportunity that God has given me to experience, and I pray that God continues to walk with me in my future discernment.
Scripture is one of my favourite study topics because I am curious about the Bible and how it relates to my life today. I am currently in my first year in the formation here in Manila. I appreciate being a part of the Formation community and I am eager to learn more. God is consistently good!