Establishing self-sustaining Samaritan Strategy teams in new areas

Elly Oliveira, Global Field Coordinator

For over 100 years in Burundi, we have had an unbalanced message of the gospel. As Dr. Bob Moffitt wrote in his book “Could Evangelism Lead to Sin?”, “To some people reversing the priority of evangelism and discipleship may seem like a small matter. But I believe this reversal has had disastrous consequences in delaying God’s kingdom.”  In Burundi, after over 100 years, there is higher corruption, division, chronic ethnic conflict and poverty!!!  Harvest Foundation and the SamS Program offer very important tools and methods which churches can use to bring hope to such communities!  God’s love shown through disciplines of love and seed projects, as daily lifestyle for individuals, families and communities, can bring God’s glory to any nation!!!
                                                                                                                                                             Rev. Christophe Horimbere

The “Samaritan Strategy” (SamS) program helps churches demonstrate God’s intentions in every area of life.  It uses step-by-step exercises called “disciplines of love” and “seed projects” to disciple people in practical ways, following the biblical model seen in the life of Jesus.  A SamS project has four phases: (1) network, (2) training, (3) coaching, and (4) commissioning.  Since 2013 Harvest has done SamS projects in a consistent way in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Today, we invite you to join us as we celebrate our 100th SamS project!  By God’s grace, during the thirty-seven years of Harvest, we have added significant experiences training church leaders around the world.  In Bujumbura, Burundi, Rev. Christophe Horimbere coordinated one of these projects.  This training happened in a rural community where the Lord used disciplines of love and seed projects to start income generating projects, helping the poor move towards His intentions.  Through this project, unity and hope were instilled in the hearts of eighty participants, changing their lives and community.  Learn more about this God-honoring effort as you read Horimbere’s story below.

Christophe Horimbere, Harvest Associate

Contact and visit (August 2016)
I traveled from Kigali, Rwanda, to Bujumbura to meet with the organizing team and with Pastor Ribakare Potien, who trained with me in this project.

Basic training (October 2016)
We had two unexpected situations in this training.  One, was that there were sixty-three participants, thirteen more than we expected. Two, in the last minute, the church where we planned the event could not host us, and we had to rent a different venue. The participants agreed to contribute with 40% of this cost and we paid for 60%. The training was very fruitful, and twenty-three disciplines of love and seed projects were planned.

In-depth training (December 2016)
I praise the Lord for the successful training and for other seventeen participants who joined our classes, bringing the total to eighty participants. This time, the Assemblies of God Fellowship Church hosted us, as an act of grace from the dynamic organizing team we had in Bujumbura. We praise God for Pastor Potien’s excellent teaching performance and for the women’s group from the church, which showed their strong hope for the outcome of this ministry and collaborated with us.  Some disciplines of love and seed projects reported during the training were: Pastor Aimable and his church bought two goats for two poor families; inspired by lessons about God’s love, Nadine planted lemon trees in her home; Deo bought two rabbits for the poor people of his village; Augustin and Gordien’s team started to save money for a small business; Diomede mobilized his neighbors to fight the erosion in their farm land.

Training of Trainers, TOT (January 2017)
It was difficult to select the participants for the TOT from among the eighty candidates because all of them were interested and committed to obeying God with practical demonstrations of His love to their neighbors.  Therefore, we did an evaluation test where twenty-three people did great and were selected for the TOT. After the lesson about the church as a window of hope for the village, they realized that erosion and disappearance of green areas were their biggest problems. The church leaders decided to plant eighteen million trees, including several fruit trees.  Pastor Aimable planted a model vegetable garden, taught his community to save money, and made their very small plot productive. Afterwards, many of their neighbors followed their example.

Mentorship (March 2017)
I assisted and mentored fourteen of the twenty-three participants with churches in six different locations.  Some experiences shared in our mentorship sessions were: Pastors Diomede and Hermenegilde trained deacons and church leaders from eleven churches; Pastor Baltazar multiplied the trainings in his church at Sororezo; new trainers committed to editing the translation of our materials in Kirundi; Pastor Emmanuel and his church –who were trained in 2015—have planted wonderful crops of beans and bananas, and the community was imitating them.  All participants were training their church members in biblical wholism.

Observation (May 2017)
Here are stories of the participants in our trainings showing multiplication of the concepts that were communicated:  Mme. Violette started a printing and a catering business, besides helping people to plant mushrooms and bananas.  Rosette learned to make bricks, and, with this activity, she gave jobs to her children and people from the community.  They built a wall around her plot and raised small animals as part of an income generating project.  Pastor Potien was elected the Bishop of the Rutana Diocese realizing that the treasures they have as church and community could solve some of their serious financial problems.  They helped each other and the needy from the community to sell their crops each season, and started to build a sanctuary.

Commissioning (July 2017)
With the SamS project in Bujumbura, Burundi, during the period of one year, we trained eighty disciples, who are ready to work as commissioned missionaries to impact the wholistic development of their native villages.  We had an excellent commissioning event with seventy-five trainees and twenty participants. On behalf of the trainees, Apostle Gordien thanked Harvest Foundation and Harvest Iragi for the extraordinary teachings they received, showing the real heart of the Bible. He said that their mentality changed in terms of development and concern with the environment, education, politics and security, that were now shaped by biblical values.  The pastors changed the system of church leadership to be more fruitful. Professors, businesspeople, and students have dreamed to impact the whole nation in a positive way.  They are now planning the way forward to teach, train, coach and mentor many missionaries in each region of Burundi.  At the commissioning event, a local government leader visited us, expressed her appreciation for the teachings, and added that such practices were highly needed in Burundi, not only for the religious people, but also for leaders in all domains of society. She pledged a warm welcome and advocacy for our strategic approach.  We thank God for His guidance, provision and safe travels!

We would like to thank the Harvest team and the participants in the SamS project in Burundi.  Their vision, dedicated services, and mutual collaboration blessed many people.  We thank the donors who so generously contributed to this project.  Without their participation we would not be able to go that far.  We praise the Lord for His provision, guidance, and protection, and  pray that this experience may be multiplied for His glory.

Thank you!

3 Responses

  1. Thanks Horimbere for your availability to serve in Burundi through Sams Teaching Program. Your help for community leaders was very important. May God bless you with his grace and favor.

    1. Together, we pray for you, Christophe, and each participant in the SamS project in Burundi. May you all move towards God’s plan for your lives, as individuals, families, and the entire nation. Blessings!

      1. Sorry for late reflex on your comment dear Elly and Cleiton Oliviera; Thank you for prayers. We do have hope that the seed was already disseminated in the hearts of those 80 leaders and the fruit will keep on bearing progressvelly.

        Keep on praying for SMS proposed project for Muramvya new area Province of Burundi to have Support and get started this year 2019.

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