This is our friend/translator. His name is Philemon (say it with a french accent -- Phil-eh-mohn). On our last trip here he told us that his church forbids young people from serving or leading in the church or in ministry without permission of the leadership. They must just be attendees. Evidently when his pastor found out that he would be joining us for evangelism and church-planting last July, the pastor called him and told him he was not allowed to do that. Philemon told him "but Pastor, I must share the Gospel, it is building up inside of me, it will explode out of me because there are so many people that must hear the Gospel and God is calling me and giving me the opportunity to do it." The Pastor did not relent. Philemon joined us anyway. He is just one of many young, Christian men & women that we have met who are passionate about reaching Burundi with the message of the Gospel at any cost! We can feel an undercurrent of hope just bubbling under the surface, fueling the desire and passion of this generation that was born into and grew up in the turmoil, insecurity, and despair of civil war and its ravaging effects on a country. Now that they are free to move about the country, they are realizing the impact that God can have if the Gospel is preached boldly in every corner of this tiny nation. Each one that we meet has asked, almost begged us for equipping and training and teaching on the basics of the Bible, Christian living, really anything Biblical that they can teach others. They are ravenously hungry for it. On Monday evening, we were invited by Philemon to teach at a youth meeting at a home in Kanyosha. I prepared to speak to a group gathered in a living room or perhaps around a table. I geared my talk toward discussion and interaction. When we arrived at the house, we were introduced to Kevin, the leader of TMM (Transformed Missions Ministry). Kevin is 23 years old. He began this ministry 2 years ago with the vision of reaching out to his immediate neighborhood. It meets in the very house that he grew up in. We saw a few students enter the house and head out to the back yard. Then we were ushered into the backyard. We were surprised to see that the entire backyard was set up as a meeting place with iron sheets for a roof and cloth-covered walls.
Dan counted 96 people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on low wooden benches. First, there was an exuberant time of worship. Then I stood up to teach. You better believe that during the worship time I was praying desperately for some inspiration and help on how to re-work my message for this large group. Thankfully, God gave me exactly the words and message that needed to be taught. I was so grateful for the opportunity to teach Biblical truths. I was even more grateful for those who have spent themselves pouring Biblical truth into my life!
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.