(2022) This past summer we were pleased to be contacted by a young priest from Cameroon, Fr. Jessy Nkamtchou Yepminyi of the Diocese of Kumba. In our communications I tried to understand the difficulties that he had to endure just to function as a parish priest and pastor. He wanted to explore the idea of ROTA assisting him in some capital improvements at this newly assigned parish. In the conversation I shared with him that larger capital projects usually take some time to fund and the proper banking channels had to be acquired for the project to proceed. I also shared that for larger projects African clergy are invited to come to Buffalo and assist us in our Mission Appeals around our Diocese and elsewhere.
I don't know how it was possible but in a few short months, this young clergyman obtained his first ever passport, applied and successfully received a visitor visa to USA and arranged a flight for himself with the assistance of his twin sister who is permanent resident in US living in Dallas. His time with us in Buffalo was marvelous. In addition to sharing with him the usual highlights of Western NY, Niagara Falls, Buffalo's Waterfront, Buffalo Wings, Ted's Hot Dogs, etc. we also had the pleasure of sharing with him a visit to the Abbey of the Genesee along with the purchase of Monks bread for future breakfasts.
After just a few weeks of new experiences in US, including jet skiing adventure, courtesy of his acquaintance, Fr. Denning, he had returned to his new parish and began to share with us some of the photos of his unique ministry. Most parishes in Africa have a main worship center with "out-stations" or "missions" attached. The parish priest is expected to be able to provide ministry to all his community including the out-stations as best as possible. Fr. Jessy's parish has eight outstations four of which are accessible only by boat. Unlike in America the parish's rectory is an older work in progress but never finished. No easy access to the 2nd floor, a external water well with a bucket and rope to secure the precious commodity, and questionable sanitation. The interior of the church appears well used and equipped. The main resource of course are the people of God that Fr. Jessy is called to minister to. Strength and courage be to you Man of God!
We hope and pray that details will be worked out so that we may be able to establish a mission relationship with SS. Peter & Paul Parish in Mbongo Balondo, Diocese of Kumba.
Some new communication came from Fr. Japheth Tibui, a newly ordained priest also from Cameroon which ROTA was able to assist in a small way toward his ordination preparations in April 2022. He and Fr. Jessy know each other and minister in the same Deanery. It amazes me that such young men, newly ordained are placed right into some very rough parish conditions with no intermediate experiences such as being an associate pastor for a while etc. Blessings to both of these young brothers in the Lord.