My beloved grandmother, who died in September, left me a bequest in her will, and for months I couldn’t quite bring myself to spend the money. Instead, I have donated it to a medical fund to save the life of this good man, Congolese Pastor Marrion P’Udongo, who is awaiting a kidney transplant (a donor has been found and funds are being raised for the surgery and aftercare). Why donate to this cause when there are so many worthy charities? My friend Bryan Mealer, who reported from the Congo for the AP writes:
In a country short on heroes, the pastor’s presence is immense. To a community broken and scattered by a decade of fighting, his constant presence was like a lighthouse flickering home. Over the past several years, he’s also helped operate the St. Kizito Orphanage in Bunia, which looks after over a hundred children who’s parents died in the war. In a conflict where local journalists are often targeted and murdered, pastor is also one of the only remaining fixers to work with foreign media. For years, he’s helped give voice to thousands of people victimized and displaced by violence, and more specifically, to the countless number of women and girls in eastern Congo who are raped each year by soldiers and militia and who receive no justice. Without the pastor in the field, the country loses a hero and a leader, while the voices of those he’s championed go forever unheard.
You can read more about Pastor Marrion in this Time magazine article. This is the moment when those of us who have no direct ties to Congo can save the life of someone who has done immeasurable good there. By helping to save him, we also help save thousands who depend on his work. For more information and to donate, go here to the Pastor Marrion Fund. As my Grandmee would say, “We can’t do everything, but we do what we can.” This is something we can do.