Great Lakes Outreach (GLO) operates by equipping the best local leaders of passion, integrity, gifting and vision. We have the privilege to work with over twenty partner organisations, each with a crucial and strategic ministry, and all working for the transformation of lives and communities across Burundi. These men and women work extremely hard, with great enthusiasm and energy. Often the needs they are addressing in their respective areas are huge – far beyond what each can cover themselves, but they press on, transforming one life at a time.
The life of such an individual is tough, and so an essential weekend in the calendar is our annual partner retreat, where GLO provides a time away to invest in our leaders. The leaders from each organisation gather for a time of relaxation and renewal. This is an important part of any rhythm to avoid burnout and allow space for growth, and reaps benefits throughout the rest of the year as the organisations are energised by their leaders’ fresh vision and energy.
Yannick from Antioch Foundation reflects, “Normally a leader is a person who is lonely and faces many challenges. Seeing all those leaders together in fellowship and encouragement sessions is always something that can push the leader to achieve more.”
It also has the benefit of improving relationships between partner organisations and cultivating synergy between inspirational leaders who bring a wide variety of experiences. Onesphore Manirakiza, our Burundian national director, testifies to this saying:
“It was a great joy to see leaders from different generations travelling in the same bus, eating meals together, playing games, learning and sharing their experiences. This is something new in Burundi. I grew up as an orphan in terms of leadership because I did not have opportunities like this. We now have mature leaders who can speak the truth with love as they equip the next generations.
I heard participants saying that this is what makes GLO unique. We are not soley about activities and projects but we are about transformation and this begins with leaders themselves. I am so thankful to God for getting a chance to be a part of this movement and I am grateful to GLO and its supporters to make this possible through their prayers and funding.”
Spouses and families are also invited and it can be a special time for couples who lead busy lives. Audry Masabo of Evangelism Explosion said, “My wife came with me, and we enjoyed this retreat. It was a time of just being together and enjoying our marriage”. Martine runs Heritage TV and enjoyed the marriage seminar on Gary Chapman’s book; The 5 Love Languages: “It was very fun since I was with my (new) husband, it made us reflect on our marriage.”
An opportunity to step back from work allows headspace for reflection. Acher, founder of Green Land Alliance shared; “I’m leaving this place with a new sense of orientation more focused on certain areas than others, for more effectiveness in the field.”
As you can see from the video of the partner retreat, the weekend was a fun and encouraging time for our precious leaders. We are delighted at the benefits it has brought them, please uphold them in prayer as they return to their various organisations for the year ahead.