Burundi is a small country to the southwest of Lake Victoria. It is bordered by Rwanda on the north, Democratic Republic of Congo and Lake Tanganyika on the west, and Tanzania on the south and east. It has recently emerged from a lengthy civil war. The total devastation by fire of Bujumbura's (the capital's) central market in early 2013 has significantly affected the national economy. Despite these setbacks, Burundi remains a beautiful country in which there is real spiritual hunger.
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ECLEA in Burundi
ECLEA personnel first went to Burundi in January 2009. Early-on, Jonathan Menn began working with Rema Ministries. Rema is an indigenous ministry in Burundi that, like ECLEA, focuses on training church leaders. 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. Our plan is that Jonathan will train the Rema staff members and ECLEA-Burundi treachers in ECLEA's courses as well as participate in other church leader training sessions. In this way, ECLEA will have maximum impact since we already have an experienced group of teachers.
Here are updates from ECLEA's Burundi team concerning ECLEA's work in Burundi (older news accounts of ECLEA's work in Burundi and the rest of East Africa are located in the News Archive):
Francois Nitunga, ECLEA-Burundi coordinator
REPORT OF CHURCH LEADERS TRAINING HELD SUCCESSIVELY FROM 04TH TO 09TH DECEMBER 2022 IN CANKUZO AND MISHIHA CENTERS
God has been so faithful to enable us to hold these trainings successively in Cankuzo Center and Mishiha Center.
Two teams made by four trainers were deployed to do the training. Even though it was heavily raining, trainees attended regularly the course. It was a period, whereby the price of foodstuffs has increased in the markets because of rain which fell late. So, the shortage of food was observed everywhere in the public places even in the shops surrounding the areas. But this problem of food is affecting the whole country.
2. THE FLOW OF THE ACTIVITIES
It is our routine that before starting the activities as scheduled during the week, students have to share the testimonies of what they have experienced during one month and half, as they put into practice what they studied in the book of expository preaching. It is the time also to bring back their home work. The trainees were very glad with this subject, because they are now able to prepare and share a good sermon according to the methods and strategies acquired in those two books: Biblical Interpretation and Expository Preaching. After hearing different experiences and testimonies, we started the book James.
Because this is an adult learning we have to put students into discussion groups so that they learn better from each other. The trainees took time discussing on what Paul and James seem to differ when they teach on faith and deeds. They finally find that at least the two languages do not oppose each other; but they complement each other. To understand this was very important!
People followed carefully the teachings on the book of James. This book is very interesting because it touches the Christian Life in general, and the practical side of it. Some of them have repented for ignoring what the Bible says about widows and orphans. They have now decided not to ignore them anymore; rather to take care of them. Other two subjects that took time while in discussion group were: trials and temptations: here they concluded by realising that, in the Christian life there are trials and temptations. Successfully overcoming these adversities produces maturity and strong character. Then the problem of showing favoritism which is a killer disease.
Students follow attentively the course
During their discussion groups, they came out with several things to show how favoritism is wrong: 1. It is inconsistent with Christ’s teachings, 2. It results from evil thoughts, 3. It insults people made in God’s image, 4. It is a by-product of selfish motives, 5. It goes against the biblical definition of love, 6. It shows a lack of mercy to those less fortunate, 7. It is hypocritical, 8. It is a sin, to mention but a few.
Students followed carefully the teachings. They were happy to acquire the teachings regarding this book. They asked so many questions that they can understand very well this book of James is all about.
1. Rev. MPFUKAMIYIMANA Patrice said: “I used to read this book of James but could not understand it. Different issues were not clear to me. For instance, the sin of partiality. In our church, it was rare for me to care a person with dirty clothes and those with very low income. I was interested to taking care of persons with good clothes, people who have money, and made them good friends. But according to what I learned in this book, I found that I was wrong. I have now seriously repented to have neglected the poor people and continued to elevate the riches. Please God forgive me. I have also understood that when the sin of partiality has bounded you, it has severe consequences on the poor, the rich, the church, and the unbelievers as well. As I went through this course, I was also inspired by the parallelism between Jesus Christ and Isaac. It was new to me to know that the entire story of Abraham and Isaac anticipated Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. I really appreciated this comparison. I have got a powerful message to preach in my church and where I will be invited to speak”.
2. Rev. HARERIMANA Venant: “I am so excited to have well-read this book of James during this course. I used to read it without a clear understanding about it. I love this book because any time I read it, I get new inspiration. After studying it, I found many things about indwelling sin and its outward manifestations. During this course, I understood new things about faith and works. For sure living faith makes a difference. My faith is more than a statement; my faith should result in action. I will be always seeking ways of putting my faith to work. May God help everyone present here in this class to do this. Help us also to guide Christians in the churches we are serving to put their faith into actions and help them to understand how faith without good deeds is dead”.
3. Pastor YAMUREMYE Charles: “This course touched my heart. I was challenged and motivated on helping widows and orphans. I have discovered that it’s the responsibility of the Church to taking care of orphans and widows. Not only to look for rich people which is to practicing favoritism. Let me say it openly that no favoritism in the church where I serve. The church has really lost its responsibility. So, it’s up to me as a pastor to mobilize all church members; to awake. We will mobilize food; money; clothes… for the benefit of poor people. Oh God help me to accomplish this decision I have made today”.
4. Mrs. CISHAHAYO Liberate: “I was challenged by this book of James. I have discovered that faith without works is useless. Whereas, before I thought as Paul said, faith is enough. But now, after learning this book of James, I have discovered that Paul and James complement one another. It is good that I have come to increase my knowledge in the Bible through this training. I thank God also for what I learned concerning the law of love. I understood this law in a special way, to know how to love myself and to have love for my neighbor. I have been called to love and serve those around me. As I keep this low of love, it shows that my faith is vital and real. Therefore, when I show love to others, my own selfishness is overcome”.
We want to thank our almighty God who helped us to do all the trainings, despite the death of our colleague, the beloved HARERIMANA Frederic which disturbed us, we were able to complete the training program as it had been scheduled.
We praise God for that. By the grace of God, we want to continue to help equipping g church leaders in Burundi. This is an opportunity that God has given us to train our church leaders because as you know very few pastors have got a chance to go to theological/Bible schools. Yet they have been called to lead this new generation of well-educated people. They need to be trained. We thank God for this ECLEA program precisely the materials.
God bless, Francois
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Francois Nitunga, ECLEA-Burundi coordinator
REPORT OF CHURCH LEADERS TRAINING HELD SUCCESSIVELY FROM 14TH TO 19TH NOVEMBER, 2020 IN RUTANA CENTER AND MUZYE CENTER
We praise our Almighty God who enabled us to hold these trainings, though it was a rainy period. WE thank God for sending us rain, People were fearing about what will happen next because Cultural season was not in time because of lack of rain. We were thinking that the trainees will not show up as the population were busy planting seeds in their fields. Amazingly they came and we were satisfied.
The students from Muzye Center were very glad to finishing the practical side of Expository preaching and at the same going through the book of James. The book of James has inspired all the participants because it really talks about the practical things for a Christian life. It talks about a Christ centered life. They have acquired new knowledge and understanding through that book.
The students at Rutana Centre, like the Muzye ones, were also glad to go through the book of James and go through the practical side of the Expository preaching. We have understood what this book is all about and as Christians leaders, it makes part of our daily lives, they said. They were happy with it and said that they will try to put into practice what they have learned and understood from the book.
