Burundi Adventist soldiers are playing an important role in evangelism that has already led many souls to Jesus. The troops are on a peace-keeping mission in Somalia, assigned to them by the United Nations. Since other Adventists in Burundi are doing their part to share the gospel through Total Member Involvement (TMI), these soldiers felt called to share their faith in the place where God had placed them as well.
Adventist beliefs were unknown in the Burundian army. There are no Adventist chaplains, and no representation for Adventist soldiers. This made witnessing very difficult. The chaplains of other faiths called them a group of heretics and tried to force them to worship on Sundays. The Adventist troops began meeting for a private church service on Sabbath.
According to Fidel Nimpagaritse, an elder at the Baidowa Camp Church, “One chaplain came and ordered that our small church be demolished. He said, ‘It is better to watch pornographic movies than listen to the Advent messages.’ So he forced us to worship together as one army in a single church led by the Catholics. We declined that invitation and I reminded him the words of Peter to the priests: ‘We would rather obey God than men.’ Even if the threats were strong, we didn’t surrender, but we continued to worship near our demolished church site.”
The small group made the issue a matter of prayer, and eventually gained the right to worship on Sabbath. Not only that, but these Adventist soldiers were able to share their faith and several soldiers who had once criticized them chose to join the Seventh-day Adventist Church!
Major Ntakarutimana Jean de Dieu says, “Since we had no one to baptize them, we gave them endorsement letters so that once they got back to Burundi they could be baptized.”