Editor’s 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
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ in Burundi,
Courage to each one of you during this COVID-19 pandemic when people are fearful for their lives. Through God’s blessing in your life, you can be an anchor of stability and a pillar of hope. We give thanks to God for His continued encouragement for you through the Holy Spirit. Your witness and love for Christ is a wonderful spectacle to all who see and hear you. Even during the difficult challenges you have faced and are facing, God has sustained you and given you a strong voice of witness for Him. Your commitment to God’s precious Holy Bible is a signal to all that you believe in a higher power than anything on this earth. Your church remembers you and continues to pray for you. Remain firmly grounded in the Bible truths that are so precious to Seventh-day Adventists. Stay focused in your outreach and evangelistic witnessing as you maintain your connection and respect for the worldwide church family and the East-Central Africa Division. Lift up the wonderful three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18:1-4 calling people out of Babylon and confusion into the true worship of God. He will provide encouragement and freedom to serve Him and witness for Bible truth in your local setting.
In your challenging settings wherever you may live in Burundi, allow the Holy Spirit to reveal to you ever greater methods and ways to demonstrate God’s love to others and the marvelous provisions of His Bible truth. Your study of the Word of God and the Spirit of Prophecy will lead you to even stronger avenues of witness in Total Member Involvement throughout Burundi. Nothing can stop God’s power to share His precious Word. Pray intently for the outpouring of the latter rain of the Holy Spirit when the Advent message will go like “wild fire” throughout Burundi. During this worldwide pandemic of COVID-19, may you be a stellar witness for the Lord and His last-day message. May your daily walk with the Lord through Bible study, study of the Spirit of Prophecy, earnest prayer, and sharing your witness be a marvelous demonstration to the leaders and people of Burundi showing that you are grounded in the Lord and nothing can change your trust in our Almighty God. I will continue to pray for the Lord’s direct intervention in Burundi to create an acceptable situation for your work, your life, and for the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s activities in the country. Continue to pray for your local church leaders, pastors, and leaders of local fields and the Burundi Union. We will pray for each of you, your spiritual leaders in the churches and the local fields as well as our faithful and stalwart Burundi Union president, Pastor Lamec Barashinga. He is a real inspiration to all those who know that he is unjustly confined to prison showing that the spirit of Christ reigns in his heart since he is doing strong evangelistic and pastoral work in prison just as the apostles of the Bible did. May God continue to give him and others daily spiritual strength in their prison experience.
Be encouraged with the mighty words of God in Psalm 62:5-8—-“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.”
May God bless your Total Member Involvement outreach as you ponder this wonderful quotation from Last Day Events, a compilation from the Spirt of Prophecy by Ellen G White: “Christianity is the revealing of the tenderest affection for one another……Christ is to receive supreme love from the beings He has created. And He requires also that man shall cherish a sacred regard for his fellow beings. Every soul saved will be saved through love, which begins with God. True conversion is a change from selfishness to sanctified affection for God and for one another.”
Use your present opportunities and challenges to be the best representatives of the Lord through His power. Regardless of what may happen to you, your family, your community, or your local church, maintain your firm trust in the Lord and reveal the tenderest affection for God, for others, and for those who bring oppression on you. The Lord will open the way for you to be a mighty witness to all you come in contact with in Burundi.
Pray for your country of Burundi and its leaders that all will listen quietly and carefully to the leading of the Holy Spirit and the instruction in the Holy Bible. May God care for you each day, my dear friends and fellow church members, as you witness for Him and look forward to Jesus’ soon return.
With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,
Ted N C Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists