Francois Nitunga, ECLEA-Burundi coordinator
REPORT OF CHURCH LEADERS TRAINING HELD AT CANKUZO (2 TIMES), BUKEYE, MUZYE AND MISHIHA FROM JANUARY TO MARCH 2020
I am so delighted to share with you an activity report that took place during this period of 3 months from January to March 2020. Despite the Corona Virus we are fine in the Lord and praise God. Even though we are not in the confinement, we do limited work as we await to see how tomorrow’s situation will be. This means that we didn’t do the trainings scheduled in April.
I would like to share with you about the church leaders training progress. So far, in this year we have held few trainings. The first one starts with the training you (Jonathan) held in Bujumbura on the book of Revelation on 20th January 2020 which was crowned with graduation of 28 people in Cankuzo. This graduation was also preceded by the training on the book on Marriage and Parenting at Cankuzo which was done the same time with the one you conducted.
Cankuzo training Cankuzo graduates
From February 24th to 28th we held the last training in Muzye on the book of James. One pastor from the graduates Rev. NIYUKURI Emmanuel, the Assistant bishop of the World Gospel Church said: “I have been in a seminary for 4 years in Tanzania and have been preaching on the book of James. However, I had never discovered the depth of the message therein and now am questioning whether really, I am saved or not. And if I am saved, there are many things I need to repent of and tell my brethren to do. I think we need to rethink our theology and Christianity we have been teaching our followers. Woe to us leaders for we have been doing things that are unbiblical. In fact, we have taught just religion, mores, traditions and culture which do not have anything to do with Christianity and salvation. I wish we had ample time to go back wherever we have “poisoned” and bewitched people to believe our insanity”.
This training was crowned with the issuing of diploma to 38 people who had been attending the whole 14 courses we taught them.
Muzye graduation attendees Muzye graduates
3. New training center and new in-take
Back to Cankuzo, a vision casting was held the same time in Mishiha and Cankuzo from March 23 to 28th. Pastors from Mishiha had pleaded with us that we should start a training school there so that their capacity be built and they would be able to face their Muslim colleagues and strengthen their Christians in a Muslim stronghold. 65 church leaders have been registered and a centre is now established there. They vowed to be serious, buy books and contribute towards their upkeep while they are attending the courses. We only praise God for their commitment.
Mishiha new students
Meanwhile, as the Cankuzo first intake graduated, 30 more pastors registered and have started the course. We praise God for the impact and community transformation the course is having. However, in both centers, Cankuzo and Mishiha, the trainees pleaded with us that we should go slowly taking into consideration the fact that many of them have never been to school or any seminary hence it is what they are learning takes time to sink in. We promised them that we would follow their pace and we agreed that they will be given much homework to do and practice which they appreciated a lot. We believe the numbers will gradually increase as many people now are discovering the sweetness of the course, especially from those who had attended seminary schools from abroad yet discovered that compared to what they had learned earlier, they realized that there were many lacunae their need to address.
Cankuzo new training
4. Looking ahead
Because the surrounding pastors appreciated the training we had been giving to those pastors and the impact the course did to those pastors as well as their followers, 30 more church leaders enrolled to start this course and are ready.
Meanwhile, the Rutana Anglican bishop mobilized his pastors and leaders to attend this course as well. We are still waiting for the starting day as we are waiting for the development of Corona virus otherwise, we are ready to start. This means that we would get 2 centres in the province of Rutana alone.
As to the remaining centres, nothing so far has changed, that is Bukeye and Nyanza Lac.
In addition, this mission took place when the whole world is under siege of Covid-19. As I write this report there are officially ten confirmed cases here in Burundi and of whom one is already dead.
During the training, we took the opportunity to teach our trainees on how they should behave to avoid contracting the virus and avoiding to contaminate others. In most times the countryside is underinformed. The only way to avoid contamination is through hand wash with soap. We also talked about the need for distanciation among them. We took enough time to teach them to wash their hands and this should be their lifestyle. We sensitize them to look for money to buy utensils and soap so that they should wash their hands properly. This should be well applied in their respective Churches and in their communities as well. In November we had been taught by nurses from Mission international (from Scotland). They conducted a one week workshop on health and hygiene and this did help us to spread the knowledge and skills.
The government has sensitized the population to adhere to hygiene so that the whole country can fight against the virus. As you know here in Africa, we do not have running water at our homes and that is why we have many diseases like cholera, dysentery, and diarrhoea which are killing people in Africa. They said, “Truly you would be helpful as we would go in turn to build the capacity of our surrounding community with regard to hygiene." We will go deeply into this issue in our book of Biblical Stewardship.
Let us all continue to pray for each other.
God bless you, Francois
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