In 2022 you provided essential support to displaced families in the parish of Fundong, in the northwest of Cameroon. Sadly, conflict continues in this part of Africa. Tensions between the Anglophone regions and the rest of Cameroon have been growing for years.
The government’s response has been deemed to be entirely disproportionate, with military and the Anglophone ‘freedom fighters’ now exchanging gunfire daily – terror and brutality abound. The Church is providing refuge to an increasing number of Internally Displaced People who are fleeing the violence and the ongoing threat to their homes, their livelihoods, and their welfare.
A real threat; an ever present fear
Fr Léon, a Mill Hill Missionary who lives and ministers at the St Francis Xavier Catholic Mission in Fundong, recently shared:
‘…yesterday around 11pm, the military fired bullets just around the market area. One of them got a bullet to the leg and one civilian also got injured by a grenade.
The “freedom fighters” or “Amba Boys” are disrupting and destroying people’s families… They took our students into the forest but thankfully returned them in the evening of the following day. At times, we are accused by the military of cooperating with the Boys, and on the other side, the Boys do the same.’
Ambitions for a better future
Despite the turbulence of the ongoing struggle, the Mission Station runs a Missio-supported school and offers a safe space to learn and grow in faith.
Fr Léon’s mission is ambitious: to encourage the children to learn in an environment where they will acquire the confidence and skills to face the world with determination; to strengthen the faith of the community – infusing beliefs, values, and standards that the young people will carry all their lives; and to make God known, loved, and served.
This is why Fr Léon set up the Angels Youth Choir, which helps to bring young people into the parish community and attempts to prevent them from being involved in the bloodshed. His aim is to empower them to turn away from the aggression and towards their faith in God. Fr Leon shared:
‘The youth in the area are in despair. Some have their school certificates, but they have no jobs. A big number have joined the Amba Boys. This is what motivated me to start the choir group of young people.
We have watched the choir develop over 2022 with such joy. To begin with the children, doubtless traumatised by the conflict and devastation they have been through, were unsure of themselves:
But very quickly they have grown into a flourishing youth choir, raising the roof with their amazing singing!
Fr Leon tells us:
‘Missio’s support has helped us buy instruments, recording equipment and uniforms for the members. We launched the children and youth choir at Mass. The people were so happy to see the children leading the singing. They celebrated! Whenever we come together as choir members, we don’t just sing. Teachings on faith and morals also take place.’
All together now!
Without your help, the children of Fr Leon’s parish would be at terrible risk of following a path of violence and despair. Now, you are helping them take a path of joyful hope, bringing them together in faith, and strengthening the communities and safe spaces that keep them on the right track and safeguard their futures. This is your mission as much as it is ours and theirs, and we are so grateful to you.
Fr Leon says:
‘We continue to be grateful to all the Missio England and Wales supporters. You surely wipe away the tears of many in the world. You bring joy in the lives of many, as Pope Francis says in ‘Fratelli Tutti’: This is certainly the true and joyful Gospel of Christ, as Christ sends us to “go and do the same” (Luke 10:37). May He continue to inspire you to establish a more just and charitable world.’
Please continue to help
Your prayers and support are always needed and always appreciated.