The doctor and the pastor

HungerWorking through the local churchBurundi

Written by Tearfund’s Amy Church, following a trip to Burundi.

I met Dr Bosco and Pastor Vincent in Songa, rural Burundi. Bosco was in full flow when we arrived at the feeding centre, brimming with energy as he spoke to the people gathered. Vincent stood to the side, calmer, but crucial – the reassuring, highly respected representative of Tearfund’s church partner.

As a duo, the doctor and the pastor are a powerful combination among the people of Burundi. They’re also a brilliant representation of Tearfund’s approach – which is both physical and spiritual.

Bringing life
The work of Dr Bosco and his team is saving lives, despite the fact that he isn’t actually a medic! The ‘doctor’ part was added by the people he serves, and the name has stuck. To them, Bosco is a healer as well as a teacher and a friend.

According to the UN World Food Programme, nearly half of all children in Burundi were suffering from malnutrition at the time of my visit. The centre was running emergency feeding programmes in repeated eight-week cycles, providing the most vulnerable people with the ingredients for a week’s worth of highly-nutritious porridge.

No half measures
Pastor Vincent is a close friend and colleague of Dr Bosco. ‘This feeding programme is helping us to spread the good news of Jesus in a holistic way,’ says Vincent. ‘The words we speak and the works we do, they complement one another… and show the full nature of Christ’s love for humanity.’

This integration of spiritual and physical is at the heart of Tearfund’s work around the world. In Burundi, it’s obvious, not least in the form of these two inspiring men. In other places, it may need to be more subtle; but it’s there, in hearts and always in prayers.

‘The gospel we preach in our churches and the help and advice we provide in the feeding centres, they go hand in hand,’ says Vincent. ‘Dr Bosco and Pastor Vincent – we go together!’

LET’S PRAY

Father God,

We lift up Dr Bosco, Pastor Vincent and all those doing everything they can to bring God’s spiritual hope and physical transformation to Burundi, and we thank you for their commitment. We pray for those in Burundi affected by food shortages, especially children and pregnant or breastfeeding women, and we pray for the peace and social stability so desperately needed in order for people there to thrive.

In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Taken from an article in the current issue of Tear Times.