This week, please join us in prayer for Emmanuel Ndikumana in Burundi.
Located south of Rwanda in the African Great Lakes region, the Republic of Burundi is home to nearly 12 million people of Hutu (85%), Tutsi (14%), and Twa (1%) descent. 92% of Burundians identify as Christians (65% Catholic), 6% practice indigenous religions, and 2% are Muslims. Formerly colonized by Germany and then Belgium, Burundi gained independence in 1962. In the 1970s and ‘90s, two genocides culminating in civil wars left 250 thousand people dead and stunted Burundi’s economic and infrastructural development. Today, Burundi remains predominantly rural and impoverished, with the lowest gross national income worldwide. Burundi is also recovering from a political and human rights crisis that began in 2015, when the government violently repressed those protesting the former president’s bid for a third term.
Emmanuel is completing a PhD in Theology through the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies (UK). His research focuses on forgiveness, justice, and the politics of reconciliation in Burundi. Prior to his studies, Emmanuel served as the Training Secretary of IFES Francophone Africa (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). He continues to serve as President and Executive Director of Partners Trust International, which promotes Christian leadership for holistic transformation in Burundi through theological training, multiethnic fellowship, and community projects. Emmanuel and his wife Asele have four children: Jolly Emmanuella, Lewis, Elsa, and Melissa.
Emmanuel shares the following message:
My name is Emmanuel Ndikumana, born in Burundi in the African Great Lakes region, where I live and serve. I am a husband of one wife and a father of four. Burundi is not just the neighbor of Rwanda but also its twin country in terms of people, culture, and history, including the painful history of ethnic violence.
With the help of ScholarLeaders, I have undertaken part-time PhD research at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies since 2014 with the aim of equipping the Church of Christ in her demanding mission to rebuild societies badly fragilized by destructive ethnic violence as in Burundi and Rwanda. The title of my thesis is “Transforming Destructive Ethnic Violence: An Exploration of the Role of Forgiveness in Political Reconciliation in Burundi.”
The journey has taken longer than I expected due to many obstacles, most of which were related to the sensitivity of my research topic, particularly after Burundi unfortunately slipped back into violence between 2015 and 2020 and amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
First, thank God, our Father of all the mercies, because despite all that I have gone through, I am now at the end. My defense is scheduled for June 1st in Oxford, UK. Pray that my visa will come through in time for me to travel.
Second, I am facing the question, “What is next?” My research centered on the extent to which forgiveness meets the requirements of justice in the process of political reconciliation. This work has opened my eyes to many realities concerning my country and region in the context of global politics that make me too exposed and vulnerable.
Pray that I may remain true to the Gospel of Christ for the rest of my life. Pray for me to always be prepared to pay the price that this commitment entails in the context of protracted violence.
Pray that my voice may be heard in and outside the Church. Pray that my life will contribute to reconciliation between Hutus and Tutsis to the glory of our Lord and Savior.
Pray for wisdom, discernment, courage, and divine appointments so that the rest of my life will be well spent.
Pray for my wife and children in the context of all the above.