2. FLOW OF ACTIVITIES
Before going deep into the activities as scheduled during the week, students have to share the testimonies of what they have experienced during two months, as they put into practice what they learn last time especially on the Expository Preaching. We had asked them to preach in their local churches at least two times, before meeting again, as practice is concerned. We had also directed the Students have to present their Sermons; we have tried to direct them on the way they are going to present their sermons according to the methods acquired during the training. We also gave them biblical passage to use while organizing their preaching. We were so pleased to hear how the Lord used them. It was excellent.
They were very glad because after the course on the Expository Preaching they are able to prepare a good sermon in a good way and share it. Praise the Lord! The word of God is affecting the lives of many people in their churches and in their local community as well. After hearing different testimonies, we started the book of James.
The book of James was very interesting. Students were very excited with the content of that book especially the many parallels with the teachings of Jesus find in that book. And also how it discusses many of the most important and crucial issues of this life and give answers. Some of the trainees shared their testimonies after they have gone through this book.
3. DIFFERENT TESTIMONIES
3.1 One of the trainees said: “I have preached so many time in the book of James, But I was not well informed about the book. without any knowledge or information on that book. Let me agree that I didn’t preached a good sermon. But from now on, according to what I got in this book, I am able to preach good sermons from this book of James. It is well and truly that I have just understood that the language of Paul and James complementing each other on the faith and deeds”.
3.2 Evangelist Salomon: Referring to the language of James, I discovered that God does not tempt anyone. Temptations come from the devil. When you face temptations, trials of many kinds, know that they are testing your faith, it develops your perseverance so that you may be mature, and complete. The devil always tempts us, but we need to face it and stand firm. I will overcome all temptations by God’s power. The word of God in this book gave me an assurance. It says: Resist the devil and he will flee from you, Chap. 4:7. What I will be needed is to submit myself always to God. Praise the Lord”!
3.3 Mrs. Sonia: “I have learned that I need to tame my tongue because it is a destructive force, though it is a small part of the body. Normally, it is very truth that most ladies including myself, we are talkative, by doing that we find that we have gone far like a small fire that destroys a great forest. I have to confess that I didn’t use my tongue in a good way. I failed to tame it. God forgive me. As I have understood well this verse, from now on I want to control by God’s help my small part of my body. I have now decided to go see some people I hurt by using my tongue and ask them for forgiveness. I need to change because I was deeply touched and challenged by this lesson about tongue. If there could be people in this present world who can strive for moderation in the use of speech, trying to tame their tongues, our surroundings and indeed everyone in general, would be at peace and everyone would be better off. Moreover, heaven will come down and stays among us.”
3.4 A senior pastor at Muzye parish said: “Through the book of James I learned how to submit to God. I Have found especially in chapter 4 that all fights, quarrels etc., come from our desires that battle within us. If I submit myself to God, this will enable me to live a life in accordance with what the Bible says life without hate, adulterous, the love of the world. So many times we as pastors, we behave like worldly people we overlook other people especially those we are ministering to. We become bosses in everything. No submission. Oh God forgive us. So, I have decided to Submit to God that I can prevent myself from continuing to do evil deeds. Oh God help me.”
As trainers, we have discovered that there was a big need for Servants of God to go through this course on the book of James, because it really talks about the Christian life. Unfortunately, many church Leaders have no idea about this book. It’s our wish that the trainees will at least train many people in their local churches, because it talks about the practical life of a Christian.
God bless, Francois
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Francois Nitunga, ECLEA-Burundi coordinator
Greetings from Burundi in the precious name of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Below various activity reports from June to date. Though our beloved colleague Fredric went to be with his Lord, we continued to do the trainings as they were planned. But we had to change some dates. The following are the dates of the trainings we have until the end of this year. From tomorrow the 14th to 18th We have two teams (4 people) going tomorrow, early morning to do the trainings in Muzye and at Rutana. On 28th/11/ to the 02nd/12 the training will take place at Cankuzo. Then from 05 to 09/12 the training will be at Mishiha. The training in Bujumbura with the United Methodist Church, will continue until the 20th/12. After that we will close for Christmas. I hope that this message finds you well. The Lord be with you.
REPORT OF ACTIVITIES THAT TOOK PLACE SUCCESSIVELY AT MISHIHA FROM 16th -21st October, 2022 AND CANKUZO-Centre From 23rd -29th , October 2022.
We are thankful to God who gives us strengthen to his work. We are determined to serve him in season and out of season. The Lord God enabled us to continue our program of Church Leaders Trainings that took place successively at Mishiha on the 16th to 21st October 2022 and Cankuzo Center on the 23th to 29th the same month, teaching the Expository Preaching course.
They were very glad to receive some tools such as new version of Kirundi Bible, that will help them to improve their skills in preaching, preparing and sharing good biblical Sermons. Students followed the course with enthusiasm no body slept. It was interesting.
They also thank God for the tools received from REMA Burundi. These materials will help us to understand and prepare any text from the Bible. They have so far different books such as: Biblical Interpretation, Expository Preaching and were also given a donation of a new revised Kirundi bible which contains some helpful information like commentaries. Note that this donation of new bibles were distributed to all our trainees in all our different centers. We praise god for that.
FLOW OF ACTIVITIES
As usual in our Schedule, each Monday before starting our program, we do thoroughly evaluation of what students have experienced during the months they are in the field. It is an evaluation of what they put into practice what they learnt in the previous course. Sharing experiences, and giving back the homework, and what are the challenges each one came across. For us this is a crucial moment whereby students learn from one another.
Trainees have shared testimonies and the changes this course is bringing in their own lives, in their churches and in local communities as well. The Biblical Interpretation course is one of the course we needed the most as preachers and teachers of the Bible. Some of us have asked God to forgive us in the name of Jesus Christ because we misinterpreted the bible which is the word of God. Now we have understood, we are doing the right things. We praise God for that, said the students.
1. “The course of Biblical Interpretation was powerful and interesting. Before coming to this training, it was very hard to understand many Biblical texts precisely in its context. But now, after I have gone through that course I am able to read any biblical text, and understand it in its context. I can try to do exegesis according to what and how I was taught, and understand what the passage/text is all about.
There is a big difference between the way I used to preach the sermons and the new way I am preaching today. Since I started to preach the Gospel, I was talking about anything because I myself did not understand what it talked about, what is the context. I am sure that by the grace of God, Christians could understand what I was preaching, as they could not ask me questions. Now, the truth is that when I started to apply the new methodology, the Christians approached me and asked me to tell them where I have found this knowledge. Now there is a positive impact due to the understanding of Biblical messages I preach”.
2. “First, I would like thank God who chose me to be among his servant and ambassador in this world. Secondly, I thank Rema Burundi for this special program to train Church Leaders and accompanied them with Biblical Materials. Finally, my thanks go to the Senior Leaders of my church who allowed me to participate in this important training. I used to criticize people who studied or went through theology trainings. I thought that these people were under the authority of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is inspired so, to understand the Holy Scriptures one does not need to go and study them. It‘s a matter of the Holy Spirit. We let the Holy Spirit guide us, not going to school. I was lost, and that was what I have received from my predecessors.
