Our latest Global Partner Updates come from Burundi (Gitega and Matana Dioceses) and Rwanda (Kibungo and Shyogwe Diocese)
Jenny Smyth introduces the Burundi update by sharing something of the context in which our partners are currently working.
This is a critical time in the life of this wonderful nation. Political campaigning has begun for the presidential election on 20th May 2020. Tensions are inevitably running high. The president is standing aside after three five-year terms and the ruling party’s General Secretary, Evariste Ndayishimiye, will stand for election along with candidates from opposition parties.
There are concerns about holding rallies in the face of a global pandemic, but Burundi has not introduced social distancing or the use of face masks in public. There are about 20 reported cases of Covid-19 in Burundi, but in a country with a largely rural population and rudimentary health services, numbers are hard to determine.
As Bishop Aimé-Joseph (Gitega) reminds us, however - ‘The Church remains Church even during difficult times’.
Our Personnel Manager, Gillian Maganda provides an update from Rwanda, where both of CMSI's Global Partners (Kibungo and Shyogwe Diocese) are adapting to life in lockdown and are seeking to ensure that the Church remains central in the response to the crises. Gillian writes:
It’s been encouraging that the Church in Rwanda is seeking to be at the forefront of fulfilling the biblical mandate of caring for the widow, the fatherless and the poor. But they too are facing their own challenges as many people who work for the Church (ministers, lay readers, teachers, administrators, and healthcare workers) have seen their own sources of income dwindle, as places of worship are also in lockdown.
Both our partners in Shyogwe and Kibungo Dioceses are working hard to find solutions for the many who are going hungry and have no hand washing facilities or supply of reusable face masks. Over the next two months Bishop Jered and Bishop Emmanuel want to offer basic food packages which include beans, maize flour, rice, soap and some personal protective equipment to over 500 hundred vulnerable families. But they need our help.
Gillian also shares the good news of an appointment to a new missionary diocese in Rwanda.
In addition to its regular updates of news and prayer requests, CMSI produces Global Partner Updates at least twice each. While these are primarily aimed at CMSI link churches and prayer supporters, they provide a helpful summary for anyone with a wider interest in the work of the global Church.