Pastors/Missionaries Elmer and Sherry Komant felt that God was leading them to move to Burundi from Rwanda where they had been the last 14 years. They had started Christian Life Assembly in Rwanda as an English based church and it has grown to include not only a church but also a K-12 school and teacher training centre. When they began in Rwanda, that nation was just recovering from a brutal genocide that had decimated the nation and demoralized it’s people.
In many ways Burundi is in the same place today as where Rwanda was – they too have struggled with racial genocide and in many ways the country is way behind in technology, and has blatant corruption on multiple levels.
Rather than starting a church by themselves, Elmer and Sherry recruited 5 national pastors that would come alongside, each with their giftings to bring this church into existence. Two of the pastors come from Kenya, one from Uganda, another from Rwanda and one from Mombasa and together with Canadians Elmer and Sherry they are building a team.
Elmer and Sherry found the ideal place for their church in the old Odeon Theatre, which was not only a movie theatre but also a drama theatre. It’s an old, run down place that will need a lot of upgrading, and cleaning. The cleaning has begun and teams from Rwanda and others have worked hard to clear out the garbage, and start painting.
Pastor Elmer is not only a missionary or pastor, he also a visionary and builder. He drew up the basic plans of what he wants to do in the building, then went to Canada to talk to business men who donated supplies and tradespeople who were willing to come and do the work.
Arnie and I are the first of the tradespeople to come, tonight (Sunday) a father and daughter team are coming to do the technical stuff for the sound system, Tuesday, another team from Kelowna is arriving ready to install the sound system. The biggest hang up right now is the two containers carrying all the supplies that these teams need to do their job. These containers have supposedly arrived in Tanzania, but for some reason there’s a hold up in getting them on trucks and on the road to Burundi.
The original plan was to start holding services with the team at the Komant’s home until March 31st – Easter when they were to hold the drama presentation called Heaven’s Gates, Hell’s Flames to kick off the church. However, without advertising, without any formal invitations, people started hearing about the fledgling group and within a few weeks they had outgrown the Komant’s house and decided to move into the new facilities in what will eventually be a fellowship room.
This morning only 6 weeks later there were over 60 adults with at least 11 children, with a good number of new people. This new church is being built on a cell model where members are strongly encouraged to be a part of a small group that meets on Wednesday where they discuss what was preached on Sunday and how they can apply the message to their everyday lives.
Because of the delays in equipment arriving etc. the decision has been made that Heaven’s Gates and Hells Flames will not be presented the end of March, instead they are postponing it to the end of May.