However, after this course on Biblical Interpretation, I have understood that it is impossible to understand the texts of the Bible unless you go to school and study them. The Bible was written in a certain context and culture. You need to understand it in its context and culture. I have therefore discovered that the Holy Spirit is a helper. He helps us according to the level of our knowledge and understanding. Now, my eyes are opened that I can preach any biblical text while referring to its initial context as well. Christians in the church where I serve, are amazed of the new way I use to explaining the Biblical text. When I apply the method of parallelism learn in this course in my sermon, the Christians understand very well what the message meant in that time and what it means today. May the name of the Lord be praised.”
3. “This Training brought me to another level. Before coming to this school I was ignorant to the Biblical Teachings. But now I found them very interesting. It was difficult to know the meaning of a Biblical text in its context, knowing the writer of a book, the reason why he wrote. But now, after this training am able to know and search for the origin of any Biblical text. From that understanding I can explain very well the text and then adapt it to our current life by showing the people how to apply it in their every day’s life. People are now changing the way they was believing. The word of God is changing people and bringing transformation in the society. I learned through this training how to be a friend of a Bible. Meditate it day and night, study it and then teach it to others has become my lifestyle. Praise the Lord”!
4. NTAHONDI Leonidas the preacher of RUSARASI Parish thanks God for this special training. I have received considerable knowledge in the interpretation of the Bible and the Expository Preaching courses. From those courses, I have got a new understanding of Biblical Text, and the good way of preparing and sharing a Sermon. That knowledge will help me to improve the way I was preaching before and the new way. I hope that my congregants will be blessed indeed by my sermons”.
5. Rev. Melchior ZOYA the Cankuzo District Superintendent in the United Methodist Church. In his special speech, while visiting the trainees to see how they are doing, he took a time whereby he encouraged them not to give up to come for this training because many pastors are ignorant, and that they must make a difference. He says: “There are those who don’t want to learn biblical courses because they don’t know how important they are. You cannot give what you don’t have”. I hope that through these training many people will be thirsty to hear your preaching that many pastors cannot preach for lack of knowledge. As far as I am concerned, I promise to continue to mobilize other Servants of God from different churches and denominations, at the next opportunity in order to come and learn from this training which is so important in the service of the people of God there are serving. NDAHAKESHIMANA Ezechiel the pastor of NYAMUGARI Parish is also very glad because of these teachings. They will help me and my people to have much knowledge in biblical interpretation and expository preaching. Before I came to attend this course, I could not understand well a biblical text in its context. It was also somehow difficult to do the parallelism and chiasm but now I can. praise the Lord.
6. HARUSHIMANA Melchiade the preacher of MUHOPFO Parish. “I am very glad because I have received significant facts of how to interpret the Bible and how to prepare and share a Sermon. Before coming in this training I could not understand anything about a preached wrong message for a long time, Glory be to the almighty God because now I can. It was too difficult to find and understand a biblical text by which I could prepare a sermon, because any sermon seemed to be difficult, at the time when I was reading Biblical text. I was doing it in a rush way. But after learning these courses, we were taught how to choose a biblical text. The Biblical text must meet the needs of the public or the audience. Yes! I have gained something. Still I am looking to know more”.
I Thank God and the organizers of this program, who have set up this course to equip and train the Church Leaders especial in rural areas like this. I had no hope in my life that I will get a certain opportunity to study theology, moreover, courses like these ones we are going through. I have discovered that this training has come in the right time, when many Servant of God were ordained without any theology training. God forgive us because there are times whereby we preached lies, contrary to what the bibles says. But because of God’s mercies people got saved. But since I went through these courses I am able to explain well a biblical text and share an understandable Sermon!
7. Rev. BUCUMI Luka:
“The delegate of the school in his speech he said: I am very happy to be among participants of this training which has opened my mind and my ears. Now I can understand very well the biblical texts as I read them, and I can also prepare and share a good sermon whereby everybody in the congregation can appreciate. I used not to take enough time to prepare a sermon. I was just get up in the morning, take my bible, and get a passage or a verse to share for that day. This was done is second. Now I am no longer such person. I have changed. I am a pastor worthy of my name. I take my time to organize myself before I go to the pulpit. It is good to go to acquire knowledge in the Bible”.
I have acquired considerable knowledge in the interpretation of the Bible and expository preaching courses. Before coming in this training I couldn’t know that the Bible is a book that must be studied seriously and that it needs much knowledge and understanding. After these courses I am now able to fully understand the way in which the Bible is interpreted in its context, but also to prepare a good sermon based upon to the standards and strategies acquired in these courses.
Some trainees got an opportunity to preach an sermon as expository preaching is concerned. Students got an opportunity to work together into small groups which was appreciated by all of them.
We praise the almighty God as we see the transformation our trainees are bringing in their families, in their local churches and how this transformation is affecting their neighbourhood . We thank Jonathan who got this vision and prepared such materials for our church leaders in our region. We provided them Bibles Cankuzo and Mishiha as well.
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Report on church leaders trainings held Respectively in Muzye, from 26-30 September/2022, and from 3-7/October 2022 in Rutana Center.
We thank God that we were able to hold these trainings. For sure we thank God for this because these trainings took place at a time whereby there was a shortage of fuel in all the country, and the daily increasing of food prices at the market as well. It was also a period whereby people were busy preparing (cultivating) their field to get ready for the new cultural season. Praise God because this did not stop the advancement of our training activities. The students were glad to continue the training. We took time to remember once again our beloved and trainer, the deceased HARERIMANA Frederic.
We took two consecutive weeks in the two centers. As usual in our schedule, each Monday before we go into the heart of the course, we have to do an evaluation of what our trainees were able to do and accomplish during the two months of reading and writing, as they must put into practice what they are learning or what they have learnt in their local churches and communities as well. Every trainee is given an opportunity to share what he experienced, and giving back the homework. For some, this is a moment of encouragement and motivation. And for others it is a challenging moment.
At Muzye, students talked so much about the course on the book of Revelation that they had gone through with Jonathan. They said that at least they have a new view of understanding and interpretation of this book. They testified that they have come closer to many different teachers who taught them wrong things about this book. They said: We don’t know where those so called teachers got what they taught us because they misled us”. There are others who said that they were overloaded and tired by the teachings of the Seventh day Adventist that they judged them to have followed the wrong teachings.
One said: «Before learning this course on the book of Revelation, I was afraid to prepare a sermon on this book a part of 3 first chapters and some verses of last 2 chapters. But after the going through this course I have understood what the book is all about and her message as well. Still I want to know more about this book of Revelation. My request is that Jonathan may come again and tell us more about this book, because the time was very short”.
Another said: “This is the book I feared most to read especially from chapter four onward. Because I could not understand those beets animals, dragon and so on, because I dint know if they were symbols, signs in a language which people of that time could understand. I Praise the Lord that now, after following the course with all my interest, I can understand something from the book! I have decided to read and to re-read the commentaries, using this book wrote by Jonathan because I have seen face to face. I wish He could come to teach us Biblical Eschatology.”
At Rutana Centre, students have shared so many powerful testimonies on the book of Biblical interpretation, which they have learned last time. They thank so much the teacher for the way he has explained the course. They also thanked the writer of the book for the time he took to research and write that course. Even though it is somehow hard to understand, but it is necessary to know how to interpret the Bible. As church leaders, we are nothing if we don’t know how to interpret our Bible. This course has helped in many ways. Now we can afford any Biblical text. We are able to read it, understand it, and interpret it. Students have given powerful testimonies that have changed their lives and communities.
