Twenty years ago: a far too early death

Apostle Albert Mendy died just a few days before his 44th birthday. That was exactly 20 years ago. Time to look back and pay tribute to the Apostle.

It is 7 November 2002. In eight days Apostle Albert Mendy would celebrate his 44th birthday. He is in the car with District Apostle Hagen Wend and Apostle Heinz Kreuzberger from Germany, as well as Bishop Clément Haeck from Luxembourg, and they are on their way to a divine service in Mali. The ministers were on a pastoral trip and conducted two to three divine services a day. Suddenly, the car with the four ministers veers off the road and overturns twice. Apostle Albert Mendy does not survive his severe head injuries. District Apostle Hagen Wend survives with moderate injuries, the two other men have only minor injuries.

The District Apostle was taken to a hospital in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Apostle Heinz Kreuzberger, whose injuries were minor, now had the difficult task of having to conduct the funeral for his colleague and friend. With his injured should patched up, he held the funeral service. To this day, 20 years later, he still remembers the Bible verse only too well: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in his time.” Apostle Kreuzberger not only lost a colleague, but also a good friend.

Home was Senegal

Albert Mendy was born on 15 November in the southwestern region of Senegal in Samick, near the town of Ziguinchor (Senegal). His grandparents had emigrated there from Guinea-Bissau after the Second World War. Albert Mendy was born into a Catholic home. He had five siblings.

His soul found a home too

Young Albert would have loved to have completed his secondary school education in Ziguinchor, but this was not possible even though he waited for a year. That is why he moved to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, in 1980. There he attended a technical college and also went to evening classes to become an accountant. During this time, he was invited to the New Apostolic Church. Soon he could be found in church every evening, if not for a divine service, then for choir practice. After his Holy Sealing on 7 March 1983 through District Apostle Gottfried Rockenfelder, he liked to join the ministers when they went out to tell other people about their faith. On 7 September 1983, he received his first ministry, that of a Sub-deacon. He was asked to go to his home region of Casamance and build up the Church there. He did this joyfully from 1984 on, also as a Priest. And this despite the fact that Albert Mendy had a stiff leg as a result of polio. “This did not stop him from travelling up and down the country for the Church,” reports retired Apostle Heinz Kreuzberger.

Fateful years

The year 1985 brought some changes with it for Albert Mendy. On 28 July he was sent to the neighbouring country of Mali as an Evangelist and on 15 August he married Jaqueline Diarra, whom he had met through the Church.

The year 1988 was a sad year: Albert Mendy, who had in the meantime been commissioned as District Elder, lost his younger son, who was only two months old. He later wrote: “Our heavenly Father gave me the strength to be able to conduct the funeral service for my own child.”

And some years later, the accident that would take his life… His wife and two still surviving children needed strength from God when their husband and father passed away at not even 44 years of age. At a divine service on 11 June 1989, conducted by Chief Apostle Richard Fehr in Freiburg in Germany, to which the district leaders from Hagen Wend’s working area were invited, Albert Mendy had received the Apostle ministry, which he carried with great dignity until he died on that fateful day in November 2002. At the time, Chief Apostle Richard Fehr wrote about his co-worker: “Apostle Mendy was a true shepherd for the great flock of God that had been entrusted to him. With deep humility of heart and great love he zealously brought the cause of the Lord forward and strengthened the ministers through his example.”

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Katrin Löwen
Mali, Senegal, Apostle, People/Personalities