‘Hand of God’ on shot missionary

Portadown man Norman Cuthbert, co-ordinator of WEC Ireland,  and wife Amy
Portadown man Norman Cuthbert, co-ordinator of WEC Ireland, and wife Amy

The Portadown co-ordinator of an international missionary says it is a miracle that one of his workers survived a shooting on Sunday evening.

Maud Kells (75), who received an OBE in the New Year Honours list, is recovering after being wounded by bandits at her home in Mulita in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Norman Cuthbert, who is WEC International’s co-ordinator for Ireland, said Maud is doing very well and was up and walking just two days after the attack.

It was originally thought she was hit by two bullets but it has since been established that it was one. Said Mr Cuthbert, “The bullet hit one of her ribs and passed on through without hitting any vital organs. It’s miraculous. The hand of God was on her.

“She is a long way from the hospital and had to make the two-hour journey on a single light plane. There is an airstrip cut out of the rainforest. She had a blood transfusion as well.”

Norman and his wife Amy, who live at Derrylettiff Road, know Maud well. He said, “She is a very courageous lady who has been in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1968. She is so committed to the people there. She has worked as a midwife and has helped train Congolese nurses, as well as building a school.

“She was due to come home in March so we will be visiting her when she returns.”

Mr Cuthbert is in the sixth year of his second term as co-ordinator of the Ireland division of WEC. He is responsible for the pastoral care of up to 35 missionaries, which includes providing them with practical and emotional support.

The father-of-four joined WEC as a young man. He said, “I had a motorbike accident when I was in my teens and I was unable to walk for six or seven months. During that time, I got to thinking about missionary work and when I was back on my feet, I went to bible school in Glasgow. I then joined WEC and went to Guinea Bissau.”

In fact, Norman and his wife Amy spent 17 years as missionaries in Guinea Bissau, as well as eight years at WEC headquarters in London.

Their son Robert works for Ambassadors in Football in Congo-Brazzaville while daughter Susan works at WEC headquarters in London.

Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson has passed on his best wishes to Ms Kells.