Editors Note: Since May of 2019, the Adventist Church members in Burundi have endured ongoing persecution from the countries government. On October 24, the president of the Burundi Union Mission, pastor Lamec Barishinga, was arrested. This arrest was part of an escalating series of threats and attacks on the Seventh-day Adventist Church by the government of Burundi. For further reading about the situation of our Adventist brother and sisters in Burundi, please visit the Pray for Burundi website.
Below is a letter to the Adventist Church in Burundi from Seventh-day World Church President, Ted N.C. Wilson. You can see the original letter here.
Dear Seventh-day Adventist Brothers and Sisters in Burundi,
God has blessed and sustained you through great difficulties and challenges. We are so grateful for your faithfulness to God! Your worldwide church is praying for you and supports you in your continued obedience to God’s Word through the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for standing firm for the correct and right relationships to the world church. The Lord will continue to be your Guide and Strength as you proclaim the three angels’ messages and Christ’s soon return.
May the Lord guide in your daily Bible study, study of the Spirit of Prophecy, earnest prayer, and telling someone else about the marvelous truth in Christ that is embodied in the proclamation of the Advent movement. We are living in very unusual times during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Practice good health habits and appropriate public health protocols to remain healthy as you assist people in every way you can in appropriate health practices following the methods and model of Christ’s ministry to others. In your connection with your local church, support and pray for your spiritual leaders in local churches, local fields, and the Burundi Union. I have prayed for you, our church members in Burundi, our leaders in Burundi, and our Burundi Union president, Pastor Lamec Barashinga.
During this worldwide coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, each one is facing unusual situations and so many local churches are not meeting on Sabbath because of public health restrictions. Be encouraged in your continued faith and outreach in appropriate health-conscious ways. Pray earnestly for God’s intervention in all things! Be of good courage and realize that the Lord is in control. Please receive our best wishes and Christian love from the worldwide church and the General Conference. We will continue to ask for God’s guidance and blessing in this very unusual period of time which is a “wake-up call” for everyone to come to the Lord, accept His Bible truth and salvation, and lean on Him as we proclaim the three angels’ messages in Total Member Involvement. During this time of near panic on the part of many, may we all be anchors of stability and pillars of hope in God through the power of the Holy Spirit. Certainly, Jesus is coming soon.
Let the words of Romans 12:9-18, 21 be of encouragement during this time of crisis: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; no lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men……..Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
May the words of Patriarchs and Prophets, page 667, be a standard and encouragement for each of us coming from the Lord as we face this worldwide crisis together: “A consecrated Christian life is ever shedding light and comfort and peace. It is characterized by purity, tact, simplicity, and usefulness. It is controlled by that unselfish love that sanctifies the influence. It is full of Christ, and leaves a track of light wherever its possessor may go.”
By God’s grace, after this coronavirus COVID-19 crisis subsides and during your religious liberty challenges you currently face in Burudni, many people will be ready to listen to God’s Word after having come in contact with godly, dedicated Seventh-day Adventists in Burundi. Plan extensive evangelistic and Total Member Involvement outreach everywhere throughout Burundi. May the Lord be your Strength and Rock during these challenging times as we face the opportunities ahead in anticipation of Christ’s soon return. Courage to you in the Lord! Be attentive to your personal health as you lead others. Stay safe and healthy through the power of the Master Physician. May God guide you in sharing the Advent message with Holy Spirit power as you remain faithful to the Lord, His worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church, and His mission for all of us. Jesus is coming! Get involved! May God guide your every step as you witness for the Lord and help to make Burundi a better place because of your faithfulness to God.
With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,
Ted N C Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
This article originally appeared on Adventist News Network.