Thursday, February 18, 2010

Report from Burundi and Rwanda

One form of "public transportation" in Burundi
Burundian cultural drummers

Teaching at conference in Bujumbura, BU

Less than a week ago I returned from Burundi and Rwanda. This was the report I emailed to friends and supporters while I was still there. If you are not on my email list, but would like to be, please email me, and I will add you to the list so that you can get reports from the field when I am overseas.

Burundi is warm--in the 80s--and beautiful. Theophile Rugubira, EPI's Rwanda-Burundi coordinator, and I have done 2 conferences in the capital of Bujumbura. One was on Biblical Stewardship and the second on 1 Timothy. The people have been very receptive. The second group were people with whom we have not interacted before. Most of the pastors have NO training at all. It makes me very sad. However, they appear committed to do what they can with the new knowledge they have. Please pray for the churches in East Africa. They face huge problems, and have little training or resources. It is an honor to work with them.

I preached in the church of pastor Francois on Sunday. Afterwards he took me to Lake Tanganyika--one of Africa's "great lakes" and the deepest. A hippo was not far off shore. Not like back in Wisconsin at this time of the year!

I am now in the eastern city of Muyinga, not far from the Tanzania border. We are in the middle of a conference on Biblical Stewardship. I have been informed that this is the only internet cafe in the entire city. The connection comes from Nairobi, Kenya, and is incredibly slow. Additionally, the keyboard is not configured as are our keyboards back home. Oh well.

The people here likewise have had NO prior training. I have heard many times that even such basic (to us) information such as "our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we therefore should take care of them and bathe," and "your spouse should have precedence over your job," is "new," and "we have never heard this before." On the other hand, during small group discussions, all of the groups seemed enthusiastic about beginning the process of teaching their people how to do basic budgeting, and beginning to budget and keep records in their churches, as well as apply some of the other things we have been teaching. I was very distressed, however, to see that most of the pastors here are in the thrall of heretical "prosperity" teachers. I sensed great resistance as I was talking about that. Theophile pointed out, though, that they had never heard the orthodox Christian position on that issue. Naturally, they would be resistant. However, we have supplied them with an excellent written critique of the "prosperity gospel" in their own language. Theophile will be returning here in 3 months to follow-up with the participants. God-willing, by then they will have read, checked out what we have said with the Scriptures, and may have changed their views to a more biblical one.

Please pray for these dear pastors and church leaders. Their needs--spiritual and otherwise--are so great, and their resources are so few. Thank you for your prayers and financial support of this ministry.

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