Every Child, Every Nation, Every Day

Hope Against Circumstances

Political unrest covered the land of Burundi with a cloud of death and hopelessness. Many people died and many more fled the country. At one point, we had to cancel our Good News Club because schools were closed and everything seemed hopeless. Children were so fearful and needed something to cling on. Despite the circumstances there was still hope, hope in God. God wanted us here for a time like this to give hope.

Before closing our Good News Club a child asked Eva and me to which ethnic group we belonged as they were being instructed not to go to the house of those who are not of their ethnic group. How wonderful it was to explain to him that as believers in Christ we all belong to the family of God and our ethnic affiliations do not matter much anymore. We feared that Burundi was drifting back into ethnic divisions again but despite the circumstances there was still hope. Hope in God who is in control of every situation.

The situation seemed to get from bad to worse; we had to close our GNC but trainings still went on against all odds. Despite the hard time, people applied for TCE (Teaching Children Effectively) trainings. We trained people at our CEF center in spite of interrupted sessions due to gunshots from all over in town. In 2015, we took part in training 1,128 teachers in Bujumbura and upcountry in both TCEs and Super Seminars. Even then there was still hope.

Every time we had an opportunity to go out in the neighborhood children were eager to hear us tell them Bible stories and give them hope. We told them stories of Daniel, Joseph, and David and showed them how much God cared for anyone whose trust is in Him and He still cares for His children no matter the circumstances. We printed carry over activity sheets and a verse to remember “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3). We then distributed them to children along the way and asked them to memorize the verse and recite it when afraid. We had a kind of GNC on the road.

As God promises in Philippians 1:6, the Lord would carry on the good work He started to reach children of Burundi despite the circumstances. We organized rallies but in the outskirts of Bujumbura. Children needed something to cling to during this time of great despair. The demand to teach children the Word of God increased, but the enemy was at work too. The situation got even worse and many times we could not leave the house for days. But there was still hope.

Finally, in early 2016, we were able to hold a rally where 703 children attended. The rally took place in the village of Mbirira in the outskirts of Bujumbura and 219 children were counseled for salvation while many others were counseled on how to deal with the fear that has crippled many. Knowing that God is in charge no matter the circumstances and there is hope was what these children needed at this time.

—David and Eva Rehani