67-year-old Mr. Bahizire lost his wife in floods in Bukavu Diocese at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. He was displaced into a slum area of Uvira city and since then he has been living alone in a little shelter there. He has no means to buy food.
In response to the double crisis of flooding and C-19, Bishop Bahati sent out a team with food and soap packages to reach those who had been affected. The team shared the following story about their meeting with Mr. Bahizire.
On seeing the team coming towards his shelter, Mr Bahizire shouted: "I am hungry and thirsty of food and Gospel, because floods have killed my wife. Since I live on earth, I have never seen the floods destroy the city and people. What do you now want to do for me? Kill me too?"
One of the team members replied: We have a short message from the Lord to you. God loves you and wants to care for you."
"How is it possible?" he replied, "Can God care for someone who does not eat because there is no Church to assist me anymore?"
As the distribution team offered a package of salt, rice, beans and salt to Mr. Bahizire they told him: "God’s power and love are not closed inside the church building, because his grace flows even to your little house."
The team reported that after receiving the package Mr. Bahizire smiled with great joy, praising God and saying: "My Lord Jesus Christ continues loving me even though my wife is taken by the flood."
The Church at the centre of this devastated community has been able to bring not only food and hygiene supplies to Mr. Bahizire and a hundred others like him. Clearly the Church has also brought a message of hope, a revelation of the love of Christ in the midst of great sorrow.
Along with the food package Mr. Bahizire received real solace from being remembered and helped as a valued member of the body of Christ in his ‘little shelter’, even as he would have in former days when we was able to go and join in worship in a church building.
Let us pray for all the little households visited by sorrow in Bukavu and beyond; that grace may flow bringing real hope of Christ’s love.
We are grateful to the Bukavu link parishes and others who donated towards this emergency situation. Bishop Bahati sends his thanks too:
"We are so thankful to CMS Ireland and all our brothers and sisters in Christ who generously have contributed with money to assist the family victims of Uvira catastrophe through the Anglican Church in Bukavu. May the Almighty God bless you abundantly and enable you to care for needy people to the glory of His name."