Back in Burundi

Alison_28_march_2011_001 Posted by Alison Gill on Tue, 08 Sep 2009 | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

Greetings!

I’ve been back in Burundi for just over 2 weeks already. Last week the President lead an evangelistic crusade with 100 000 people. I am told it was a wonderful time. I’m back into a fairly normal routine of office Bible study and staff meeting at 7.30 – 9.30 ish each morning, followed by Kirundi study and admin plus continuing to develop contacts for the trauma healing training work. In the afternoons, 4 days a week, I have my Kirundi lessons. I feared I might have forgotten all my Kirundi whilst in the UK but actually I haven’t and it’s come back – praise God. I have a long way to go with Kirundi but I am saying simple things to people now and they understand which is so encouraging.

After my grandfather’s heart attack at the end of July I started experiencing quite a lot of shortness of breath which the doctor said was due to stress. It improved a bit but continued for sometime but thankfully seems to have stopped now. I think it has been quite an intense process from thinking I was flying back to Burundi at the end of July, to suddenly staying and visiting my grandfather in hospital each day to then leaving and really having to trust God with what happens to my family. It is a choice to believe that God is working out His purposes even though we don’t fully understand them and to keep praying with faith.

*Is there enough space in Burundi? *– the answer is probably no. Burundi is the most densely populated African country and the return of around 300 000 (out of a total 500 000) refugees from camps in Tanzania is resulting in a land crisis. Most Burundians are subsistence farmers and rely on the land to produce their food. In Rumonge, after the killings in 1972, the President took the land left by those who fled Burundi and gave it to people working on nearby palm oil plantations. This land has now been sold onto others but repatriates from Tanzania, understandably, want and need their land back yet those who currently live on it often have bought it from others and have legitimate documentation to confirm their ownership. Few returnees, except the most desperate cases, are offered alternative land in so called ‘Peace Villages’ which are known to be on very poor land. Burundians also have a deep desire to return to their ancestral land and find it hard to consider living elsewhere. Some are saying that they are willing to fight in order to reclaim their land. The Land Commission is encouraging people to share land but for many that is impossible as the land would be so small it wouldn’t produce enough food for their family. The situation almost looks impossible. Can we pray and ask God for His supernatural intervention here? Maybe for some creative farming methods which will enable better production of food, for grace and forgiveness amongst returnees and current land owners and willingness to share or be given and accept alternative land.

Alpha conference – on Sat 12th Sept, a team from Holy Trinity Brompton are coming to Burundi to speak at the Global Alpha Training here. This includes my really good friend, Debbie Garner, who will be staying after the conference for another week to spend time with me. The conference will be held at Mont Sion, the Catholic Mission, where YWAM taught back in April. There are over 10 denominations attending, including the Catholic Church, Pentecostals, Anglicans, Baptists and Calvary Chapel, as well as people representing other ministries. It will be interesting to consider Alpha in the Burundian context. I think it is used more as a discipleship than an evangelistic tool here. Pray for God’s anointing and especially for the Catholic Church (representing 60% of the population in Burundi) to endorse Alpha.

Update on my family – My brother Andrew has just proposed to Sarah, also in the RAF. They plan to marry at the beginning of June next year and hope to have a Church wedding. Please pray the Church will reach out to them in a loving way with the Gospel. Andrew goes to Afghanistan on 20th for 6 months and Sarah goes there in October to a different base for 4 months. Please pray for their protection and salvation.

Amidst the rejoicing over their engagement, there remains a lot of pressure on my family at present and at times I find it hard being so far away. My Grandfather, Harold, was diagnosed with lung cancer last week. The Consultant said, however, that it is likely his very weak heart will cause his decline before the cancer does. His prognosis looks very poor and he is not feeling at all good. Pray for his salvation, a peaceful end to his life and that I will be able to be with him then.

PRAYER POINTS

Personal / Family
• For God’s empowerment to be who he wants me to be in Burundi and to trust Him with my family.
• Praise for my brother, Andrew’s engagement and protection as he goes to Afghanistan this month.
• For my Grandfather, Harold’s salvation and peace in body, mind and spirit.

Ministry/Burundi

• Continued improvement in Kirundi.
• For a good meeting with the Pastor of the Church I hope to explore joining.
• For God’s blessing and anointing on the Alpha conference and lasting fruit.
• For the land crisis in Burundi: God’s solution to this problem that will provide for the needs of people here.