(Wilbur Kohnle received the following letter from Father Albert Shuyaka at the end of August, 2011.)
I want to sincerely thank you for assisting my ministry in the Congo. I am near Tshumbe, at a village deep within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I work as a secretary-chancellor to my bishop. I am also an associate (parochial vicar) of a new parish. I oversee the orphanages and direct the detention ministry. We never had a prison ministry in the diocese so I am beginning from scratch.
As a chancellor, I write letters for my bishop and keep everything ready for him. In this position I visit the priests, making sure that they are doing well, and seeing if the living conditions are decent. I have to travel in the diocese to settle conflicts and problems that occur in different parishes. I started with two and it humbles me to see what goes on there.
I have a tough one coming up though. I have to travel 320 kilometers (one way) to visit a parish where people are having serious problems. I am very scared to go (my aunt wanted to kill herself when she heard that I am going there. She even suggested that she and my brother Paul go with me.)
In my foundation, the “Marie-Catherine Center,” I am working with women. Please, pray for them. Their rights are not respected in many cases. I just met this morning with one who is handicapped and has a baby. Being handicapped, she was accused of being a sorcerer.
Now that she has a child without a husband, she feels that the whole world has fallen on her. She said I am the first person to tell her that she is blessed to have a baby and to be made in God’s image. Since I have started at my parish, I have buried twelve kids under ten – the infant mortality is that high!
With the help from “friends of Father Albert” that you valiantly work to promote, we hope to provide uniforms and school supplies to children whose parents cannot afford. It is my dream that many people will profit from the “Marie-Catherine Center,” where there are many things to do. If I had not been there a few days ago, a five-year-old boy would have died from womb worms and malaria. Last night, they had to wake me up to come and pay the fees for a woman with a very complicated pregnancy. Luckily, at 9:00 am today they told me that she gave birth to a baby boy. They were even asking permission to name him Albert Shuyaka. I really love responding to people who are in need of God. People come for prayers and for the many good things that the Church is doing here.
Best wishes, Albert