After hearing the expressions of joy over the past books both at Muzye and Rutana Centre, we at least begin a new lesson on the Expository Preaching, when everybody was waiting with enthusiasm this powerful lesson. This lesson touches the whole life of a man of God. How to present and organize what we have found during the exegesis.
Students preach as they practice expository preaching. This trainee was the first student to stand and gave a powerful sermon as she was practicing what she was taught during then training. After her sharing, other student challenged her and helped showing her how she could improve her preaching. After her, other people preached. They were appreciated, motivated, challenged and encouraged. Students liked it and said that is a good exercise which everyone must keep doing.
Hi is practice expository preaching and others are following him attentively, and they will help him and also challenge him.
The same scenario as it was in Muzye. Patrick says that what is important is the willingness to learn and accept to accommodate new good things. Like expository preaching. Muzye, and Rutana centers, students took their time to read and follow the course on Expository Preaching, as they knew that at the end each one of them will have to present a sermon. They enthusiastically participated, and the course was so interesting that they give their comment, asking questions for clarification, contributed with good ideas to make the course alive.
Muzye students are giving powerful testimonies, and contributing with good ideas. At the end Muzye students also did an exam and were give a home work as well.
Testimonies from Muzye, and Rutana Centre. All the trainees unanimously said:
1. “We have received a new way of sharing the Word of the Living God to our congregants due this course of Expository Preaching. The course opened us to the horizons that we were able to learn the good way in which one can prepare a sermon and present it. Reading and understanding a biblical text in its context is of a paramount importance in the preparation of a sermon. Before I could not read the Bible properly, but with this course, I find that meditating on Biblical texts becomes a lifestyle as a Servant of God. Like others, we have just discovered through this course that we have been very ignorant in preparing the Sermons. We have taught somehow heresies, false teachings which are contrary to what the Bible says due to the lack of knowledge. For sure God has forgiven us”.
2. I thank God and the leaders of my church who at the request of Rema Burundi, sent me to attend this theological training. To tell you the truth, before coming to this school I was preaching lies because I myself did not understand the Holy Scriptures. I have then preached anything and anyhow. Nevertheless, by the Grace of God, I found myself in this training, where I was taught so many things and especially the expository preaching which has so much changed my life. The way I read the Bible, the way I prepare and preached the Sermons, the way I present the Sermon in front of the church, have totally changed. I am sure that when I go back to my local church, the whole congregation and church members will notice a total change in me. May God richly bless you. I therefore ask the representatives of Rema Burundi to continue seeking useful courses for us and for the work of God, in order to come and continue teaching us considering our r level of understanding.
3. I would like to thank God who enables me to have access to this training. I should learn this course first before I was called a pastor. The people who ordained me to pastoring a church without training me on the responsibility that assigned me, have really deceived me. I messed things up, I lied to people by preaching unprepared messages. Have mercy of me God. After this course I can say that I am now a pastor because this training has transformed all my life. What I promise is that when I go back in my local church I will invite once a week all evangelists and church leaders who have not get a chance to attend this school so that I could train them not only for this course but also for all other books we went through. Precisely those I understood well. I will now then take time to prepare and to organize my sermons. I will be motivating and inviting other fellow pastors to go to Bible schools.
We praise the Lord for this church leader’s training. We will continue to see how changes are taking place in their local churches and communities, and see if they have changed the way of organizing their sermons and delivering them. For all centers, Muzye and Rutana, we gave them practice exercises. Each student received a passage from the bible to preach on and few of them have presented their Sermons. We will continue next time as we will be teaching the book of James. We will take few hour and give an opportunity for some to preach especially during the morning devotion. And then from 10 am after the break to continue with the book of James. God bless!
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REPORT OF ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT AT NYANZA-LAC COMMUNE, FROM SEPTEMBER 12TH TO 16TH 2022
To start with, we would like to thank the almighty God for his Grace, Mercy and abundant love who helped us to continue with our training program, though we were still remembering and mourning for our beloved and colleague Frederic who left us in the beginning of July. So, the Lord have been faithful to us, and has helped us to carry on this training on September 12th to 16th 2022 in Nyanza lac. The book of 1 Timothy was on the schedule.
The book of 1 Timothy like so many other books, this one has something special and especially that it describes the way of life of a church leader. In addition, the book of first Timothy presents the most explicit and complete instruction for church leadership and organization in the entire Bible. For sure, this includes sections on appropriate conduct in worship gatherings, the qualifications of elders and deacons, taking care of widows, and the proper order of church discipline. 52 pastors have participated in that workshop and was very interested to study such book, some of their comments will be found in the testimonies.
2. THE FLOW OF ACTIVITIES
As it is in our routine, together with the students, we first did an evaluation of what they learned in the book of Revelation, what they put into practice, what were the success and the challenges they experienced. They thanked the Lord for giving them an opportunity to learn this book. Many of them said that before going through this book, they were afraid to preach from it and it was not even easy to read it. But with the knowledge they have acquired during the course, they confessed that they can now face certain chapters of this book even if the doubts on certain passages are not lacking.
They asked REMA, to ensure that this book is studied again, because some chapters of this book remain incomprehensible. And also because they have been misled by may false teachers of this book. They took enough time to discuss on many things found in this book. But what matters a lot to them is whether they belong to Jerusalem, or in Babylon.
2.1 The book of 1 Timothy
After doing together a thoroughly evaluation and fruitful sharing we then proceeded with the book of first Timothy.
On that book, as it has discovered in the purpose of it, the senior pastor of that church full of joy, expressed in these words:” This is the book that must be learn seriously. This book is about all of us pastors who are present here. This book is speaking directly to us not in parables. It talks about not only the lives of pastors, but also the worthy behavior of a pastor. Please let us take our time to study well what is in this book. I know that after this course we won’t be the same in our leadership as pastors. I thank God for this.”
During the session, many other participants were very glad to hear about how they can behave in their every day life in the ministry, and knowing that they are the solution of all problems occurred not only in the church but also in the society. During their time of discussions, they said that they must be careful on what they teach, and practice all the instructions found in that book. The participants were so much interested and some of them were touched to such an extent that they decided to review their pastoral calling but also changed certain behaviors that are not compatible with a servant of God. They have expressed their joy through different testimonies.
The students were so much interested by the course as it was touching their very lives and then shared testimonies. Note that they asked me not to put their photos neither to write their names.
1. “I would like to thank REMA BURUNDI for this special workshop. Before this training I was unable to understand and explain some verses from first Timothy, but today I can praise the Lord! I will read carefully the comments in this book, so that I can acquire more knowledge, because I have discovered that this book of first Timothy speaks to me as a senior pastor, leading a big congregation. There are many areas in my life that I need to change from now on. I will also mobilize other Servants of God who have not had the chance to be trained, in order to teach them and explain the way in which this book is interpreted. In any case, the church members will understand the word of God, and this will have a positive impact in the church and in society. The lives of the Christians will be affected in all areas and the number of believers will increase”.
2. Let me give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ because he allowed me to be in this training. I understand through this book of 1 Timothy that the church has the responsibility to taking care of the Widows. For that reason, I and my Parish Council will set up a commission in charge of widows, orphans and other vulnerable people. We will try our best to mobilize money, food, cloths, for the needy ones in our local community. We will also mobilize the local authorities to contribute towards this noble activity. Oh God help me to accomplish this.”
