Area: 27,834 sq km
A mountainous, fertile country on the northeast shore of Lake Tanganyika, south of its twin Rwanda.
Population: 8,518,862 Annual Growth: 2.92%
Official language: Kirundi, French. All speak Kirundi. English use widespread Languages: 4 All languages
Largest Religion: Christian
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Leadership for the churches is in short supply; violence caused the closure of Bible schools which in turn cut off the supply of trained leaders. Now, schools are being re-established and new ones opened, but poverty holds back many prospective students from enrolling. Ask the Lord for financial provision for those who wish to equip themselves for the Lords service. Pray also for the following, all vital in meeting the urgent need for Christian leaders:
a) Bible schools and theological colleges. These include the Mweya Theological Institute (Free Methodists and WGM), a Pentecostal Bible school, the Matana Institute (Anglican-MAM) and Partners Trust International.
b) Christian universities, a new development in Burundi. Most notable are Hope Africa University (Free Methodists) and the University of Light (Anglican). These seek to provide higher education with a biblical worldview, shaping the future leaders of the nation.
c) Modular training and TEE. Both Great Lakes Outreach and Great Lakes Leadership Training (Friends) offer the former, while several groups, including Mweya, CMS and the LM offer TEE programmes. Emmaus, a Brethren ministry, runs BCCs not just in Burundi but throughout the region.
Peoples and groups of greater spiritual need include:
a) The Twa (Pygmy) who are relatively well evangelized. About 8% are Christian. Their social marginalization and outright oppression is severe, and their education, health and economic status grim.
b) The Burundian refugee population, Africas largest in the 1990s, who live mostly in Tanzania. In 1972 about 200,000 fled to Tanzania where they have been ever since, a number that more than doubled in 1994. Over 12% of all Burundians were displaced by the genocide, many for more than five years. The camps are hotbeds of disease, abuse and resentment. Ministry to this group is difficult to sustain, but absolutely vital.
c) Returning refugees and IDPs are a mixed group some are eager to return, some cautious, some forced against their will to leave their temporary host country. They number more than 300,000 and represent one of the biggest challenges to the nation and the Church. They often lack even basic services (health, education, even shelter) and land. The problem with the lack of land is intensified by returners claiming their old property. Life in camps made them dependent on handouts and lacking in initiative, traits that will spell disappointment and worse in poverty-stricken Burundi. The Anglicans, Lutherans, Tearfund, FIDA and REMA (a local NGO) are just a few of many organizations focusing on this area of great need.
d) The Muslim community has grown dramatically in recent years due to political manipulation by a former party chairman, external investment in Islamization, and the blamelessness of Muslims in the 1993 genocide. Unsubstantiated claims place Islam at 12% of the population. While this is unlikely, the rapid growth of Islam shows no signs of slowing. Most Christians and churches have little idea how to effectively minister to Muslims; pray for outreach training and for Christians to gain a heart for their Muslim neighbours and countrymen.
For an additional 5 Challenges for Prayer see Operation World book, CD-ROM, or DVD-ROM.
The Operation World book, CD-ROM, and DVD-ROM provide far more information and fuel for prayer for the people of Burundi.