Vianney is a soft-spoken, humble young man who helped launch Young Life ministry in his politically and economically challenged country of Burundi in 2015 after visiting Young Life in Kigali, Rwanda. At first, Vianney thought Young Life was crazy and he wasn’t sure he could lead the singing or games. But after a few days of being around the Young Life leaders and kids, God spoke to him about doing His work through Young Life and Vianney felt a peace about it. He also attended a YL training in the DRC which gave him a good understanding of camp operations.
In 2016, the Young Life team in Burundi was holding camp with an assignment team of 5 DRC staff and volunteers. Camp had just started for over 300 kids when suddenly, the police showed up and forced the camp to close, sending the kids and leaders home because they considered camp an illegal gathering. The police sent the assignment team back to Congo, forcing them to leave the country immediately. Then, they put Vianney in jail, which was very frightening.
Alexis Kwamy, senior Regional Director in Tanzania and originally from the DRC, had an idea and sent a text to Vianney’s phone (which the police had confiscated) in French appealing to whoever saw the text: “God will touch your heart and you will let Vianney go free because he is serving God and reaching Burundi kids to change the Burundi of tomorrow.” The police officer who read the message was moved to action and released Vianney. Apparently, a local Pentecostal church had paid the police to close the camp and have Vianney arrested. Vianney eventually went to court over the situation but in the midst of it, reached out and built a bridge with the church which felt threatened by Young Life.
In 2017, although the political situation is still too tense to hold camp, Vianney and his team of 54 volunteer leaders reached over 4,000 kids with the gospel. Peace, security and hope are elusive in Burundi. Please join us in praying for wisdom, strength and economic stability for Vianney and his team of volunteer leaders to reach kids for Jesus despite difficult circumstances.
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