Russ and Onesphore's trip to Europe


I wanted to take a minute to tell you about a trip that God called Onesphore and I to take months ago. We both, without knowing it about the other, have had a heart for Europe–Onesphore desires to engage the Burundian Diaspora, and I want to connect to existing believers in Europe for the sake of supporting them in their hard work. God surprised us on this trip in more ways than one.

Our journey began in Kigali, Rwanda before flying to France. We introduced these leaders to the Leaders Guide from the First Principles Booklets, which our team has translated into Kirundi. Pray that this group of leaders would establish their churches.

Onesphore and me in Montpellier, France with our dear friends, Ali and Scott. They are a hard working team that help translate the resources that we use every day in Burundi into French. We had 4 days together praying and talking about how we could connect the Burundian and African Diaspora to the existing churches in France and beyond. We will be formalizing our partnership in the coming months. Please pray for Scott, Ali, and their team.

Onesphore and me with Roger, who is a distant cousin of Simon, in front of the EU building in Brussels. Roger and Rachel are so in love with Jesus and have an International House of Prayer. God has gifted them as evangelists and connectors. Lord willing, they will help us host our first international conference in Brussels next November.

This is a dream come true. I have been working on getting a solid set of commentaries and other resources for our future resource center in Burundi that will serve our network of churches. Imagine getting up to preach and having no way to check your work. This happens every Sunday in thousands of churches around the world where pastors lack access to good Bible tools. By God’s grace, I found this little French book distributer in the North of France. It is family owned; the owner went to CIU in Columbia, SC, and he has ten children. He is a committed French Christian and elder. We received over $2400 dollars worth of books for about half that cost. God is so good, and we made some new long-term friends. Onesphore and I were like kids in a candy store.

Pastor Michel in the middle. He is a French pastor who was discipled by Ali. He has the kindest heart (and you can see it in his eyes). He works leading a church of 70 in the heart of a Muslim city. Through our network of relationships, God is knitting the churches of Europe together. Pray for Michel because he is breaking ground in a hard-to-reach city.

This is a powerful picture. The two men baptizing are Burundian. They are a part of the Burundian Diaspora. Their church baptized 5 new believers while we were in Holland. This is a huge thing since Holland is very secular place and a hard place to be on mission. Even though the crisis in Burundi in 2015 cost many people their lives, God used it to send out 450,000 Burundians around the world. As you can see here, God is using faithful Burundians to reach people in the hardest to reach places.

-Russ Bennett