3. The book of First Timothy is exactly talking about me as a church leader, a pastor leading flocks of many believers, not in the church but also in my local community. May our heavenly Father forgive me for what I did wrong in ignorance. I was really taught and educated from the beginning of this book to the end. I have found a work tool that will help to serve God in my church and my community, in season and out of season. From now I am going to serve my people according to this book. As I try to be an example. For sure this course was sent tom me by the Holy Spirit. May the name of the Lord be praised.”
As trainers, we realized that there is a great need for all the servants of God to go through this course of 1 Timothy, because it talks about the whole life of pastors. Unfortunately, many pastors have no idea about this book. It is our hope that these pastors will train more people in their local churches about the practical things found in this book, such as the way of supporting the vulnerable people. We encouraged all our students to continue reading the comments in the book as they read their Bibles in order to prepare good sermons which will touch all sectors of lives of Christians and their communities in particular. During the training, we gave them a donation of new Kirundi bibles which has some information needed while reading and interpreting it. It has also a good and rich introduction of each book in the Bible.
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Report of Activities that took place Successively at Nyanza-lac, Muzye,Cankuzo, Mishiha, and United Methodist church, Rohero parish: June-August 2022.
Training in Muzye and Nyanza lac
We would like to thank God who enabled us to hold trainings in different areas and provinces according to the following schedule:
- From 20th -24th /June we hold a training at Nyanza –Lac with the book of Revelation and Jonathan was the Trainer,
- From 27th/June -1st/July we hold a training at Muzye with the book of Revelation, Jonathan was the main trainer,
- From 1st-7th August,we hold a training at Mishiha with the book of Biblical Interpretation, we finished that book and started the book of Expository Preaching
- From 15th-19th/August, we hold a training at Cankuzo on the book of Biblical Interpretation, we finished that book and started the book of Expository Preaching,
- From 22th -26th /August We hold a training at Muzye. We did Biblical Interpretation and finished it.
- From 22th -26th /August a training was organized at Rutana center, we finished the book of Biblical Interpretation.
At the Rohero United Methodist Church, we have continuous courses as we do classes in the evening hours from 17h to 20 h apart of Saturday where we meet from 8 am to 2pm. Actually, we have finished the book of Biblical stewardship, 1st Timothy, biblical counselling, Marriage and Parenting, and See Through the Scriptures as well. Now we are starting Biblical Theology.
In the course of these trainings, Nyanza-Lac and Muzye centers were honored by Jonathan who spent two weeks doing the training. He took the trainees through the book of Revelation. During his stay, he got an opportunity to preach in different churches, including the Pentecostal church of Nyanza Lac and the United Methodist Church, Rohero Parish.
In other Centers: Rutana, Cankuzo and Mishiha, we were teaching the Biblical Interpretation, when we were at Nyanza lac Jonathan with a lot of courage and advices, taught the book of Revelation. The trainees followed him with lots of enthusiasm. They unanimously said: “We are happy because we are receiving the teachings from the real source”. Unfortunately, when we arrive at Rutana, one of the trainers, the deceased, Frederic felt seriously sick and finally went to be with his Lord.
According to the book of Revelation, Jonathan’s teachings and explanations were so understandable than what we have been taught in different bible schools, those some of us have been attended. Some trainees said. It was discovered that the trainees had other informations in their heads about that book, but with Jonathan’s explanations they did understand this book. The students were so excited so much so that they have asked to learn this book for a sufficient time in order to study it in-depth manner.
The students opted to love the book, to read it, and to change the way they were teaching it. We got the same ideas even in Nyanza lac, Muzye, where Jonathan was teaching. They request him to come back to teach the book of Eschatology.
In other centers, where we taught the book of Biblical Interpretation, we stirred up in the hearts of the learners a spirit of loving to read not only the Bible but also other books that can interpret the Holy Scriptures. We taught them Exegesis, the way one enters the womb in a Biblical text, study it carefully in order to understand it and finally to apply it in everyday life. Expository Preaching was the next course to teach
Different Courses were taught in Bujumbura at ROHERO in the United Methodist Church
In the United Methodist Church, in the course of Biblical Stewardship, students have understood what is a stewardship. Based upon to the United Methodist Church Doctrine, a stewardship is a person who rule over other pastors. So, they was thinking in that way. Therefore, after they have got the true meaning of that word, they have understood that they are themselves stewardship in what God have given them, stewardship in giving, environment and so on. In fact, they are called not only to give tenth, offerings, but to give themselves. A good number of them, have promised also to set up a budget in their Families.
Regarding the Marriage and Parenting course, the students have discovered that there are serious and crucial problems in the homes/families. The devil has risen for the married couples. They do not get long, they always bicker, conflict between children and parents, couples do not put themselves on the same waves on the use of the family money, they asked that this course should be reviewed, in order to acquire more knowledge that could enable them to save these families which are in a big danger. The training continues and in all we see the hand of God. Let his powerful name be elevated.
Nyanza lac Muzye
During Jonathan's visit, after Muzye training, we visited one pastor, NYANDDWI Louis whom have put into practice what he was taught in our training as the course of Biblical Stewardship is concerned. He prepared well his field and has a good banana plantation, he has cultivated pineapples, has a healthy cow and he gets enough milk to drink and to sell. He has a healthy family and people in his local community come to learn from him.
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REPORT ON CHURCH LEADERS TRAININGS HELD RESECTIVELY IN CANKUZO, MISHIHA, RUTANA AND MUZYE FROM 21ST TO 26TH/02/2022 AND 28/03 TO 01/04/2022
We praise the Lord that we were able to hold these trainings respectively in Cankuzo, Mishiha, Rutana and Muzye, though it was heavily raining in those area. Very often our daily program was disturbed by the rain. But this did not prevent the advancement of our training activities. We went to the end of the session. In both centers, we started the Biblical Interpretation course. From the start of this course, we realized that the students were looking forward to it. It is because some of them had heard about this course from some of the former student who attended it in Cankuzo. Biblical Interpretation course is bringing new input on the way they were doing their exegesis as they prepare biblical messages.
Rutana trainees are also following attentively the Biblical Interpretation course
How the training activities were carried out during the week
It has become a good routine that anytime and anywhere we go for the training the first thing we do is to remind our trainees that the covid-19 is still with us, by reminding our students to continue to observe the hygiene measures taken by the government through the Ministry of Public Health to fight against this virus, such as to keep the good habit of hand washing, using masks and keeping distance.
Cankuzo trainers and the trainees didn’t forget to put their masks due to the covid pandemic
As usual, each Monday before we proceed with the training, we do evaluation of what our trainees were able to do during the two months, homework and activities they did as they put into practice what they are learning. This is very important because it is part of learning. Theory: what they learn in class on a daily basis takes 50%, and practical works also take 50%. In total each course is marked at 100%.
At Mishiha we had done Forgiveness and Reconciliation whereby our students shared powerful testimonies and experiences they encountered during the two months in their local churches and communities.
This report is full of some few testimonies from out trainees in Mishiha, and one testimony from Cankuzo among many. We continue to praise our Lord God that this course, as we have already said it, is transforming many lives of our students hence bring changes in the life of their communities. The Church has an impact in the community. We praise God!
