Impact Burundi (IB) does ministries in Burundi under the name of Burundi Development Solutions (BDS). The mission of IB/BDS is to transform the lives of people living in poverty in Burundi into people with better physical, spiritual, and emotional health. IB/BDS encourages people to participate in joint projects and to help them build their own projects that provide them with their daily food. IB/BDS also seeks to transform their world view to a Christ-centered one.
I grew up in a family that liked to pray and help others. My parents made sure that their children learned from them to help others whenever they could. I went to church every Sunday and participated in Sunday’s schools, but, I did not really know God. It was just a routine of being born into and surrounded by Christian families.
I really knew and learned about God during the 1993 civil war when God saved my life on many occasions. I discovered how awesome He is when I fled and got help in many countries I went through by people who did not know me or speak my language. When life became difficult, I sometimes wondered why God created me to face such struggles. At other times, my heart told me that maybe there was a reason, and that gave me strength to believe that God was preparing me for something important. I remember promising God that I would follow Him and work for Him if He would save me from my suffering. He answered me by bringing me to America.
Did I keep my promises to God? Well, I think that when life is good it’s easy to ignore God, put our trust in material things and think that we don’t need Him. I got caught in that trap and became like I was before the 1993 civil war in Burundi.
I worked hard when I arrived here. Materially, I was able to get what a lot of people want because they think it will make them happy, especially if they were like me and grew up not having very much. I enjoyed peace and safety, cars, a nice house, a healthy family, and an education. But, there were times I became frustrated and I wondered why because I had everything I thought I needed to be happy.
After a long time of thinking and reflecting, I realized that I hadn’t been putting God first. I realize that even those who put God first sometimes get frustrated and stressed out, but they are more likely to humble themselves and turn to him during difficult times. They are also more likely to love and care for others like Jesus did. In my case, I think I was concerned only about myself and my family. I forgot about all of the struggles I endured and the promises I had made to God. Everything was about me. I helped some refugees who did not speak English to adjust life in this country, but I still wasn’t putting God first. I wanted to do more by investing in other peoples’ lives, so I co-founded development projects in rural areas of Burundi (Africa) to create employment, eradicate hunger and gender inequality, promote health, and encourage reconciliation between my countrymen.
I feel like my life makes more sense now than before. I am happy about the fact that there are people in need whose lives are beginning to improve because of some of the things that I’ve done. That is why I am encouraging others to help make this world a better place.
Impact Burundi, a 501(c)(3) organization, has been operating with contributions from organization members, founders, the French Government through its embassy in Burundi, churches, and individuals from the United States.
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- Donate by mail: Checks or money orders may be made to the order of Impact Burundi. Please mail to: P.O. Box 129, Byron Center, MI 49315.
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Libere is married and has three children. He works for Gentex Corporation in Holland, Michigan. Libere holds an Associates Degree in Arts from Grand Rapids Community College and is planning to pursue a supply chain management major at Grand Valley State University.
Peter is a retired businessman. He served six years on the board of CRWRC (now World Renew). Pete is a member of Covenant Christian Reformed Church and has regularly served as a deacon and elder. He is married and enjoys his children and grandchildren.
Phil served 10 years as a missionary to Brazil, worked as an International Business Manager, and has served in various pastoral positions most recently as the Global Outreach Pastor for Kentwood Community Church. These experiences have helped him understand and relate to churches and leaders regarding relief and development.
Deb is a full-time mother and the office manager for her husband’s excavating company. She has a part-time cleaning service and volunteers at the local school, food pantry, and her church. Deb is a “hands-on” kind of person and mentors and advocates for those transitioning to a new community helping them to be self-sufficient.