|Teryl Hebert and a new friend
Our primary contact in Burundi, Bienvenu Bizimana, not only heads a house-church-planting movement here, but he also ministers to handicapped street beggars (and more). He has been successful in leading at least ten to the Lord, and we are partnering with him to help those whom he deems faithful to the Lord to start self-sustaining businesses by means of grants from our Handicapped Christians Fund. The goal is to save them from having to beg for their survival, and in the cases of those who are married, for the survival of their wives and children. So far, three have received grants and have started small businesses. Several more are in line.
Yesterday we visited two who are next in line and one who has already received his grant. The two in line are pictured below:
Left to right: Dieudonne’, Bienvenu, and Kana
Dieudonne’ was born with some head deformities and has never had any teeth (which is why he would not smile for our photo). As a baby, his parents hid him in the forest when their village was being attacked by Hutu soldiers. They were slaughtered, but he was rescued by a family that escaped. They raised him as long as they could, but due to their own poverty, required him to leave as a teenager to fend for himself. He has begged to survive since then, and some months ago, Bienvenu befriended him and won him to the Lord. We’ll soon be setting him up in business by means of a $500 grant by which Bienvenu will help him open a modest kiosk where he can sell small items.
Kana, a Hutu, was captured by Tutsi soldiers about fifteen years ago and tortured for thirty days for no other reason than because he is Hutu. Every day his captors forced him to kneel on hot irons and stones to seer the flesh of his legs. They wanted to make him “a useless man.” As a result, he ultimately had to have his legs amputated. He has no wheelchair, and gets around by lifting himself off the ground with his arms, pushing himself ahead a little bit, and then coming to rest to repeat the process. He wears flip flops on his hands when he “walks.” Bienvenu has also lead Kana to the Lord and has been discipling him.
Amazingly, Kana was married about nine years ago, and he and his wife have four children. He takes care of them all by means of his begging. He and his family are just barely surviving. When I visited their “house” today, it was shocking and heart-breaking. Three families live in three small rooms of a structure that is hardly fit for animals. I will be returning tomorrow morning to take a family portrait, and I hope I can also capture their home in photos to show them to you.
Kana will soon also receive a $500 grant from Heaven’s Family’s Handicapped Christians Fund and Bienvenu will set him up with a small shop in front of his house. We also intend to fund the purchase of a wheel chair that can be maneuvered on rough ground.
Kana has suffered with several sicknesses, including painful mouth sores and headaches, and so we drove him to the local hospital yesterday (the same one where we met Bienvenu’s wife and new baby) to have him looked at by a doctor. He was given some prescriptions which we filled, and he has to return on Monday for blood tests. Thank the Lord that we were able to take care of those expenses by means of our Critical Medical Needs Fund.
A Third Hospital Visit
Last evening we learned that Bienvenu’s right-hand man, Jean-Pierre Ndayishimiye, whom we have grown to love, had received news that his five-year-old daughter had been critically injured when she ran into a moving bicycle that was carrying iron rebar. Her skull had been fractured. The only hospital that could help her with the needed surgery required the equivalent of $300, which Jean-Pierre did not have. He told the hospital management that he would give them everything he owned if they would admit her, but when they totaled up the value of it all, it wasn’t enough. So he found someone who left his car at the hospital to use as collateral until he could pay the hospital bill.
Little Shekina Ndayishimiye underwent surgery last night for four hours, and our team went to see her this morning. A tube was draining her wound and she was being fed intravenously. She woke up a short time later and we were thankful that she was able to speak and move her arms and legs. We prayed for her recovery and paid the hospital bill, including what was required for an extended stay and pain-killers and antibiotics, which amounted to $400. I was thanking the Lord again for our Critical Medical Needs Fund. Today was the third time we’ve been to a hospital in the past three days.
We’ve been busy with other projects, but I’ve gone on long enough. So I close with a photo of myself and Bienvenu with a used laptop he received via our Laptops for Pastors Fund. His laptop was sent from a believer in France who received my email appeal a few months ago for a much-needed laptop. If anyone reading this has a laptop that isn’t more than four years old that you don’t use anymore, please send us an email at [email protected], as we always have pastors in developing nations whose ministries could be helped by a laptop, something they could never afford.
Tomorrow, we’re off to Nairobi. Thanks for your prayers. — David