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  • Johnny Lowden

Navigating the day-to-day with us, in Burundi

It's been a fruitful few days here in Matana diocese, Burundi. Roger left us on Tuesday on his way to Gitega, and we were given the day to prepare for scheduled meetings across Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to meet with local clergy from the diocese. It was an encouraging time of sharing, reflection, learning, and prayer. We exchanged our experiences of pastoral care in our respective contexts, focussing on the opportunities and challenges it provides. It was refreshing to hear and understand that the challenges of ministry are not so different between Matana and Derry. I will always be grateful for the insights that the clergy here shared, and am thankful for their willingness to speak.

On Thursday we had our first chance to visit a school in the area, Izere Primary school, just across the road from St Peter's cathedral. Emily spent time with the headteacher, Fiston, learning about the curriculum to help her prepare for the training session she delivered to the teachers on Friday. We had the opportunity to sit in on two classes, and I must say, the French skills of the P4 class were far superior to mine!

To cap off an encouraging and refreshing three days, we met with the board of the diocesan Mothers’ Union this afternoon. After exchanging greetings we heard from them about their vital and difficult work addressing gender-based violence, and promoting literacy among women and girls. Literacy unlocks many avenues in life, allowing women to manage their own finances, access education and start small businesses. The work of the Mothers’ Union here is certainly an example of kingdom building par excellence and we will be praying for its continued flourishing.

As we look forward to the final phase of our time here, we are excited to discover more of how the church is helping to change lives for the better. Please pray for the work of the Mothers’ Union and the clergy here, especially for their focus on holistic ministry: caring for people's spiritual and physical needs together.

And P.S. pray for the mosquitos, that they will choose another target since they only seem

to eat me!



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