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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Young people and children suffered the brunt of the violence, upheaval and poverty of the last decades. Lift these issues up in prayer:
a) The physical needs of children. Around 560,000 children have lost at least one parent, 45% of children under five are undernourished and many thousands suffer from malaria and AIDS. Violence against children is common. Only half of children attend school; but praise God for debt relief, which allows the government to offer free primary education to all children. This should raise enrolment significantly. Pray for the many ministries and NGOs that focus on caring for children and providing them with life opportunities.
b) Specific ministry to children has been almost non-existent, but some agencies are beginning to focus on this issue. CEF, SU, the Anglicans, and New Generation (a local NGO) are examples of such.
c) Student and youth ministry. SU continues to have an effective ministry, especially in the area of evangelism. Seven growing GBU(IFES) groups now focus on evangelism and training leaders. YFC and the Alpha Course also have specific ministry to young people, the former developing Homes of Hope, where orphans from different ethnicities are raised together in a Christian setting.
There is a genuine need for expatriate Christian workers. Between 1970 and 1985, nearly all missionaries were expelled by the regime of that time; few returned thereafter due to ongoing instability. Many are needed to work with national leaders in areas of discipleship, theological education, reconciliation and trauma counselling, literacy and education and holistic development. Now, numbers of workers are increasing, but the large majority of these focus on Bujumbura, the capital. Pray for more workers for the neglected rural areas and for ministry that empowers Burundi believers rather than creates dependency. Pray for the calling of the right missionary personnel and their effectiveness, for godly modelling and good relationships with national believers.
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.