Superb Local Leaders in Burundi…

I love my Dad. He’s a great Dad. Born in Burundi in 1946, he pursued a successful (almost finished) career as a Management Consultant, and one of our biggest shared joys latterly has been having him integrally involved in the work of GLO as coach to our key partner organisations’ leaders. They love sessions with him twice a year – his wisdom, incisive questioning, low toleration of BS – and those times with him have significantly affected their already mightily impressive performances.

Dad has repeatedly come back this week after each session blown away by the quality of the leaders we are working with – their vision, capacity, passion etc. Sometimes people think I exaggerate on the impact of our work, so I asked Dad for some of his reflections:

“From hesitant starts in our coaching relationship three years ago, most of my coachees have flourished as they have soaked up the frameworks I have offered them, and have responded to the uncomfortable challenges they have been confronted with. In fact, I now realise that all these people are truly exceptional – of as high if not higher quality than any businessman I have worked alongside in the West. I think it is important for supporters of GLO ministries to realise that they are backing truly great Christian leaders who are in the process of transforming their country. God has enabled Simon to identify the right people to back. All are raising up and equipping young Christians to become the leaders of tomorrow – by proclaiming the Gospel, certainly, but also by demonstrating God’s love in their daily lives. They are offering solutions to enable Burundians to take charge of their lives, to demonstrate a different model of living and to equip them and the Churches to which they are affiliated with tools for understanding the true Gospel, to possess strong managerial and leadership skills themselves and to have practical proposals to make for the betterment of their communities.

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(Dad with one of his coachees)

For example, we now see a proliferation of integrated communities of orphanages with clinics, schools and training so that the orphans of yesterday can become the leaders of tomorrow. Churches are getting equipped with teaching, discipleship and outreach resources. Youth work, including camps and within the many university campuses, is producing a new generation of Christian leaders of integrity. Villages are being provided with cows and husbandry methods leading to milk yields 15 times as great and a collection and distribution method so that the milk can be pasteurised and sold in Bujumbura. Street kids who were in the team that was the runners-up in the Brazil Street Kids World Cup are now offering a different role model to other street children in campaigns drawing thousands of youngsters across the country. Practical vocational skills training is being provided. 50 new business ideas of young Christian street kids are being supported with business planning, coaching, structuring and funding support through a Dragons’ Den and business incubation programme, and half of these have been launched into coach-supported start-ups. Tens of thousands of new people have professed the faith and been connected to local churches through an annual evangelisation program be conducted by trained evangelists. A Bible teaching resource meeting the needs of all church denominations has now received University accredited status, demonstrating the quality and relevance of its teaching.  Visitors to Burundi can experience the highest quality of Christian hospitality at King’s Conference Centre, from which profits go back into the work of Scripture Union. I could go on…

When discussing ‘leverage’ with one of my coachees, we were reflecting that surely there can be no better leverage from money given to these ministries through GLO – high multiplication effect ministries under competent leadership, very low administration costs where virtually all the money given gets to its intended destination…. But these leaders truly suffer and most have been refined in the fire in one way or another and their needs are great – as is also the case for their staff working sacrificially in each of the ministries. So do keep supporting this truly beautiful work through GLO.”

Thanks Dad, and thanks to each one of you. I’ve had the pleasure of giving out a chunky Christmas bonus to over 350 families through your generous response to our appeal this year: https://www.justgiving.com/GLOChristmas2014 

Beautiful! 


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