Believing that Christians are called not only to proclaim, but also to demonstrate the Gospel, Pastor Zenon Ndayegamiye felt burdened to implement holistic development both in his church and community in Burundi.
“We cannot separate the spiritual and physical or social development. It is like the two wings of a bird, if you cut off one wing, you cannot fly,” he explains.
Serving as a pastor in the Foursquare Church in Burundi, Zenon began to teach holistic development in 2010 among local church congregations. “In my church, I was struggling because I wanted to see the context of poverty changed,” remembers Zenon. After being introduced to the HOPE Burundi savings and credit association (SCA) program, he immediately felt that this program could provide an answer. Zenon shares, “Many organizations brought money to help Burundians, but until now, we don’t see the impact. For me, I can truly say HOPE Burundi is very different from other organizations. Some have said it’s like, instead of giving fish to someone, you have to teach him to fish.”
Zenon believes the SCA program is successful because HOPE provides training that enables members to manage and save their own money. The SCA program has also allowed members to develop leadership skills that are not only valuable within savings groups, but also in their local churches.
Zenon describes the transformation he has witnessed in savings members of his congregation: “What is interesting in the SCA Program is that members are equipped holistically. People are not only trained about money, but also spiritually and socially. With the SCA Program, the faith of church members can increase because the members worship, pray, and share the Word of God together.”
Viewing the SCA program as a valuable ministry to share the love of Christ with their neighbors, Zenon says, “Burundi is a country which is coming from the war during more than 10 years. The hearts of people are wounded and many persons hate each other.” Through savings groups, people can meet together, learning to forgive and be reconciled with God and each other. “The program enables the group members to work with transparency, accountability, humility, and an open heart,” shares Zenon. “And so the surrounding community sees all this, and they realize it’s not just about money. It’s about reconciliation; it’s about relationship [and] communion among the members. There is love, and they have solidarity.”
But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. ~1 John 3:17-18