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Friday, October 2, 2009

Books to Burundi and Beyond

A wonderful brother and partner of this ministry told me this story recently and I knew right away that we should share it with you. It illustrates the kind of God-ordained provisions that we joyfully witness almost every day. We’re withholding his name to protect his ability to get visas for travel to sensitive countries.

The call came from the office of the President of Burundi (Central Africa). Since the cessation of civil war a wonderful new Christian President had been elected and he has a new and vibrant Secret Service and National Police Force. He wanted them trained in leadership, but it needed to be leadership taught from the Bible! What a joyous request from the President.

Upon landing in Burundi we were met at the airport by Pastor Theopolis (name changed) and taken to our hotel to prepare for the week of training. We met with the Colonel of the Secret Service and I must admit that most of the Burundian officials wondered out loud what the Bible could really say about leadership in post-war Africa.

By mid-day of the first day of training the postures of the men and women changed from laid back to sitting on the edge of their seats. We had given each of them a Bible in French and it was beginning to come alive to them. They were seeing how the leadership issues and examples from their new Bibles connect to a post-war nation.

Stories could go on about the week of training. I left the officers with tears in my eyes. They had a Bible and manuscript of the Bible teachings, but they asked for more. They wanted to study about this glorious and wonderful God. I had nothing more to give them, until…

A few months later I was meeting with Bill Walsh of Desiring God International Outreach and we discussed the needs in central and eastern Africa. After that conversation, Desiring God decided to send me cases of books that would benefit the pastors and the Secret Service men and women.

But how to get these heavy boxes there? The shipping cost was prohibitive. Three wonderful cases of books for Burundi, but who travels to Burundi?

I was at home when the phone rang. It was Pastor Theopolis. We chatted and I asked about the ministry and his continued work with the Secret Service and National Police. He said that many were now Christians and working in churches across the cities and nation, but they were thirsty for materials.

I told him of the cases and then the news came! Theopolis was calling me from a two-day visit to Virginia and was leaving the next day on the evening flight to Amsterdam. It did not take me but a few minutes to get his address and depart for the FedEx office. The three cases would be in pastor’s hands by 10:00 the next morning and in Burundi two days later! Theological training was on its way. God’s providence is magnificent.

The ministry of Desiring God International Outreach is a blessing from God. And couriers are that special link—people who can stuff a duffle bag with resources to help relieve the theological famine in this world. Now there is a marvelous library in central Africa and Christians who can access a deeper understanding of God.

But, in my travels to 40 nations I also know that we need these materials in other languages—Russian, Turkish, simple Chinese, and many more. I was blessed that God flew one pastor to the USA to become his own courier, but I would guess that every church in the USA has at least one “courier” that will be headed overseas in the next few months. The goal is to take that extra duffel bag and Pack Hope! http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2032_books_to_burundi_and_beyond/

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