From Sunday, March 12 to Saturday, March 18 Bishop Jane and Tim Alexander are visiting the Diocese of Buyé, which is the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton’s partner diocese in Burundi. Burundi is a land-locked country in east-central Africa, sharing borders with Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Burundi is dealing with famine as a result of drought, and on March 16th declared that Malaria had reached epidemic proportions throughout the country.
In the face of these trials, Bishop Jane and Tim have wanted to encourage our brothers and sisters in Burundi, yet reports of their trip show the many ways in which they are the ones being encouraged.
Tuesday, March 14, Bishop Jane sent this message via Facebook: “Today was a day of contrasts, many blessings in the beauty of this country and of its people and their incredible faith but also heart breaking to see the effects of 3 failed harvests and famine conditions in parts of the Diocese. Please pray for rain everyone.”
On Wednesday, rain arrived; not enough yet to remedy months of drought, but still an encouragement.
Bishop Jane says they have enjoyed being reunited with old friends in Buyé, including Bishop Sixbert, the Rev. Dominique Ciza, their families and colleagues. “The people here work so hard,” she says, “the pastors and diocesan leadership team and Bishop Sixbert are truly amazing and godly people supporting the children of God in every possible way.”
On Monday, the Alexanders visited students at the Bible College, located just across the road from the cathedral, as well as the newly expanded maternity ward of the Buyé hospital. The improvements there are a direct result of the work of the PWRDF and the Buyé partnership with the diocese of Edmonton. After the visit, the bishop reported, “Burundi has stolen another piece of my heart.”
The itinerary includes visits to four of our diocese’s twin parishes: Kibonde parish, which is partnered with St. John the Evangelist, Cold Lake; St. Paul’s parish (children pictured left) in Gashikanwa, the partner of Christ Church, Edmonton; Gatukuza Parish, partner of St. Saviour’s Mission, Wabamun; and All Saints’ Cathedral, Buyé, which is partnered with All Saints’ Cathedral, Edmonton.
On Thursday, Bishop Jane presided at a special service for International Women’s Day, posting on Facebook (see video of entering the cathedral and the singing and dancing in the worship service): “What an incredible day with some of the women of Buyé Diocese celebrating… at All Saints’ Cathedral, afterwards we shared time with pastors and archdeacons and Bishop Sixbert and heard about ministry in each other’s context and of the importance of knowing our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
The Alexanders will bid farewell (for now) and fly back to Canada on Saturday. Please keep Bishop Jane and Tim in your prayers, as well as our brothers and sisters in Buyé and their need for more rain and a successful growing season.