Stand up for love and justice

The new cooperating priest in the parish community Main-Steigerwald is called Bill Augustin Mikambu Lotundo. The name suggests that it is probably not a Lower Franconian. Four years ago the priest came to Germany from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to continue his law studies there. At first he worked in the parish community Lohr (12 apostles at the gate to the Spessart), now he is the successor of parish vicar Andreas Hartung in Eltmann and Oberaurach.

In 2003, Bill Augustin Mikambu was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Kikwit and was employed as a priest and teacher at the seminary. As a pastor in the Congo you have no direct income, so it is common for priests to have a second job. There are teachers, doctors, mechanics and lawyers like Bill Augustin Mikambu. Why Law? “Because love and justice are the most important things,” the answer comes without a thought. This is his calling: to spread Christ’s message of love and justice. Precisely because he comes from a country where justice plays a subordinate role.

Sought-after raw materials

In the “Democratic Republic of the Congo”, which was called Zaire from 1971 to 1997 and which never recovered from the cruel Belgian colonial regime, unfortunately democracy is not that far off ?? and neither with justice. The country in Central Africa could be the richest country in Africa, it is blessed with worldwide coveted raw materials and has a fertile climate. But the country is ruled dictatorially, exploited by foreign corporations.

The population lives in poverty, children have to pay for school, the health system is desolate, and clean water is in short supply for a large part of the population. The average life expectancy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is around 60 years. The risk of malaria is high, many people die of typhoid, hepatitis A ?? or the Ebola virus. Corona hits countries like the Congo particularly hard.

Language course in Würzburg

In 2016, Bill Augustin Mikambu decided to continue his law studies in Germany. His path began in Würzburg with a language course. “At first I thought: What were you doing there?” He says with a laugh. In France or Belgium he could have gone straight to university. “But after the first basic knowledge of the language it went quite well.” Anyone who hears him preach today can hardly believe that he has only been speaking the language for a few years? with a French accent, but an impressive vocabulary.

He now has a master’s degree in European law. Now he wants to start his doctoral thesis and is still looking for a professor. He has chosen two topics: “The constitutional amendment and the eternity clauses in German and Congolese law” or “Employment contracts and the duties of loyalty of church employers”.

Ten siblings

The step to leave the Congo was of course a big one, especially for someone who grew up in a large family. Bill Augustin has ten siblings. The father was a teacher and pastoral consultant in Kinshasa “and very pious”. All eleven children were in school. “That was never a problem for me, I had a chance,” he says. And he wants to offer this opportunity to others as well. “I see it as my calling to enable children in the Congo to go to school.” That is why part of his salary as a priest regularly goes home.

The way the people in Lohr and now in Eltmann, Oberschleichach or Trossenfurt welcomed him made it easy for him to be a priest here. “In my whole life I have always met nice people. I take that as God’s grace.” Pastor Öchsner received him just as warmly as the believers at the introductory service, but also in all the small churches in which he has meanwhile held services ?? in Fatschenbrunn, Neuschleichach, Weisbrunn or in Dippach, where he also found an apartment.

Although the encounter is currently limited, he feels warmly welcomed and continues his resolution: “I want every worship service to be a very special experience with God for every believer”.

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