Sixteen-year-old Owen made a significant trip to Burundi to visit the work of GLO. We asked him to share his experiences and perspectives:
“In January of 2019 I was given a sum of money to put towards something charitable of my choice. I was struggling to decide what to do with it when I first heard Simon Guillebeud speak about his experiences of mission in Burundi. After hearing him, I really felt God speak to me in a way that I never had before and say this is where your money should go. After this, I got in contact with Simon who arranged for me to come out during the summer just passed using the money to pay for my flights.
During my trip, I spent most of my time with one of GLO’s leaders, Dieudonné who runs a church and multiple organisations, including an outreach program for street-connected children in Bujumbura called New Generation. Whilst I visited, I spent time playing football, singing and dancing with the kids. The feeling of closeness with God was evident in this place as with many places I went to, and many of the staff and some of the children really showed what it means to have God at the centre.
I also visited schools helping prepare for the new term as well as children’s homes and was able to help distribute aid. GLO did an incredible job with my programme meaning I really felt useful in the places I visited, but I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the number of things I was doing.
Something I noticed through every place I visited, whether a small village or in a city, was how welcoming people were to me which was incredibly comforting. Another profound thing that struck me was the sense of community that there seems to be all over Burundi. I feel we have lost this in the UK and can definitely learn something from them.
One thing that has changed since I returned is how comfortable I am talking about my faith. Over the last few years, I’ve been unclear about where I have been in my faith and relationship with God and being surrounded by Christians for two and a half weeks, including some amazing God-breathed people with astounding testimonies, ensured I looked at my own faith and really challenged me to work out where I stand with God. I have been able to share testimony at school and in my church, which I would never have dreamed of doing before I left.”
The GLO Burundi team loved welcoming Owen and getting to know him during his trip, and we are delighted that it has been such an enjoyable and impactful experience for him!