Changing Minds Leads to God-inspired Hope for the Future
Isaiah 48:17 “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.”
World Poverty Solutions was invited to share its vision for sustainable development with a group of 30 pastors from Burundi. One of the pastors heard of the work we are doing in other parts of Africa and wondered if God would begin to move in his community too. After seeing and experiencing many years of struggle in his family and community he felt now was the time that God would fulfill his word.
Burundi is an extremely impoverished country that has consistently ranked in the lower 5 countries for measurements such as country income, nutrition levels and disease prevention. Foreign aid plays a huge role in the nation’s revenue with aid representing as much as 48% of the nation’s income as of 2015.* The result of this dependency has devastated the will and the mindsets of Burundian people. Average life expectancy for men and women is at 58 and 62 respectively. Corruption, low education levels and high poverty rates are just some of the major problems that stunt the well-being and growth of the Burundian people.
Despite all of the hardship and pain, there is a joy and inner strength that exudes from these pastors.
After our initial, visit many of the pastors took what they learned and ran with it in their own lives. It is amazing to see the transformation that takes place when the stronghold of poverty is pulled down. One of the 30 Pastors, Emile, experienced this first hand. After our first visit, he was so inspired to implement what he learned that he started a new business. A small general store was set up in his hometown with the belief that God was for him and had blessed him with the knowledge and favor it would take to have a successful shop.
Of all the lessons we share when we visit communities the most powerful is Jesus was victorious! He has set you free and has given you everything you need to live a life that pleases God and serves others. When you are dealing with a group of people who have been lied to all of their life, being told that they are poor and that they must rely on handouts they’re often held captive by that belief. They are unable to see their true God-given potential and rarely combine their faith in God with actions.
As we were talking around the dinner table after our most recent training session, Pastor Emile began to tell us about how he now had three stores. He shared how the bank, who was hesitant to give him his first loan, now lends to him whatever he needs because he has so faithfully and consistently paid his loans back. I could see the joy and excitement in his eyes as he told us of his plan to bring this type of learning and success to his church and community.
There were other pastors who were also seeing a significant change in their life as a result of the simple gospel message that we share along with our practical training. These pastors have been given hope and a renewed sense of purpose. As we left our brothers and sisters in Burundi it was evident that the truth of who they are and what they are capable of doing was beginning to spread. They have committed the process of creating a committee that will oversee the work of reaching the nation of Burundi.
You are an important part of this amazing call to empower the least of these. We desire your prayer and recognize that apart from God we can do nothing. Please continue to pray for our teams that share the message of hope in some of the poorest and most impoverished areas in all the world. We also need your financial support. If your heart is with our mission to reach those who have been held captive by poverty, please consider supporting us financially so that together we can see the captives set free. God bless you!
*Source: The World Factbook