In February, Matt Bennett visited the Central African nation of Burundi with Rev. Matthew Brown to conduct a leadership conference for the Jesus is Lord Church located in Bujumbura, the capital city. While there, they saw God do incredible miracles, leaders encouraged and empowered, and a revival birthed that is still burning in the churches today!
Equipped for Ministry
Over 300 city-wide leaders, hungry for knowledge, gathered for the three-day conference to be better equipped for ministry. During the training, I soon discovered very few of the church leaders in Burundi have formal theological training and none of the pastors from the Jesus is Lord Church Association or the IPHC in Burundi have a degree from a seminary or Bible school. These pastors were hungry for knowledge and asked questions, engaged in discussions, and tried to “soak up” everything we taught them. It was truly inspiring!
So often we take for granted the training and education we are afforded here in the United States, while in Burundi pastors armed with only a passion for Jesus Christ and a simple message of salvation are bringing the gospel message to countless remote and often dangerous communities. However, to be more effective in reaching Africa, these church leaders must be better equipped and trained.
Empowered for Ministry
After the leadership conference, we visited several small churches and listened to their needs and concerns. We heard that pastors frequently walked more than six miles one way to preach to their congregation and survived on an income of less than $1 per day. In fact, most of these churches lacked electricity or running water. We discussed how we could partner with their churches to create finance-generating businesses and empower their people. We also took time to pray and encourage each pastor thanking them for their sacrificial service to the Kingdom.
With your help, I believe we can empower these pastors to become more effective in reaching their nation. Here are several micro-businesses which you can sponsor:
- Rice co-op business – $500
- Grinding mill to grind corn, rice etc. -$1000
- Goats for pastors- $50 each
- Bicycles for pastors- $150 each
- Motorcycle for a pastor – $1500
- Tilapia farm (still working on details) – around $1500
Engaged for Ministry
Since returning from Burundi, we have heard great reports of how God is continuing to move within the churches and how the people are now reaching out to the lost. Below is a letter from Bishop Leonard:
“Dear fellow servant of God, I greet you wishing you the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe you are all fine–your family, the church, and I trust you have had a rest after your trip and mission in the church here in Burundi.
I’d like to let you know after your trip, God is doing great things in the church we pastor. We have started witnessing with our own eyes lots of changes. The church is adding more members at a higher level that we have not seen before and there are those who had left the church we see them coming back and repenting. Last Sunday, great miracles took place and we witnessed it. We had a large number of people repenting of their sins–more than those that we have had before since we started the church. Jesus is Lord! We had lots of tears in the church due to that fact. Truly the people are loving God with the first love in a tremendous way and committing themselves for the work of God. God bless you so much for what He put into your heart. You gave it out to the church and signs and wonders are being witnessed in the church.
I am much thankful to God and to you as well because the church is getting stronger and stronger. God bless you so much” – Bishop Leonard