Six weeks ago, three men visited our church and introduced themselves at our Guest Reception afterwards. They represented a growing community of refugees from Burundi, Rwanda and Congo. Many had been settled in the United States within the last three years through a special refugee plan in 2007. Though there may be more than 2000 of these foreigners in the DFW area, these men are connected with a known community of 100+ in south Fort Worth. After gracious introductions, they made one request: Would our church grant them a place to worship in their own tongue?
Burundi is one of the most Christianized nations in central Africa and the spiritual roots of these beautiful people run deep. As Pastor January, Method [the most English-speaking interpreter] and elders of their newly-forming church met with a group from PBC, they humbly requested a room..or a tent...or even a patch of grass to meet as a Body and worship each week.
It took little convincing of our Elder Board to give this church a place to begin worship services on the PBC campus. yesterday, many from their African community joined their pastor on our stage for us to welcome them and forge a partnership that unites 2 nations under one Lord. As we received our morning offering, the Burundi community sang songs to God and, while none of us understood a word, we translated their hearts with no problem.
I am looking forward to the days ahead as we learn more about our friends and determine how we, the church, might be able to meet their needs. Already, we have been richly blessed by their arrival. We pray that God will be made famous in this work.
To learn more about the history of the Burundi refugees, see a very informative article HERE.