Dear Bishop David Kendall and the Free Methodist Church – USA,
Greetings in the matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
On behalf of the Free Methodist Church in Burundi in general and Rutunga and Magara Districts in particular, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you and the entire American Free Methodist Church for your support to our church when we experienced a mudslide, which claimed lives of people and left others helpless. When this happened in March this year, everyone in our office was confused and overwhelmed not knowing what to do. I would like to praise God because as He promised, He remained with us as a result of prayers by Christians here in Burundi and worldwide. Indeed, God is faithful and all the glory and honor to Him.
After the mudslide, we sought assistance from different people and they responded positively. You also did the same. Through the assistance we got, we were able to take food three times to 193 families who were affected by the mudslide and most of these families are Free Methodists from both Rutunga and Magara Districts. We were able to put up a temporal church building at Rutunga where our Christians are worshiping now because the church building was completely destroyed. The government assisted in providing machines to assist in clearing the way so that vehicles can move easily. UNICEF assisted us to get tents so that children in our primary and secondary schools at Rutunga can finish the school year, and they finished very well, though in difficult conditions. The Red Cross also assisted our displaced people to provide clean water and toilets and assisted to prevent diseases caused by lack of hygiene.
Funds that you sent us were used to buy foodstuff for the affected people and to buy some materials to temporarily rehabilitate classrooms for children to continue their studies. Once again, thank you very much. At this point in time, we thank God that life is slowly coming back, and a couple of things are being done to make sure that people in that area are once again living in normal conditions. We have finalized the plan for the new church building, now on the process of fundraising for building the walls since that government has promised to give us iron/metal sheets for roofing. We are working with the Ministry for Education; they have promised to assist in building some classroom but not all of them. People still have a problem of health care since our medical clinic was completely destroyed. We have not yet got any assistance for rebuilding the clinic. About the people living in that area, the government has decided to relocate them in a near place, which is more safer than where they are now. The project will be starting soon.
During all this time, Burundi Free Methodist Church has used this opportunity to communicate the Good News to people in the area, and we thank God that the impact is so great. During the distribution of relief, we intentionally purposed to give food to everyone affected without discrimination of religion and gender. Each family was treated equally, and this sent a powerful message, which shone the light of Christ to those who were not Christians and those who are not Free Methodists. People were amazed: “This Church and these Christians are different from others we have seen before. We did not expect to be treated equally with members of the church when we are not.” There are people who came to Christ as a result of this and there are many attending the church because of that.
To conclude, I would like to request you to celebrate with us God’s faithfulness, and let members of the FM Church in America know that we are grateful for their contribution towards assisting the people of Rutunga and Magara Districts.
May God bless you.
Bishop Deogratias Nshimiyimana
Free Methodist Church of Burundi