Listen to Onesphore, the new GLO National Director, as he shares his vision for the Church in Burundi, and what we are trying to do to help. It’s a big dream, and we’ll need lots of support as our network expands. Since this film was taken, we’ve drawn in folks from Malawi, Congo, Tanzania, Angola and Uganda for training. Love it! If this gets your juices going and you want to help, do get in touch.
Miracles do happen, dreams do come true!
It’s with great joy I share with you news of Grace’s graduation. CONGRATULATIONS GRACE! What an effort! She was one of only two in her department to receive a special Dean’s Award for outstanding accomplishments – beautiful!
When you know the back-story, it helps understand why I write of miracles happening and dreams coming true: She started her life down a toilet
Good news stories from Burundi need to be told, please share with others, thanks to those who prayed for her and helped make it happen.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
A number of you have written in asking for an update on our appeal for a new vehicle. So this is reporting back to you that all the money came in – hurray – and we’ve ordered a spanking new Toyota Hilux, so can now put Martha out to pasture in the next few weeks. She served us well, but there’s little room for sentiment here, we need to move on!
What will we call the new one? Suggested names included Betsy, Audrey, Ole’ Marge, Daisy, Gertrude, Fred, Hank, and more, but the winning suggestion was…
Wait for it…
Only joking! Sorry Phil, I think we’ll stick with Audrey, which means ‘Strength’! May Audrey serve us for the next two decades or so without any accident and be used to minister to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the land, Amen?!
Thanks again, we couldn’t do it without you.
Whilst I’m at it, below is a quick testimony from Freddy as part of our More Than Conquerors series, do have a look and be inspired by his story. From never wearing shoes or underwear before the age of 14, walking 3 hours a day to and from primary school, to becoming a pioneering educator and leader in Burundi, building four schools which are all the best in their provinces, three orphanages, and a whole lot more:
I love sharing beautiful Burundi stories to counteract so much bad news.
My friend Evariste started a stunningly effective cow project a number of years ago, which has totally transformed his community. Having lost 72 of his family members in the 1993 genocide, he got the opportunity to study in Germany before returning and responding to God’s call to bring community transformation and empowerment through cows. This beautiful film is under 3mins and tells more, please do watch it. Many of you have contributed to this success, so feel the joy and satisfaction with me!
Also, any cyclist out there (or can you pass this onto a friend?) who might want to join our amazing GLO African Cycling Tour (24th May – 2nd June), do get in touch. I promise to give you a sweaty, exhausting, enthralling experience of a lifetime, as previous participants will testify! If you need motivation post-Christmas to shed a few pounds (one previous participant lost a staggering 102lbs!), this could be for you. More information on request.
I challenge you to watch this and NOT have tears in your eyes by the end. It’s so beautiful and powerful. Try not to watch it on your phone but instead on a bigger screen, with the music loud, and feel it… Wow! And please share…
Incidentally, they have an urgent ministry need right now, so if you want to help, do get in touch.
This film is under 5mins and is beautiful. Even my kids out here, who get to see poverty, have NO IDEA how fortunate they are. Do share this with as many kids as possible. May it make us all much more grateful for where we were born and our lot in life…
He was about to run in the 1993 World Championships 800m final in Toronto, when he received a phone call informing him that his parents had been murdered and their bodies dumped down a latrine…
Here is Nkaza sharing some of his truly remarkable story. He’s a national hero because of his sporting achievements, and he’s using his fame now to rally the youth across the nation to march to the beat of a different drum.
Emedi is one of our team who engages pro-actively with Muslims in Burundi. I was in the bush yesterday, and observed new mosques springing up all over the place. The Muslim missionaries offer food and medicine to desperately poor people, many of whom are happy to convert if their immediate physical needs are met. Emedi has been beaten and has counted the cost. Another on our team was murdered in front of his wife and kids. Do have a quick look at this short clip in our ‘More Than Conquerors’ series, it’s under 4mins.
Please pray for him and the others involved. And may you engage with Muslims where you are, people like ourselves who need a Saviour. Let’s share love, not hate, and spell Islam – ‘I Sincerely Love All Muslims’.
Go for it!
If you want to help our ongoing efforts in this area, please go to www.greatlakesoutreach.org/donate
This is the story of my buddy Ephraim’s near-fatal return to Burundi from the Congo. God had told him to come back to his nation to preach forgiveness and reconciliation. Even when taken by rebels and tortured, his faith remained unshakeable that he would survive to do what God had called him to. Despite being battered and broken, he told them: “You will not be able to kill me, because God is sending me back to Burundi to preach the Gospel.” His last words to them before they left him for dead were: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
With this ‘More Than Conquerors’ series, I want to keep telling the great stories of wonderful people I get to work with, to counteract the almost universally negative narratives that keep coming out of this part of the world. Things are tough, but we’re still standing! Please keep praying for us as we seek to be part of the solution here.
The above short film is a beautiful update on an extraordinary life journey, well worth 5mins of your time. It’s part of a series we’re doing telling stunning stories of triumphant faith under fire from Burundi. You hear so much bad news, but there’s great news in the mix as well! We want to pump out all the good news we can amidst all the heaviness which is also our current reality. Do subscribe on Youtube if you want to see the others as and when we release them over the coming weeks…
* For context, on 5th November 2013, I wrote the following:
“Her life began down a toilet.
Back in 1994, as the war continued to wreak havoc in Burundi, a nurse was in the public lavatories of a hospital when she spotted something down the toilet. It was a premature baby that had been abandoned, and somehow it – no, she – was still alive. The nurse fished her out, cleaned her off, and contacted my friend, Chrissie Chapman, who was the only person in Bujumbura taking in abandoned babies or orphans at the time. Chrissie took her in when she was five days old and gave her the most beautiful name, the only name, to capture what her little life embodied:
That’s my story, and I hope it’s yours. I could never get out of the pit by myself, but as with that nurse reaching down, God likewise plucked me out and rescued me. Help had to come from above, and so Jesus came down, took my stinking filth on him, and brought me life.
This precious 5lb baby was given antibiotics as a preventative measure because the open end of the umbilical cord had been in contact with the toilet water. It is likely these antibiotics, due to their strength in high doses, were what led to Grace losing any sense of hearing. A specialist diagnosed her deafness months later, but there was nothing medically to be done. However, a pastor came and prayed over her when she was 6 months old. He poured oil down her ears and anointed her. For the next three days she screamed every minute she was awake. Nobody knew what to do. It was only when someone slammed a door and Grace suddenly jolted that they realized her tears and screams were because she had been healed and could now hear what was going on.
I met Grace on my first trip to Burundi in 1997. I held her, played with her, and never forgot her because of her amazing story. I resolved that if the Lord ever gave me a daughter, I would name her after Grace.
Now fast-forward sixteen years. Grace just turned 19-years-old this week, and the Lord has beautifully weaved the threads of our lives such that she has now become our babysitter. She looks after Zac, Josiah, and our 5-year-old Grace when we occasionally go out for the evening. She’s matured into a delightful young lady, is full of faith, has finished school with good grades and knows that God has big plans for her life. Grace has been awarded a scholarship to Oklahoma Christian University to study journalism for four years. Her life was spared for a reason, her story has already impacted many lives, and we want to see her fulfill her potential for God’s glory. She’s also totally committed to returning to broken Burundi after her studies to play her part in its healing and transformation.”
That was just under four years ago. She’s nearly finished in Oklahoma now, and has really thrived. Do pray on for her and her future. Well done Grace, what a(n ongoing) story!