Saturday, September 21, 2013

ECLEA: Return from Burundi

After leaving Uganda, I spent a productive two weeks in Burundi. Here are the highlights.

Rema Ministries
The first week was spent in working through ECLEA's foundational course on Biblical Stewardship with eight of the leading staff members of Rema Ministries, in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. Rema is an indigenous ministry in Burundi that, like ECLEA, focuses on training church leaders. Frederic Harerimana, Rema's deputy director, serves as ECLEA's Burundi national coordinator. Consequently, Rema and ECLEA have entered into a memorandum of understanding whereby Rema will use its personnel and contacts to teach ECLEA's courses in Burundi and to identify good candidates among those who participate at ECLEA training sessions to become part of the ECLEA teaching team. I hope to be able to go to Burundi twice each year and spend at least one week each trip training the Rema staff people. Frederic is also drafting a protocol for following-up with the church leaders after there has been a training session. I am very encouraged by the level of organization, expertise, and commitment of Rema and think that ECLEA's work in Burundi is beginning on a good basis and, God willing, will bear much fruit.
Jonathan and the Rema Ministries team
The second week in Burundi was spent in the Bujumbura suburb of Gatumba where we taught Biblical Stewardship to approximately 48 leaders of the MINEVAM (Minist√®re International dEvang√©listion en Afrique) denomination. MINEVAM is headquartered in Burundi but also includes churches in a number of other countries. Bishop Peter Barihzigo had requested this training and was present and active throughout the course. The MINEVAM church leaders, who came from all the regions of Burundi, slept on mattresses on the floor of the church. Although most of our courses are typically taught over 2 1/2 days, we spent 4 1/2 days teaching this time. This allowed us to have extended periods of Q&A and several small group discussion periods. 
 MINEVAM Bishop Peter Barihzigo and his wife, Maggie

Where the MINEVAM pastors slept

As always, good African teachers taught alongside me. For this course Frederic Harerimana both taught and acted as my interpreter, and Rema staff members Pacifique Inamahoro and Francois Nitunga also taught a number of the sessions. They will also be following-up with selected church leaders to assist with application of what was learned.
Frederic teaching at MINEVAM
Looking Forward
After spending three days in New York City visiting our youngest daughter, Julia, I am now home until about October 24. I will then be leaving for Rwanda, where I plan to meet with the Rwanda ECLEA committee, and for teaching sessions in Tanzania and Kenya. That will be the last trip to East Africa for this year. I hope to see many of you while I am home.

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