Muzye trainers take their time to read and to follow The secret of the success of each course is the full participation of the trainees the trainers. The course is interesting. through, giving comment, through asking question for clarification and through their contribution with good ideas to make the course alive.
Reverend Harerimana Venant. We are seeing tangible impact on the field due to the courses we have gone already through. For instance, Pastor Harerimana Venant expounded the book of Esther to the astonishment of all the people that were in that gathering. When asked where he got all this, he said that he has been a student for the last year in Cankuzo in a Bible school held by Rema Burundi and where they teach ECLEA material. They kept asking how they could get access to this Bible school as well for they had realized how powerfully he was exposed the Bible. They said that they also yearn to learn and said that they did not know that in Cankuzo, far away from the city, there could be such powerful preachers. They did not know that in Cankuzo there could be people of such a calibre; they even regret that they had been inviting preachers from other denominations, ignoring that within themselves there are hidden talents.
"Using the course on Biblical Stewardship did help me a lot in preparing what I preached that day. I took almost 30 minutes talking about the lessons I drew from Biblical Stewardship course. From there I proceeded to tell them to check on how the church is bedevilled by diseases while we have so many doctors in the church, check on how the church is poor economically, people get loans on very high interest rate while we have so many people in the church who did economics and graduated from powerful universities, I told them that they are a talent the church has. I challenged them if they have you gone to study all this for their own and selfish profit and benefit, or it should be a talent that is put in action for the betterment of the community and the church at large. Check on how the grassroots people are poor, yet we have so many agronomist engineers who know how to plant bananas which could yield a lot, yet they keep for themselves this knowledge and the people die for lack of knowledge. I told the gathering that all this poverty the church is encountering would be laid on their shoulders since they hid the talent the Lord had bestowed upon them. To cut the story short, after showing them all the talents hidden in them, we were able to raise more than 20,000,000 Burundian money, something nobody could understand and could have predicted. This testimony raised the profile of that school and for this reason, soon, the whole denomination in Bujumbura vowed to take part in those courses”!
IRAKOZE Emilienne. “Before I attend this course on Forgiveness and Reconciliation, I was overburdened. As there was somebody we would not agree, I thought that because he/she is the one who was wrong, I could not initiate the reconciliation. Things have changed and it amazed me, and since I got acquainted with this course, I went to see him, we discussed although it was not easy, we had to confess and ask for forgiveness. Now, we talk and laugh together; he is no more suspicious. We could not greet each other though we were part of the same church, we could pray together in the same church yet could not greet each other. Now we have reconciled, I consider it to be a miracle, for even today if he is in hospital or has somebody in hospital, I go to visit him and if I take to him something to eat he eats it, something that was impossible before we reconciled. Now there is peace between her and I, no grudge between us any more, we are now free and have been liberated. Now we are free I am grateful to the people who have prepared this course. Thank you”.
Ndayisenga Felix. “The course of Forgiveness and Reconciliation was very helpful in the church I lead. This course did help me to reconcile a couple who were always in disagreement. The wife used to be beaten up, and from time to time could even go to hospital to nurse the wounds inflicted by the husband. Although they were living in the same house as a couple they were sleeping in different rooms. They call each other brutal. They could not talk to each other. I did bring them together, I taught them the course on reconciliation and forgiveness, it took me ample time, but the end was good as they agreed to reconcile, they asked for forgiveness to God and then they asked for forgiveness each other. Now all is well in their home. This brought a good testimony in the neighbourhood and as a result many are flocking to this church when they realized what happened to this family.”
“Forgiveness and Reconciliation opened the doors for the neighbours. I had a neighbour we could not agree, whenever we met, we could not greet each other, we held grudge against each other. After I went through this teaching, I went to see him although reluctantly for I was not sure if he would receive and accept me. I was heavily burdened. I realized that the Lord had opened his heart, we were able to reconcile and ask each other forgiveness. I praise God that there is no more misunderstanding between us, I do not carry him any more wherever I go. Our relationships are so bright, the doors that had been closed are now open. Each one of us had decided to close the door but we found that this was an enemy’s strategy to divide us, now we live in harmony”.
Rev. Mpfukamiyimana Patrice. “I want to thank God for the teaching we got from this course of Forgiveness and Reconciliation. When I got this book, I haste to read it all. I made a programme of teaching forgiveness and reconciliation in the parish I am leading. The outcome is that there are many families and a number of Christians who took the step of asking for forgiveness. There are even people who had gone to the court of justice, but after going through this course, they withdrew the case for the court of justice and sort out their difference themselves. Although it is not easy to ask for forgiveness, it is possible, remains just to kick start. What I praise God for is that I understood that we are forgiven by the grace of God we cannot buy forgiveness. The walls that were separating us, have started to crumble and collapse”.
The secret of the success of each course is the full participation of the trainees through, giving comment, through asking question for clarification and through their contribution with good ideas to make the course alive.
The students learn much better through discussion groups The trainees at Muzye center pause for a family photo
We praise the Lord for this church leaders’ trainings. We continue to see how changes are taking place in their churches. In all we say: God is good all the time! On Saturday we take time to go to visit our students and also those who finished the training, to see how they are doing and to encourage them to keep moving ahead, to reminding them their call to serve the Lord in God’s vineyard.
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ACTIVITY REPORT ON BUKEYE CHURCH LEADERS TRAINING AND GRADUATION FROM 15 TO 20 MARCH 2022
We praise the Almighty God for this end of the training which was culminated by graduation after almost five years, characterized by so many challenges, which had a negative impact on the training. Let us mention two major ones among others: Floods and Covid-19. These two major problems impacted negatively the training but we praise God that we didn’t stop the training. One of our students passed away and one student also lost his wife. But in all we saw the hand of our almighty God. Floods caused havoc as many of our students were internally displaced, and could not save anything from their houses. Though that was the situation we praise God that no one died as a result.
Rema Director and the Legal Representative of Rema give their challenging speeches to the graduates and to the invitees, especially church representatives, during the graduation ceremonies
The reason we praise God is that most of the graduates have gone through the whole curriculum, that was so far 15 courses. Of course, there are courses like the Gospel of Mark and the books of Habbakuk and Galatians which have not been included in those courses for they had not been available by the time we decided that these students graduate.
1. Activity progress
We are grateful to the Lord that from 15 to 19 March we held the last training and the course was on Biblical Literacy: OT and NT overview. As I have already said, this training was culminated by the issuing of diplomas and certificates on the 20th of March. 22 participants who had gone through all the 15 courses got diplomas while 5 certificates of participation were given to those who went through few courses only. In total, 27 people graduated.
2. Biblical literacy: OT and NT overview
This course has been important on the students as one of the students said: “We would have missed something very important if we did not have this course. In conjunction with all we saw in other books, and courses, this course gave us an opportunity to see the links especially when it comes to knowing the backgrounds, geography, the areas, locations, customs and traditions and where things happened.” This course has helped us when it comes to Biblical interpretation especially when we are introducing the expository preaching and exegeting any biblical scripture. In brief, as we teachers, we realized that this course opened the eyes of the students. For instance, students know where the Church of Corinth is situated, the journeys Paul made and the itinerary, and what gentiles mean in terms of circumcised and uncircumcised, etc. They were delighted to know key points that are in each book, or how Jesus is portrayed which will help them in their exegeting and expounding any text of Bible.
