From the Nations and to the Nations…
Post by: Mark Thornett
In part 1 I said that a key calling for us at Gateway Swindon is to be a church that receives people from the nations and sends them to the nations; and so having recently just come back from Burundi in the eastern part of central Africa I’m sharing some stories, thoughts and reflections from my time there…
Through Donna Bloomfield God has given us a link with Evariste Ndayirukiye, his wife Annick and their four children. Evariste and his family currently live in the capital city Bujumbura, population of 800,000, but he also spends a good deal of time at his house in the village of his birth high up in the mountains. As a young man God gave Evariste a vision of transformation for his nation and the nations around. This is part of his story.
In 1992 Evariste went to a place called Mount Muhweza to pray. From this vantage point he could see the neighbouring nations of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Tanzania, as well as mile upon mile of Burundi. While reading from Psalm 2 he was struck by verses 7 + 8: ‘He said to me, “You are my son; today I have become your father. 8 Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”
Evariste said to God, “I’m not asking you for the ends of the earth as that would be too much for me, but please would you give me the that nations I can see?” Then God spoke to him, giving him a promise and that he would see transformation wherever his eyes could see and that this promise would be both spiritual and physical transformation. He also felt God say that he must go back to Bujumbura. He did as God said and left the same day without knowing why he was going. That night there was a coup and the President was killed. This was to be the start of the genocide in Burundi as people turned on their neighbours and attacked surrounding villages with machetes. Many thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands more were to lose their lives in the years ahead as civil war continued. In the three days following the coup, 71 members of Evariste’s extended family were killed. Up in the hills, in Evariste’s home village of Ryarusera, (the capital R is pronounced as a D) almost all the men had left their wives and children to fight.
Evariste testifies that God had clearly protected him, not just from being killed, but that he had also saved him from joining in with the killing, as many of his friends had done.
In 2006 after many years of challenges and difficulties Evariste returned to Ryarusera for a visit. While there God reminded him of what he had prayed and the promise of transformation that he had given him all those years before. Evariste then began seeking God about the causes of poverty in his region and what he could do to help.
As God spoke, Evariste responded and made plans to launch a cow project and to start a milk business.