By Dave and Linda Soutter
We are most excited to be returning to Burundi this June for the first time in two years. We had held back for a time because the political situation there was so unsettled.
While we have waited, we have been praying for our friends and partners there, praying that God would intervene, to bring peace, and return Burundi to the path toward prosperity it was on until the unrest of 2015. And indeed, God, even if He has not brought everything we prayed for, has held back civil war. And the situation there is now settled to the point that we can return safely.
As always, our central reason to go is to share the Gospel and help our partners in their own mission to make converts and disciples. They believe, and we certainly agree, that one of the most effective things we can do is to equip pastors to be more effective in bringing their countrymen to faith in Jesus Christ.
For both Sundays we are there, we will offer testimonies and talks in Sunday services. This will be a joyous time indeed; church services are usually about three very fast hours, with multiple choirs, liturgical dance teams, great music and great preaching. Americans have an amazing credibility, drawing big crowds, especially as we share testimonies out of our life experiences which are common to everyone. Like dealing with addiction, abandonment, discouragement and abuse. Congregations are encouraged in their faith and respond beautifully to the message.
Then, Monday through Thursday, we will hold two two-day seminars for pastors and lay leaders in the skills of Healing Prayer, including confident expectation in praying for physical healing. In particular, we will offer lessons on the scriptural basis for Healing Prayer; also we will teach on the image of God as the perfect father and on a reliance on and confidence in God’s power to heal. In addition, we will talk about the power of forgiveness in healing, a topic of highest importance in troubled Burundi.
We will also travel to the location of our planned clinic in Bugarama, meet with city fathers there, dedicate the land, and have a groundbreaking. We hope this project, delayed by the civil unrest, can now go forward with confidence. It is surely needed. (Burundi, with more than 9 million souls, has fewer than 200 physicians.)
We plan also to join the celebration that Saturday as Gitega International Academy, founded by Freddy Tuziere just six years ago, holds its first graduation. We remember praying over an empty field just six years ago, for the founding of a new secondary school, now Burundi’s finest. It is amazing what God has done in six short years. I will admit we were skeptical praying in the rain in the empty field.
It is a pretty full mission. So we ask, please pray for the mission and our team, for safe travel and good health and for the spread of the Gospel there; also, please pray indeed for the land — for Burundi. And thank you, St. Michael’s, for your support for the missions and for our friends and partners there.