The long-awaited graduation took place on Sunday 20th 2022. Jesus is Lord Church which had hosted the training had invited prominent senior authorities in the government, in the security sector, in administration and senior pastors and representatives of different denominations as aforesaid to come and witness the graduation.
This gave Rema an opportunity to cast a vision of ECLEA program, and its vision on Burundi as a country; in brief they were made aware of what ECLEA is all about. It was also an occasion for Rema to tell the people where the centres are, where Rema is conducting our program of the trainings for any pastor who would wish to attend. One of the invitees not only encouraged us but also challenged us that we should have invited the media to cover the event for public awareness of existence of this program, especially to those churches and pastors who are unaware of the existence of this training.
It was so good that the graduates are still remembering that Jonathan Menn visited them, and taught them the book of Revelation. They thanked him and asked Rema to transmit their gratitude.
The chairman of Evangelical and Pentecostal churches in Burundi, Bishop Independence Calixte said:
“This program is so crucial and has come as an answer to our prayer. In fact, we have been praying that there can be a program where all the pastors who stand in front of people to teach need to go through, in order to be able to preach and teach and expound the Bible effectively and efficiently.” Now, God has given an answer to our prayer request. Therefore, I encourage you my fellow pastors to take this training as a God given gift to us. Prepare yourself to stand before your congregations and preach what you know. Take this opportunity to prepare future leaders, preachers and teachers of the Word in your churches through attending these courses offered by Rema Burundi”.
Graduates are enjoying their diploma
Signing to their diploma and show to the congregation present that Family members have come to support and to testify to the they didn’t spend almost five years for nothing. It was not a joke! graduation
The trainers have also enjoyed the graduation ceremonies
To show their gratitude they gave Rema a special gift.
Before the end of the ceremonies the graduates sang a worship song to praise the Lord for his goodness and his mercies that endure forever.
The dean of the students Rev. NYANDWI Shadrack was amazed to reach to this special day. He could not believe that that was a long waited day. He says: “This is my day. In life what matters a lot is endurance. Prayers, keeping and planning the time, hope and endurance are the keys of success”
We are grateful to the Lord that this program is having a tangible impact not only on pastors but also among the Christians and on the surrounding communities at large. However, despite the willingness and zeal of the pastors to take part in that program, they are hindered by many challenges:
1. The floods in some areas have caused havoc and many livelihoods have been taken away.
2. The covid-19 has worsened the situation though in Burundi we were lucky as no church was closed or zoom was used.
3. The climate changes have made most Burundians who are cultivators to lose their livelihoods. As a result, though they would wish to contribute towards the cost of the books and their upkeep while on the training, from time to time it becomes difficult for them.
4. As we have 6 centres and in each centre we need to be there at least 6 times for a whole week each year, seasonal calendar becomes difficult to manage.
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REPORT OF THE TRAINING THAT HELD AT NYANZA LAC, FROM 07-11/03/2022
For a long time, we have been longing to have access to the Swedish Pentecostal church, the second biggest denomination in Burundi after the Catholic church. We praise God that from 7 to 11 March we were able to access it and took all the pastors of Swedish Pentecostal church mission in Nyanza Lac through the Biblical stewardship, something they had never heard of, or had misinterpreted. For your information, in the Pentecostal Swedish Church, what they call mission is the same as a diocese in the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches.
We took the participants, 54 of them including the senior pastor and his deputy into the course. In fact, The senior pastor made it mandatory that every pastor has to go through these teachings. In fact, he said:
“I regret the long time I have been a close friend to Frederic Harerimana yet, did not know the wealth and the talents the church had, unfortunately we did not make use of them. This is high time we learned. We are in a new environment where we need to learn in order to be able to stand in front of the church and teach. Moreover, there are regulations of the ministry of home affairs which stipulate that no one who has not been trained will be able to stand in front of the church, teach or preach. Sadly, enough, most of these pastors have never attended seminaries or biblical training yet are leading big congregations”.
This denomination had been isolating itself to other people and would not want any other pastor to associate with it, to the point that some of the pastors think that only Swedish Pentecostal followers are the only people that are entitled to access to heaven!
Left is the senior pastor of Nyanza lac Rev. Charles give a powerful speech introducing the trainers from Rema
during the opening of the training center, and at the right, he closes the first week of the first training.
The course itself
We had to take the participants to the course of Biblical Stewardship. To their amazement, when we took them to the Scriptures, they realized that every human being who was created in the image of God is the steward and has a mandate and obligation from the Lord to be a steward. What threatened them was to hear that according to the talents they had been given they will be held accountable the day of Judgment. Having been taught heresies, they had a lot of questions which led us to slow down the speed and make sure that we explain every scripture referred to in the course.
I will never forget the heavy loaded discussion on the idea of being fruitful and increase in number, to fill the earth and to subdue it. The Swedish Pentecostal church has been teaching that family planning is a sin and that all the people who use the family planning methods are sinners. The senior pastor took the participants into reasoning them and showing them all the errors and mistakes some of the pastors of the Swedish Pentecostal church. There were some church leaders who had been to some Bible training schools run by Pentecostals but they admitted having not been exposed to anything of such a calibre.
Responses from participants
Participants were very much pleased to have attended the training. They, unanimously, said: “For sure, God willing and by His grace, we will make every efforts to attend all the trainings, whatever time they will take to get all those courses.
The Nyanza lac Churchy decided to buy books and to feed the students through her budget, all the time the training will be going on." The senior pastor said: “Our aim is to train all our pastors leading churches, and later on we shall train our deacons, catechists and all evangelists. We want to see changes in the lives of our preachers and teachers of the Word, and then that transformation will affect our local communities and all the church in general." Mission took on its shoulders the whole programme and it voted 30,000,000 Bif allocated to this programme. They bought the books on the budget of the church.
The harvest is plentiful but the harvesters are few. In fact, in Rema Burundi Francois and Frederic are the only people attached to this programme of building capacities of pastors although the director from time to time go to join them but not at a regular basis. Due to the Paschal Season which has many activities in churches we will the next training in May from 9th to 13th instead of next week which was scheduled to take place from Monday 25th to 29th 2022.
Pastor Nestor Hakizimana: First of all, I am grateful to the Lord for this programme that came to help and rescue us through these teachings. During these 5 intensive days we have spent here, I have understood what a steward is. A steward is a manager, an intendent, an ambassador, a director, who has been trusted and has been sent to a mission to work, cultivate, keep, protect, rule, tend and subdue, knowing that one day he would appear before the Lord and give a report, an account to the one who mandated him on how his tenure has been. We have seen various facets in which stewardship must be apparent or seen. I was surprised to realize that the Lord did not keep anything for himself in giving us all the authority and ruleship over all the things he has created including the environment, the time (we have seen that the misuse of the time is the misuse of our whole life). Moreover, we have discovered that failing to plan is plannning to fail. We have discovered the importance of planning the day, the week, and the month. This helps to check on what one has achieved and helped him to assess and review. We noticed how stewardship of the body is important. In fact, everything be it time, money, environment, body, church, people, family, spouse the Lord has entrusted us with, we will account for it. To wind up, I am grateful to the exercises we went through, they gave us time to rethink how we have been understanding stewardship and gave us an opportunity to change and apply the knew knowledge in our daily lives. We were so much helped by the exercise we were given to stand in front of the congregation and teach. The positive critiques were of incredible importance.
