Africa Day 11: A House Church Meeting

23 Feb

Today was a lovely Sunday morning in Burundi. Becky and I enjoyed a special gathering of a number of Bienvenu’s “first-generation disciples” at the humble home of Jean-Pierre Ndayishimiye, whose photo was on the cover of our February magazine. Those first-generation disciples have made disciples who have made disciples, and so on, and now there are nine generations.

It was nice to see one of Jean-Pierre’s daughters, little Shekina, at the meeting, along with many other children. Shekina almost died five months ago from a serious head injury. Heaven’s Family’s Critical Medical Needs Fund came to her aid, paying for hospital care that Jean-Pierre could not have afforded.

Shekina, with a scar from her head injury

Most everyone at the morning’s gathering sat on the floor as they had a lively discussion about Scripture for at least an hour, and then worshipped for at least another hour (a cappella), and then enjoyed a meal together. Burundians eat without utensils, so before the meal was served, two women circulated with a pitcher of water and a catch basin, and everyone washed their hands, which they then used as forks and spoons. Becky and I refrained from eating anything because we were both suffering some intestinal issues. Having traveled to over fifty nations in the last thirty years (many of them many times), I’ve had a taste of just about every bad variety of bacteria that exists, and so my body overcame very quickly what Becky’s body took time to identify and kill!

After the meal, we gathered again for a Q & A session with the author of The Disciple-Making Minister, who did his best to maintain his guise of wisdom. (Very difficult to do when he opens his mouth.) Let me put in a plug for these precious saints: They are givers, but because they have no vision for church buildings, large congregations and supportive staff, all their giving is used to care for the very poor and directly expanding the Kingdom.

It was late afternoon by the time we returned to our $35-per-night accommodations (sans hot water in the “shower”), but a two-hour nap was all the convalescence I needed for a 100% recovery. We had dinner in the evening with Bienvenu, his wife Emily, and their daughters Jessica and Milka to discuss with Bienvenu a second printing of 3,000 copies of the Kirundi version of The Disciple-Making Minister, as well as future ministry plans.

Tomorrow morning we have one early appointment with a micro-loan beneficiary before heading to the airport to catch our flight to Rwanda.

I didn’t take a single photo today, amazingly (including the one in today’s blog). My excuse is that it was Sunday, a day of rest!

Blessings to all readers… — David

P.S. I’ve added an excerpt below from an email I just received about repentance in Haiti that I thought would interest you.

Excerpt from the YWAM leader who ministers in St. Marc, Haiti:

“We feel strongly to call the nations to pray and intercede for Haiti during these three days of prayer, repentance, and fasting that started this morning. We feel it will be the deciding factor for Haiti’s future; will they choose repentance and God or go back to their old ways and not heed the call and the warnings. I would not like to think about what would happen if they did choose the latter.”

“Everything is closed today and people are all working their way to the park!! It is so full that you can no longer get in. All the roads around it are filled… They are worshipping and praying; pastors are leading them but…could not hear what they were saying as there are so many people there. They have set up a stage to the right of the pavilion and have a worship band there.”

“… (at) the corner by the arena (is) where the witchdoctor lives. He was dragging all his voodoo stuff out; he had dug it up in his yard and collected it from around his house, and was dragging it with him to the park to get rid of it all! He was telling people who were watching that he was going to give it all up.”

Excerpt from an American radio engineer who has visited Haiti many times:

“About 3 days ago the Haitian president announced that there would be 3 days of holiday from work for the purpose of fasting and prayer. This is absolutely historic…could you ever have imagined such a pronouncement? …This morning I saw a young Haitian-American woman…crying because the Americans could not understand the incredible importance of this day…

“This was not ‘a minute of silence for the deceased’… As I sit here this evening, I can hear the preaching coming from a nearby church. Services have been going on all day… As we left the guest house about 7:30 am, we were met by throngs of well-dressed people headed to various churches. The sounds of Christian music and worship filled the air everywhere. The next observation was that there was NO traffic. Port-au-Prince streets are always clogged and overflowing with bumper-to-bumper traffic. This morning there were only a few vehicles on the roads, a few small buses (tap taps), some UN and military vehicles, and a few private cars. We had clear sailing through town. The same was true of foot traffic. Usually the streets are clogged also with people walking. Today there were only a few and many of them dressed for church. The only place that there were traffic blocks was in front of several churches where the congregations had overflowed the buildings, and the yards and had moved out into the streets as well.

“The next observation was that EVERYTHING was closed! We could not find even one business or gas station open. There were no intercity buses running. Whereas the sidewalks are usually overflowing with millions of street venders, we only saw a few here and there. The huge outdoor market near the wharf where thousands work each day and spread out to cover most of the street, was EMPTY.

“Where were all the people? They were in churches and makeshift meeting sites. Every church (except a JW church) had services going on, almost always overflowing into the streets. Beside broken down churches, services were taking place outside. In homeless camps, there were services. Everywhere the nation was gathered to worship and pray… This scene was repeated in every town and hamlet that we passed through.”

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