Chrissie Chapman, Burundi, Central Africa
CRIB (Children Rescued in Burundi)
During the genocide in Burundi in the 90’s Chrissie Chapman began a work to rescue children who had suffered unimaginable hardship and lost their parents in the crisis that took place then. Her commitment to these children has gone way beyond the call of duty, as she has adopted three of them Hannah (left), Ben, and Lydia (right).
Today there are more than fifty children in the CRIB work, who also go to The King’s School, a Christian school where they are educated in English, along with other children from the city. More than thirty of them are in secondary school, and others have gone on to further education or work.
visit CRIB's website at www.burundichildren.com
CHRSSIE'S CHRISTMAS 2015 NEWS
I started my Summer news letter by saying what a challenge it was to know quite where to start or finish writing with the situation in the country changing almost hourly. Well, I didn’t think then that six months on and coming up to Christmas the situation would be just as bad, if not worse in many ways, than when I last wrote. However, let me start by saying that I am still in Burundi and all the kids and staff at the CRIB home are doing very well as we are learning to live one day at a time knowing and experiencing the Lord’s provision and protection every day. There is still very little news about the reality of what is happening here in Burundi as all media has continued to be shut down and the little news which is reported on the internet is brief and not always accurate.
It is estimated that now over 220,000 people have fled the country and also estimated that over 200 people have been killed in the fighting here. Many feel that is a gross under estimation as every morning bodies are found in the streets after the nights of shooting and the war rages on…except no one has admitted we are in a war! Shooting and grenades exploding continue almost every night and most days so we are very limited as to when we can go out and it is always risky even to go into town for shopping or banking, requiring great wisdom before making the weekly trip for essential supplies.
This week the EU has begun to evacuate people, the Belgians have been asked by one of the leading government parties to leave and as it is the Belgian embassy that is the contact and cover for British citizens, I am not sure where that leaves me if the embassy does end up having to close. So we wait and pray and continue to ask the Lord for His protection and wisdom to know what to do as each challenge comes before us.
The political situation is far too complicated to even try to explain and understand, those of us living here through all this chaos continue to be somewhat confused as to what the real issues are but the one thing that is clear is that every day the fighting continues and the situation deteriorates and as outside financial support from other countries is being stopped, the hungry become starving and the numbers of people, especially children, dying because of malnutrition increases. The economy is in a desperate state and prices have increased so much that many have passed breaking point. It is a miracle that we have been able every month to buy our supplies of food to feed everyone, the prices have certainly been a challenge but the Lord has continued to provide for us and once again we have always had enough.
There is no doubt these are days of great challenge but in the midst of everything (that on some days just keep me on my knees when there nothing else to do and nowhere else to go) there come glimpses of amazing blessing and evidence that the Lord is with us, to help us, to provide for us, to comfort us and to give us wisdom to know what to do when we feel we have done everything we can do but it still isn’t enough.
We do thank the Lord that the school was able to open again in September. It was a relief after the long break when school had to close in April, so everyone at CRIB breathed a sigh of relief to get back into some sort of routine and study again.
On family news I am beyond blessed. In October I became a grandmother when Lydia gave birth to a baby boy, Dylan Nathanial. She came home for the summer and although she ended up having an emergency caesarian section, everything went well and Lydia recovered well. She is now back living in Kigali but will be home for Christmas as will Benjamin and Hannah…situation in the country permitting! Both Benjamin and Hannah complete their final year in their respective Universities in the UK so lots of hard work and exams when they return in the New Year after which we will see what comes next.
In the midst of everything that has been happening this year, I have written a book. For many years people have asked me write down some of the stories of this incredible journey that the Lord has led me on, the challenges and the amazing blessings and miracles I have had the privilege to see and experience over my life and especially the story of CRIB. It is called "The night the angels came", and is available from Amazon. I had no idea when I started to write and recount all the memories, all the stories from the last war, the last coup, that before the book was finished I would be living through it all again and with all the memories so fresh in my mind. What a blessing to know that God will do it again! He will provide, protect, comfort and lead us every step of the way - He always has and will continue to do so. No matter what the situation looks like…Jesus is still Lord!
I have no way of knowing how or when the situation here in Burundi will resolve or how it is all going to end. It is sure that Burundi as we knew it will never be the same again, so much has changed, so many lost and damaged. I will stay as long as the Lord continues to pour out His grace which is the only thing that is able to keep one in this situation…His grace truly is sufficient.
I am planning to take a break in mid January for a couple of months; 3 weeks in February will be in California ministering and visiting friends.
I take this opportunity to thank you all so much once again for your love and support to me, my family and the work here in Burundi. Please keep us in your prayers.
I wish you all a Very Happy and Blessed Christmas and New Year.
The Cow Project, Burundi
We also are supporting a project to help hill farmers acquire cows and grow food so that they are well nourished and give good milk yields. Our support helps to buy cows, which are given to hill farmers who are also supplied with seed to enable them to grow suitable food for fodder. Once the cow has calved and the milk begins to flow the farmer is able to use some of the milk for his own personal needs, sell the remainder back to the project, and in time pay for the cow that was donated.
These cows are a real life line for villages and farmers. Their families not only get better nutrition and are consequently healthier, but they have a sustainable income too. The milk is also taken by the project and sold in the towns.
We are also contributing towards a machine which pasteurises the milk so that it keeps longer and is in better condition than it would be in its raw state.
As the farmers are able to buy their own cows and repay the loans this is then reinvested in the scheme to help other farmers obtain cows.
Evariste, who runs the Cow Project, has also started feeding milk to some of the approx. 5000 street kids of Bujumbura. He plans to open a street café where the kids can come and have a cup of milk for free.