Opening the Gate of Hope in Burundi
Written by Scott Sabin on February 11, 2014 in General, News & Events
Join us in praying for the country, our staff, and partnering farming families as you read over Scott’s reflection from his trip and the ways that Plant With Purpose is “opening the gate of hope” for many in Burundi.
I recently returned from Burundi, where some of our most innovative and impactful work is taking place. As you are probably aware, Burundi suffers from malnutrition and hunger on a level that is unparalleled in the world. Estimates are that 73 percent of the population does not get enough calories on a regular basis.
The reasons for this are complex. One of the most surprising to me is that after decades of civil war, there is a whole sector of the society that has grown up in refugee camps or amongst the rebel groups and has never learned to farm. In that context, our message of Christ’s hope and our agricultural assistance can bear much fruit quickly.
During my trip, I was privileged to preach at the Horeb Church in Bujumbura, where I met Pastor Damien. In 2005, rebels kidnapped Pastor Damien. Minutes away from execution, he asked to pray and miraculously persuaded the rebels to spare him. Out of gratitude for his prayers being answered, he dedicated his life to reconciliation. He started a tiny church of both Hutu and Tutsi in a garbage dump in Bujumbura. Three years ago he approached our director, Lazare, for help. Lazare began by helping them grow banana, cassava, and vegetables. Today, that garbage dump has transformed into a garden!
The government purchases seedlings from them. Officials have visited just to witness their transformation. The Sunday I preached, a member of parliament was visiting. The church has grown from 30 people meeting in a tent to 120 or more congregants. A savings-and-loan group is thriving. They are learning of God’s calling in their lives and realizing they have much to contribute. Pastor Damien says, “Church members are no longer beggars. They work; we eat and sell the produce. Plant With Purpose helped to open the gate of hope!” They are also realizing their work has a greater impact than they could have imagined, as they have become an example to many others.
To help the people of Burundi, consider sponsoring a village.
Thank you for your partnership in opening the gate of hope for many around the world.