Editor’s Note: Since May 2019, Seventh-day Adventist church members in Burundi have endured ongoing persecution from the country’s government. On October 24, Burundi Union Mission president Lamec Barishinga was arrested. The arrest was part of an escalating series of threats and attacks on the Seventh-day Adventist Church by the government of Burundi.
Below is a letter from the Adventist Church’s president, Ted N. C. Wilson, to Adventist church members in Burundi.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Burundi,
Praise the Lord for His sustaining and strengthening power in your lives as you continue to face challenges and difficulties. Thank you for remaining loyal to God’s Word and to His worldwide church. People are praying for you and your situation. Stay close to the Lord and His precious Holy Bible — the Word of the Lord! Remain steadfast in your commitment to complete truth and to maintaining your strong connection with the East-Central Africa Division and the worldwide church as you proclaim the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18:1-4. God will give you guidance and strength in your work, witness, and service for Him as we approach the end of time and the Lord’s soon return.
As you study your Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy, God will open to you new ways of witnessing for Him. Stay close to the Lord leading as you earnestly pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a terrible problem for the world, but God will use this setting to wake up people to their need for Him. Continue to practice good health habits and appropriate public health protocols as you help others with their problems and point them to Christ. Continue to pray for God’s intervention in Burundi to bring about a normal setting for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Pray for your local church leaders, pastors, and leaders of local fields and the Burundi Union. Join me in praying for all members in Burundi and our dear Burundi Union president, Lamec Barashinga, who is currently still in prison.
While we are still being harassed by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, look to the Lord for your strength and encouragement. Many churches around the world are not meeting on Sabbath because of public health restrictions. However, be strong in your connection with the Lord and His Bible truth. Continue to witness for the Lord using appropriate health protocols. Be of good courage. God is in control. I have prayed for you. The Lord will use you in a mighty way during this strange time of the worldwide pandemic. Lean on the Lord as you share His three angels’ messages using Total Member Involvement. May you be anchors of stability and pillars of hope through the Holy Spirit’s power. Jesus is coming soon. Get involved in TMI.
May the words of the psalmist be of great encouragement to you, found in Psalm 57:1: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by” (NKJV).
Let the citation from Christian Service, page 37, by Ellen G. White, be of support to you and give you a fuller picture of our need to allow Christ to fully control us: “God’s people must take warning and discern the signs of the times. The signs of Christ’s coming are too plain to be doubted; and in view of these things everyone who professes the truth should be a living preacher. God calls upon all, both preachers and people, to awake. All heaven is astir. The scenes of earth’s history are fast closing. We are amid the perils of the last days.… The Lord calls for the pardoned souls, those who rejoice in the light, to make known the truth to others.”
Through God’s power, share His truth with all those around you, and stand tall for God’s Holy Word as you share God’s love with Burundi. Make strong plans for evangelistic and Total Member Involvement activities throughout Burundi. May God come especially close to you and your witness for Him during these difficult and challenging experiences you are facing. Thank you for your faithfulness to God, His Holy Word, His Spirit of Prophecy, His Advent message, and Christ’s soon coming. May the Lord be with you and lead you in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake as you share the message of Christ’s soon return with the people of Burundi.
With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,
Ted N. C. Wilson
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists