Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dancing with the President (Burundi)

Burundi has the same “Country Threat Security Warning Level” as Iraq! The most dangerous level of 5.

But God is at work here. When we arrived last Sunday our hosts casually said “we’ll be by at 6 to take you to dinner at the President’s house.” The first thought this ole Iowa farm boy had was “Huh? I’ve not even taken a tour of our US White House, and we’re going to DINNER at the Burundi Prez’s house?”

His Excellency, President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi (middle of pic on left), accepted Christ as his Savior about two years ago. Now each Sunday evening he has a worship time (this week’s was 3 hours!), followed by dinner. Sometimes he invites local pastors, sometimes international ministry guests visiting Burundi. This week there was a couple from Sweden, 3 other pastors from Texas doing leadership training, our team, plus the nationals hosting each of us.

I’ve never been hugged by a President before. I’ve never danced to praise music with a President before. I’ve never worshipped with a President before. God holds the hearts of kings in His hands. He certainly has a good grip on the President here. Please pray that God will honor his obedience by changing Burundi and bringing peace after more than a decade of civil war.

The President also has his own soccer team that plays around Africa. Its name: “Allelujah FC”!

One more highlight of the night. Two years ago a Burundi pastor named Jérémie attended our leadership conference in Rwanda. I can still remember standing in the lobby of the hotel on my way to the airport. As we shook hands goodbye, Jérémie said “please, please, please come to Burundi.” I gave my standard answer of “we’ll pray, and if God opens the door, we’ll come.”

As I was ushered to my seat at the Burundi “White House,” I was seated right next to Jérémie! God confirmed in those surprising moments that He indeed wanted us there. He gave me good news—his church now has planted 9 churches in Burundi and Zambia, and are planning one in Tanzania soon.

Africa Trip Score: Uganda done / Rwanda done / Burundi completing / off to Ethiopia for last stop.

Mike Jorgensen

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