International, Global

INT05 - Harvest Partnership Church Planting Movement: Partnership Reports



Other Reports Available:

REPORT DATED: MAY 22, 2023 >
REPORT DATED: MAY 20, 2015 >
REPORT DATED: MARCH 3, 2016 >
REPORT DATED: JULY 13, 2016 >
REPORT DATED: APRIL 18, 2017 >
REPORT DATED: FEBRUARY 2, 2018 >
REPORT DATED: SEPTEMBER 28, 2018 >
REPORT DATED: JULY 7, 2020 >
REPORT DATED: NOVEMBER 11, 2020 >
REPORT DATED: JUNE 6, 2021 >
REPORT DATED: SEPTEMBER 21, 2021 >
REPORT DATED: FEBRUARY 16, 2022 >


Report Date: August 8, 2019

Report from BHW Partnership Facilitator 

Key people:  Ken Rout, Abel Rachete

The BHW facilitator visited the Harvest Partnership team in Bukavu from 25th to 27th June. All the team met including Anita, the wife of Abel. 

The main purpose was to explore the writing of proposals for their personal support. Harvest Partnership is in the situation of declining financial support for a number of reasons and it is important and urgent that if the work is to continue growing here, they need to develop local means of support. Two years ago the BHW facilitator met with them and encouraged them to develop small business proposals so they and their families would be able to continue. The ideas and proposals that came in were largely worthless in both concept and presentation. This trip was to try and get something worthwhile on the table for Harvest Partnership to consider. 

The work continues to grow and have an impact as you will see from the ministry reports below. However, they all face great challenges.

 

Recent Events

Team

whole teamThe whole team was present at the meetings (l to r - Anita, Abel, Jean-Pierre, Daniel, Alex, Alimasi, Pascal). They are: 
- Daniel from Bukavu who was our host and who did a great job. His wife Dorcas came to help prepare our breakfast as well as his niece.
- Jean-Pierre from Goma. He had travelled overnight on the slow boat from Goma.
- Alex from Bujumbura, Burundi
- Alimasi from Uvira 
- Pascal from Fisi
- Abel and Anita from Bujumbura, team leaders

We first had a discussion about the gospel and its impact in their areas of operation. They all expressed the fact that they are really thrilled with the way it is developing and the impact they are having. However, they all also expressed concerns that they meet many people who are in desperate need, people put expectations on them to help and they themselves do not have the resources to do that. We discussed that it is not always possible to meet those sorts of expectations, but on the other hand, if people are so poor, hungry or traumatized by their circumstances, this creates a barrier to them hearing the good news. 

I was impressed with their passion for the gospel and for the people they are reaching. Compelling.  

Ministry

Each of them shared a summary of their ministry since January. 

lots of challengesDaniel (and Dorcas), Bukavu: Daniel is finding that most churches in Bukavu are now open to CPM, church planting, and many villages are asking for assistance. He is finding as he moves into the rural areas that there is more challenge with doctrinal understandings. The leaders are much less educated, not trained and more concerned with tradition than in urban areas. Most concentrate on the Old Testament and just teach rules, they don’t understand or preach the gospel at all. 

In the villages there are expectations that if you come as a “visiting pastor” you should contribute to the inevitable church project. This is a burden as they have nothing extra to give and this can cause barriers. They are also torn as these people are genuinely very poor and need help. Currently he is working with 65 active groups. 

Personally, he has not been able to pay their rent or school fees for some time. 

lots of challengesJean-Pierre, Goma (left in photo): He is struggling with the rent and is very thankful for the recent assistance from HP for school fees. Since January he has seen 35 new groups formed. He has also been working with a lot of young people and recently 35 were baptized. He is involved with a football team, evangelism through sport. These young people are part of a church but they are very open with him and tell him their needs. He would love to be able to give more help but it’s impossible. He finds many in extreme poverty, not even a Bible to read. Some churches/groups have projects and expect assistance. The young people want to open hairdressing salons, to set up internet cafes and bring young people together. Despite this, there is good progress. There are many opportunities. 

Alex, Bujumbura (right in above photo): It is tough to serve the Lord in Burundi in the current situation. You don’t know who you can trust, even church leaders are government informants and they don’t like groups gathering in houses. He is currently working with 30 churches. Most have set up at least two groups, some up to 20 house churches. In the past, people were not very open. Burundians have learned to be very private to survive, but things are changing and the small groups give them the opportunity to share more. There are 28 new CPMs since January. 

He is being approached by many churches. The biggest issue is that the pastors want money to let them train. Also, poverty in rural areas is an issue, the people are desperately poor. Many are hardly eating and hunger consumes their thinking. Many children are not going to school. He still encourages them to trust God. The low level of biblical literacy is also a major barrier. 

He is very grateful to HP for the support he gets. For two years his children did not go to school. Landlords can be very difficult. 

lots of challengesAlimasi, Uvira: For a number of years some churches have refused to allow him to visit and teach. This included the Lutheran, Anglican and  Kimbanguiste. However, this is changing and he is getting a better reception. He has also started a number of groups in schools with teachers and students. 

He has about 130 groups in total in 15 denominations and five schools, three of them are Catholic schools. 

His biggest issue is the time it takes to travel. Sometimes to go and visit Pascal it can be two days travel on a motorbike and it’s only 45 km. The insecurity on the Usizi plain also causes issues and many people come into Uvira to escape the issues. And then there is the cost of travel. 

