Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Urgent Need in Burundi

As a matter of policy, Pray for Denmark.com does not generally become involved with matters of funding or fund raising and does not expect to do so often in the future if at all. However, Thomas Spanner of Baptistkirken i Danmark (Danish Baptist Union) has notified us of an urgent request pertaining to the African country of Burundi, where Danish Baptists began mission work in 1928. As the work grew, and because of the need for medical care for converts and families related to the indigenous churches as well as ministry to the general local population, the Danish Baptists early on financed and constructed a hospital at Musema in Burundi’s Kayanza Province. With the cooperation of local Burundis, the hospital was long administered and staffed by dedicated Scandinavian doctors and nurses, among them for some years my dear friends Dr. Torben and Rita Rouland., now retired in Viborg.

In 1989, the property and management of Musema Hospital was taken over by the Burundi Ministry of Health. The hospital was all but destroyed during the civil war years between 1993 and 2000. The World Bank provided financial support for its renovation between 2001 and 2003. As a temporary measure, Musema Hospital has been managed since early 2005 by Médicins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) which has very recently ended its participation. The local population had great doubts that the Burundi government could or would maintain proper hospital standards. The Burundi Minister of Health has now asked the leaders of the Baptist Union of Burundi (UEBB) to assume the burden of management of Musema Hospital.

It is essential that this Hospital continue its medical services and caring ministry for the obvious reason it is one of only two hospitals in the entire Province of Kayanza, an area with a population of nearly 560,000. There are high costs involved in managing such a large hospital operation and the Burundi Baptist Union has limited resources. Danish Baptists have continued over the years to give generous support to missions endeavor in Burundi. In a cooperative effort on behalf of the Burundi Baptist Union, the Danish Baptist Union program coordinator Thomas Spanner has launched an urgent project and appeal to churches and Baptist organizations worldwide, as well as other entities, to consider lending support to the Burundi Baptist Union in its management of the Musema Hospital project. That support is expected to take the form of medical teams of volunteer doctors and nurses; financing for specific projects such as fences and security around the hospital; provision of a building to house a radiology unit; upkeep of paths and roads on the hospital grounds; and new surgery facilities and equipment. Also needed are funds for daily running expenses for a period of at least three years. The Burundi government has been asked to contribute support, though it is not all certain that such support will materialize. In the aftermath of the civil war, the nation’s resources are still decidedly inadequate and limited. The country is still in transition from civil war to peace and reconstruction.

Those concerned for this urgent need may contact Musema Hospital project coordinator Thomas Spanner, Secretary for International Missions, at Baptistkirken I Danmark, Lærdalsgade 7, st.tv., DK 2300 Copenhagen S. He may be reached via email at spanner@baptist.dk.

PRAY that the urgent appeal for support of the Burundi Baptist Union’s management of Musema Hospital will result in widespread interest and generous response in the hospital’s ministry for Christ on the part of many individual donors, churches and other Christian organizations.

PRAY for wise leadership by Danish Baptist Union's cooperative program coordinator and Secretary for International MissionsThomas Spanner in concert with the Baptist Union of Burundi’s General Secretary Isaac Bimpenda as the needs of Musema Hospital are disseminated amongst concerned believers and churches throughout the world.

PRAY that the mercy ministries of Musema Hospital will be the means of introducing the Gospel of Christ to many unreached Burundis in Kayanza Province.

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