It’s 1141pm, and I’ve just finished a Skype interview with the BBC discussing Burundi’s political situation. Twitter is telling me every few minutes of the shooting going on in different parts of Bujumbura. Tomorrow is election day, the climactic day that we have been building up to for many months. How will it go…?
I don’t want to write too much, but let me share the following, written to me by one of my closest brothers in Burundi, Charles:
“Last night was terrifying because of all the gunshots and exploding grenades. My wife is the most traumatised in our household. The children were already in bed and are actually getting used to these strange sounds they call ‘music’. It’s tragic that my kids are being exposed to the same realities that scarred my own childhood.
I’ve chosen to stay put and pray. I don’t feel released to flee as others do because I’m not like everyone else. I’m saved and called by my Lord Jesus Christ. I’m a citizen of heaven deployed in Burundi, my earthly home, to accomplish his mission. I strive to live out his plans for my life whilst resisting the temptation to simply get his validation on my own personal plans. Following the Master means following. He is capable of saving me from all dangers, even if his Father didn’t spare him from an atrocious death. And even if he chooses not to spare my life, I pray he’ll give me the courage to stand firm to the very last minute.
Thanks for having been a real companion in ministry with me. Even if we are far apart right now, your messages, support and faith in me keep us close. Greet all those who pray for us and show solidarity to us.”
I’m proud to be Burundian and to stand with such men of faith!
So tomorrow, the President will be re-elected for another five-year term. The opposition has vowed to fight until he stands down or is removed. The international opinion and pressure is for the latter scenario, but he is actually very popular with many Burundians outside of the capital. International aid has dried up, the refugee situation is worsening by the day, and some of my friends in the capital are literally beginning to starve because food prices have trebled and many have lost their jobs as the economy implodes.
It’s hard to be positive as we look at the situation, humanly-speaking. But God is still on his throne, and I am so proud of our extended team, flat out ministering whilst most are cowed behind closed doors in their homes. We are organising youth conferences, pastors meetings, political activists mediation, tract-publishing, radio and TV programming – all to draw people to embracing non-violence and reconciliation at this critical time. It’s risky business but as with Charles above, they’re high-calibre men and women of faith who love their nation and their God and are willing to lay their lives down.
We’re trying to meet many urgent needs. At a food distribution last week, the folks receiving some basic supplies hadn’t eaten in days and said: “We would have died if you hadn’t come.” Please dig deep and help us help them. To donate, click here
Thanks for standing with us. Please keep praying for Burundi in the coming critical days, even if it doesn’t make it on the news.