Hacimana Jean Bosco: Among many things I learned in the course of Biblical Stewardship, I was so much helped by the topic on the stewardship of the time. I came to understand that time is not only money but it is also life. I also came to understand that time cannot be bought by money. I realized that even if all the people do not have the same wealth they however all have the same amount of time, what differs is how each one organizes and plans his time. It became clear to me that I should always plan my day so that I may know where to start and how to prioritize whatever I have to day everyday. I came to understand that we should you misuse our time through trivial things and useless things which “kill” our time. It became apparent to me that I lost much time through useless talks and communications which do not yield any return for my life. I found myself doing things I had not prepared or planned for. There is no way I could redeem the time I have lost. From now on, I am going to use my time sparingly, and avoid those things which take my time yet are not important for my life. So for my first time, it dawned to me that planning my time equals to planning my life and my future. I am grateful to the Lord and to the senior pastor that this programme has been compulsory to all the pastors of this diocese.
Pastor Ntahondereye Manasse: I am so grateful to the Lord that in my whole time I have been involved in ministry I had never come across this programme. I used to believe that stewardship is something I should not lose time on. In fact, due to the wrong teachings we got in the past, we were made to believe that only pastors are stewards and that only pastors are servants of the Lord. It dawned to me that every human created in the image of God was made a steward and that he would give an account of what the Lord has entrusted him with and what he has bestowed on him, as well as the gifts and talents he got from the Lord. It dawned to me that every human being is important in the eyes of the Lord as is the Pastor. I am grateful to the Lord for Rema Burundi to have taken upon their shoulders to equip us with all these things that are key to our ministry. Most of us have not gotten any opportunity to go to seminaries or be exposed to such teachings. Yet we are called to stand in front of congregations and share the word of God which was written in a culture and for an audience which different from ours. We pledge to keenly attend these courses until the end for our benefits and for the benefit of our congregants we have been called to serve. Although we are still in the beginning, we are convinced that as we will proceed, we will discover much more. Knowledge is gotten from various sources. For instance, I discovered that time is not only money but also life, once squandered all life is squandered.
Nkunzimana Emmanuel: What I have gained from this course which has taken 5 intensive days is enormous. I have acquired a lot I used to ignore. The most important thing I acquired from this course of Biblical Stewardship is that the Lord wants us to be faithful and trustworthy people who use the gifts and talents the Lord has bestowed and entrusted to us. Moreover, it dawned to me for the first time that as a pastor I came to serve and not to be served. I used to preach about being a servant, but deep down my heart I did not understand the implications and repurcussions of what I was preaching and teaching the congregants. For my first time, I came to understand that I am responsible and that I will give an account to him who has entruested me with whatever I have been given, and I discovered that the gifts and talents that the Lord has put in the church should be profited by the whole congregants as we all are part of the same body, the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. On my side, there is something I am going to put into practice and apply. The stewardship of money and time. I am also going to identify all the talents that are in the church the Lord has entrusted me with and see how they could be a beneficial to the whole congregation as one body. I am going to multiply opportunities where all those talents can find expression for the profit of the church. May the Lord strengthen our senior leadership and Rema Burundi that have made this programme a reality. I pledge to attend all the courses that have been developed by ECLEA since I realized that they are unequal. Some of us have attended some biblical institutions set up by our denomination, but what we have seen in this course has been utterly new and we hope that the courses ahead will open up our minds greatly.
Hamenyimana Michael: I am grateful to the Lord for this time we have spent here. It has not been useless. In fact, I have understood something new in my life. I used to believe that a steward is somebody who works as pastor or a deacon, somebody enrolled by the church to do something. It surprised me to realise that all the people were created in the image of God and were mandated to be stewards of all what the Lord has created. I understood what a talent is, and that the Lord gave the talent to each one of us according to his/her ability. I came to understand that ill understanding of the Bible breeds ill understanding Jesus and what he has created. This course helped me to prepare and plan my future. When you come back, I will tell you what has changed in my life as a result of what I garneered from this course. My request is that you come back soon although I know time is precious. May God bless you.
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March 2022: Last week we made a big move when we entered the second biggest church in Burundi that is the Swedish Pentecostal Church. We trained 56 pastors from the Swedish Pentecostal church in Nyanza Lac. To our astonishment, the senior and his deputy pastors were all there all the 5 days we spent there. They are ready to attend all those courses from ECLEA Rema is offering.
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Frederic Harerimana and Francois Nitunga
February 2022: Summary of ECLEA in Burundi
Greetings in the mighty name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! The whole month of December we closed office due to the presence of Covid cases among our personnel. Even in the country there were so many cases of covid but we praise God that now the numbers of infections are decreasing sensibly and again the variant that is present now is not so dreadful as the former one. Very few people die.
We have added new centres namely: Buhiga, Makamba, and the new centre of United Methodist Church in Bujumbura. It seems to us that the harvest is plentiful but there are few harvesters. We had planned to hold graduation in Bukeye, but unfortunately we could not make it for there were courses we had not taught yet had already been written on their Diplomas and we decided to teach them first. Therefore, we are grateful to the Lord that the Centre of Bukeye is graduating in the month of March and this gave us another opportunity to add the new Centre of Bujumbura. Moreover, when we went around the country to see how the people who have been in our training are faring on, we realized that the way they used to preach is different from the way they preach and prepare sermons now, and this is a testimony not from the participants but from the Christians themselves who attend their congregations.
We were also privileged to notice with our own eyes how the courses they took, especially Biblical Stewardship, 1 Timothy, and the Church, were put in practice and how now most of those who took part in those courses are trying to be self-sufficient and self-reliant and are in the process to stop depending on the tithes and offerings of the church which used to be their sole subject of preaching in the past. We praise God for these ECLEA courses which are having a tangible impact in the lives of the people and bringing strong impact on the vision and mission of the church. We have seen participants to our training starting to have a different view of how to serve the Lord. Some of them have gone ahead and built decent houses for the poor, widows and orphans to the glory of the Lord and without expecting anything in return, knowing that they will be rewarded in heaven. People are changing. The work of teaching this course is not in vain.
The people of United Methodist Church in Bujumbura called upon us to go and empower their church leaders. Most of those people who would participate in that course are intellectuals and civil servants who work during the day; therefore we will teach them from 17 h 30 to 20h 30 from Monday to Friday and then Saturday from 8 am to 14 pm. The United Methodist Church realized that those civil servants are the once who will be entrusted with the work of God in the near future, and the Government is making it clear that soon, only people who have got some skills in Biblical knowledge are the ones that will qualify to stand in front of congregations and preach.
We are talking to big denominations in Burundi to see how they can introduce those ECLEA courses in the Biblical schools they have set up. Pray for us as we make such move to reach out to them and believe you me, they are in great need. We praise God that now they have started top approach us having noticed the impact this course has made on those people they used to disregard as leaders of sects. I would quote the leader of the second biggest church here in Bujumbura: “In our generation I do not think that the people we are to lead are to be pumped with nonsense as it used to be in the past. Pastors need to be taken into workshops and seminars as well as conferences where people like you must come and teach, empower our people so that they may be able to know and desiccate the word of God until the hearers understand what they believe and how they can apply what they would have heard. To this I am grateful to the Lord that in due course the Lord has provided people like you for such an important ministry”.
Frederic Harerimana and Francois Nitunga
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