Dear Pope Francis,
Welcome to our home, Peace Lab Malta.
Receive greetings from us, the family here at the Peace Lab. I would love to take this chance to thank almighty God for this, not because we deserve it but by His gracious mercies we are here. Over the years, seeing another day for us is a miracle and we sincerely thank God for everything and we pray hard that God grants us more years.
We have been hearing and receiving news of your plans to visit Malta and, in particular, our haven, the Peace Lab. I call this a haven because this is where I receive everything, both physical food and spiritual food. It’s our beautiful home.
First of all, thank you so much for shelving your busy schedules and purposing to come to Malta. Welcome, Pope Francis. This is our home and this is where your flocks are kept as well.
As a shepherd, it might be you are coming to check and count your flocks or you are coming to check whether your flocks are safe from wolves. I might give you a hint. Some got missing along the way, while some got bitten and they didn’t manage to get home. Your coming will renew the kindness the people of this island have long held as Paul said in Acts 28.
To us, the news of your visit was received from all corners with magnificent joy. I can’t tell you how happy we are to see you here. I am so glad that you intentionally chose our family, the Peace Lab. There are so many places to visit in Malta, so many important meetings to attend to but you have scheduled to come to visit us here at the Peace Lab. I must say thank you very much for your kind consideration. Once again, feel welcomed in our haven home.
As I called it home, I am just informing you that we, as the members of this family, live inside tents. Obviously, you will have the pleasure to see for yourself. Just next to us, is our sister-home, the Open Centre. Hundreds of our brethren and sisters are living there. That is their home but a temporary home to them as well.
I have heard you many times mentioning us, the migrants and refugees. In fact, I was told you unveiled a monument you dedicated to migrants and I am told it is outside your compound. I do not want to think it was by coincidence that you unveiled it. You are surely passing on a strong message.
Here, at the Peace Lab, we live as a family. We are a million in one. By this I mean, just as the Bible clearly illustrates the two accounts of creation, we are all descendants and children of God.
We did not coincidentally meet here but we are here due to varied reasons and circumstances, yet, if scrutinised properly, there are common factors.
We are of different nationalities, different religious groups, with different cultural practices. But to us, that doesn’t count. We see ourselves more than that.
Our small houses (tents) give us hope of another better day. Day in day out, we hope for the best. I must say the news of your coming has elevated our hopes more than ever before, the hopes of dreams turning into reality. We know deep in your heart you have a purpose and a mission; the mission of seeing every human being live at least like any other person.
You are the only hope and I know our prayers will be heard. Some of us are stateless, hopeless and just surviving- Livingstone Ngetuny
We know you are carrying a message, a message which we hope will touch someone. I so strongly believe in miracles and, in the 21st century, your coming to Malta will, hopefully, be a game changer. Just as the way Maltese were kind during the times of St Paul, the same families are the ones to give us the warmth and a welcoming hand.
You are the only hope and I know our prayers will be heard. Some of us are stateless, hopeless and just surviving. What we wish and pray for is just someone to hear our cries, someone to come into reality that we are not here on holiday, nor to destroy anything, rather, we are in need of protection, something which some of us have already given up on.
On behalf of the residents of the Peace Lab, I would like, dear Pope Francis, to say two things, which I have said above already but, to summarise: firstly is, thank you for considering to come to Malta and, in particular, choosing our home, the Peace Lab. Secondly, I often hear you speaking on our behalf and defending us, the disadvantaged, us the vulnerable.
You have confirmed what I know, namely that the Mediterranean is the largest cemetery in the world. The reasons for this are best known by those in control and those who have the power to prevent but, due to ignorance and greed, it keeps happening. Well, all I know is we are all travellers and, at some point, we will all exit this world. The only difference is the timing, the season and the venue but we will surely depart.
Thank you for speaking on behalf of the refugees and migrants. Thank you for speaking on behalf of the Blacks who have for so many years been subject to racism and abuse. Finally, may the good God grant you favour and good health so that you move around preaching peace, love harmony and unity and the need for welcoming the needy and the poor.
Remind Christians that, as they welcome the Christ in their hearts, they may see the value in other human beings and the need to give them hope and a warm welcome.
Livingstone Ngetuny, on behalf of the Peace Lab residents