Serving God's People in Africa since 1868

Help Provide Opportunities to Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

We all know how precious children are. Their innocence, their purity, their willingness to love — despite being hurt by those who are supposed to love them … each is an example of how we as adults are called to live our lives. Even our Lord Jesus spoke of the unique place that children hold in the world.


Dear John,

We all know how precious children are. Their innocence, their purity, their willingness to love — despite being hurt by those who are supposed to love them … each is an example of how we as adults are called to live our lives. Even our Lord Jesus spoke of the unique place that children hold in the world.

As he was speaking with his disciples, Jesus called a young child over and placed the child in their midst. The Gospel of Matthew explains that our Lord then said, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones . . . to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18: 5-6). Quite honestly, it could not have been made any clearer that the lives of children are extremely special — to be held with the utmost care.

But, unfortunately, you and I both know that — as I write this letter — children throughout the world are being exploited, tortured and murdered. Their voices are crying out for help, but who will listen?

Recently, I received a letter from Fr. Bernard Ugeux — one of our missionaries living and working in Bukavu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC– located in Central Africa is one of continent’s largest nations. But for most of the past two decades, its people have endured incredible suffering. The Second Congo War — sometimes called the African World War (because so many African countries were involved) claimed the lives of nearly six million men, women and children. Despite the signing of peace accords, though, fighting continues in the east of the country. The prevalence of rape and other sexual violence continues and is often described as the worst in the world.

“The situation among many of the young girls in this region is pitiful,” explains Fr. Bernard. “So many of them have been raped, sexually abused and even forced into prostitution. We have constructed a center to welcome, care for, educate and train the girls who need a place to call home and skills for meaningful employment.”

“Right now, we are caring for between 200 and 300 girls every year. We are working to help save their lives by teaching them to become self-sustaining. We are teaching them to cook, sew, grow crops and cultivate fields — even to breed cattle.”

“Many of the girls lost their families during the wars — so they have no family. They come to us illiterate and alone. In addition to teaching them reading, writing, accounting and cooking — we are also teaching them skills they will eventually need to support themselves in a business of some sort. At the same time, we need to make the Center self-sustaining. Our goal is to do that within three years.”

“To make this happen we still need to purchase property as well as purchase 20 more sewing machines (for training the girls to sew for businesses) as well as buying cows for breeding and for the building of cowsheds. Also — after a girl is educated and trained here for three years, each of them receives a rehabilitation kit to help them begin living and working on their own — to support themselves. I am hoping there is some way you can help us!”

My dear friend, imagine the scars of violence and abuse these young women have already been forced to endure in their young lives. They have suffered more than any human being ever should. Fr. Bernard and the other staff at the mission in Bukavu are trying to help these young girls overcome the violence that has been used against them . . . so that they can begin to live on their own, eventually providing for themselves.

I am hoping that we can raise at least $35,000 for Fr. Bernard’s mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and our other missions in need. But please know that whatever amount you can send — whether it is $50, $100, $500 — whatever you can do will be a blessing to those in need … children who have suffered far too much. God bless you for your kindness and caring.