He has eight children and this is a real burden, the eldest is about to start university. 

Pascal, Fizi: The insecurity is very real and can happen at any time. All of a sudden, even in the middle of a church service, guns go off and everyone runs. They have been to visit places and no one comes because there are Mai Mai rebels in the area. Even from their homes sometimes they have to scatter and flee and on coming back can find their homes ransacked and goods stolen.  

He has established 64 new groups since January despite the difficulties. Many are struggling because of the insecurity and it is hard to know how to help them. People are trying to farm but even though it’s almost hopeless, they try to encourage them to keep going. There are many displaced people wandering around and they are a problem as they have nothing. 

When someone new comes into the area they are always being hit on for money, the perception being that if they come from the city they must have money. One son is about to finish university exams and is concerned that he might not be able to sit them. He is very thankful for the HP support.  

very gratefulAnita, Bujumbura: Anita is very thankful to HP that many have come to the Lord through the teaching, even she herself. She is thankful for the work Abel does, they have a house church and a group of young people. Their group has multiplied into five other groups. Many of those in the groups are women, many from a Muslim background as she is. They have found many illiterate women and she wants to help them somehow. They have very closed mindsets and it is very hard for them to understand the Word. A number of them are solo mothers and there are many orphans. Unfortunately, although they want to follow the Lord, they end up as prostitutes as they have no way to feed their children and themselves. Some are widows or divorced and are now responsible to care for their children with no support.  

There is an election looming and it is very difficult to meet in homes, it is not safe as there are many informants. People want to gather but cannot afford to take the risk.

She is very thankful for the support of Joanna, their disabled daughter and her medication. They have been praying a long time for a special chair for her but it’s too expensive. “The Lord will provide.” 

Despite all the issues, they are still able to present the Word.

Abel, Bujumbura: Abel is very thankful to HP for their help and support. From the reports, he feels the ministry is developing well despite the difficulties. There is progress in all areas and countries. People are becoming believers, new groups are being formed, people are being baptized and the Word is being read. 

Since January he has been working with three churches and 16 new groups have been formed. He is discovering that CPM needs constant follow up and encouragement. He has restarted working with the Good News Church in Rwanda. They have a fund to assist with travel but there are so many needs. He finds it almost impossible to visit Pascal in Fizi. The many genuine needs create pressures for them. Many want loans but they would never be paid back and they do not have the resources anyway. 

The political situation in Burundi makes ministry difficult. 

It is now hard to pay for school fees as their support hasn’t gone up since 2010. They have three at school. None of them has a secure financial future and this is a real concern.   

 

Ideas for the Future

I think it is very important for these guys to get onto a different support setting and I think their project suggestions below could work. We worked on the concept that each project would require around US$3,000. 

Daniel: His initial idea was soap making but after going through the figures he realized that he would need to make types of soap that he could charge a higher price for, not just to make bars to sell wholesale as his income was too low. 

Jean-Pierre: He is a technician in TV installation and electronics. He already has this business operating at a low level as he doesn’t have the capital. He could be an outlet for Canal, the TV dish company and would sell, install and sell satellite contracts. He wants to add to his stock and grow his capacity. There are multiple other things he could add to the business, especially selling accessories for TVs, phones etc. 

Alex: He is already a hairdresser and would like to grow that business. The beauty of this is that once he has the capital items, the operational costs are low and so his income can be higher. 

Alimasi: He would like to purchase a large solar freezer and he would make ice to sell to fishermen. He would also freeze products for people, fish, meat etc. His capital costs would be high but his inputs free, water from the lake. There is only one other person doing this and there is always a shortage of ice. He also thought that because he had the solar operating he could set up a little internet café with phone charging etc.

His wife also has a little business buying and selling roofing sheets and he also wondered if it might be better to grow that business. The roofing is a simple business, easy to control, minimal losses/ wastage and easy to calculate margins. 

Pascal: He is a tailor so his new business is to get some better sewing machines and do more of that in his area. He would get a generator and use electric machines to give him an advantage over other people. He thinks this has great potential and as he listened to Alimasi he realized that while his generator is operating he too could charge phones and make other income. 

Abel and Anita:  Their idea is to set up a wholesale food provider business. They would get orders for schools, businesses, caterers, large food consumption companies and then they would provide their orders. They would have some stock of common items, water, oil, maize flour etc but would also have suppliers they could access products from to order. They have already researched this and think there is a real opportunity, not many are doing it and they have a strong network to supply to. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

The political challenges they all face in all the countries.
The influence of rebels and the insecurity it is causing especially around Fizi.
The barriers they are facing in the churches both theological and economic.

 

Prayer and Praise Points

1) The impact that the work continues to have, despite the difficulties.
2) That the impact will continue to grow and that many more people will be able to join groups and discover a relationship with God through reading his Word.
3) The good progress we made in the seminar and training. Pray that their projects will come on well and be profitable.
4) That it will be possible to find donors for the income generating projects.

 

Comments

I had Jean-Paul Tingityabo with me in the meetings and he was able to contribute to the discussions. His thoughts were interesting. He pointed out a number of things to them as we went along. He seems to think that they are starting to think well but that they would need ongoing mentoring. This is going to be an issue I think as HP doesn't have any plans to have people on the ground here in the near future. 

It might be worth someone like Jean-Paul connecting with them in an ongoing capacity until the loans are repaid. He could be a good help to them and they seemed to like him.