Amongst people, especially the poor and oppressed, there are often those eager to find a way to have a better life. Sometimes these people make quiet attempts at this by doing well in school or at a job. Other times there are much bolder approaches. While riding a bicycle in Burundi, a local man asked my friend Andrew and I if we could help him get to America. There was no introduction and he jumped directly to his point. “How can you help me get to America?” We had never met this person before, and we were both quite shocked and left stumbling for a proper answer to this question! I didn’t think that telling him to go to the airport or immigration office and say “Ladd sent me” would help, nor did I have $3,000 in my spandex. So we pedaled on down the road without a real answer to his question.
Recently, a Burundian friend of ours heard about the work Evariste was doing in Burundi and knew I was connected to his work. He asked me if I could arrange a meeting with Evariste in order to see if he would come work in his home village. This Burundian friend is a simple guy who works cleaning a home in Bujumbura; I thought to myself, “Ah, another bold approach to a better life!”
I called Evariste anyway. “Evariste, what do you think about this? Are you at a place you could expand your ministry?” A brief pause…”Where is the village?” I had no idea where it was. It could be anywhere in the country. It may be one of the thousands of villages in the roadless, rolling hills of Burundi; completely non-strategic in the ways of expansion. Evariste and I decided to meet together with my friend to discuss some details.
As we sat down together, one of the first questions out of Evariste’s mouth was, “So, where are you from?” As my friend quietly explained the location of his home village in the mountains, Evariste nearly lost his chair. It turns out, the place described was no more than 5 kilometers away from the village Evariste grew up; the same village he started this ministry of micro financing dairy cows. Evariste looked at me and said, “Ladd, why on earth did it take God bringing a man from the other side of the world to connect two people who grew up a few miles apart?!”
For the rest of the meeting, Evariste took time to explain the way he would like to meet with the elders and to have my friend’s family be a model for the ministry. They would model to other families the way it could work for others.
A few weeks went by and Evariste explained to me how the meeting with local elders went. He shared the great joy of meeting with them and their excitement for him to share this approach on community development. Another meeting is scheduled in July for the initial training. What an amazing way to demonstrate the Kingdom of God by living it out! Pray with us for these initial stages of work. What a pleasure to see God connect these two people in Burundi, even by a man from thousands of miles away!
To learn more about the work of Evariste, click here!