From a young age, Ephraim has known God’s calling on his life. As a child he became very unwell. It was 1986, and he needed a prolonged stay in hospital. Fearing for Ephraim’s life, his father offered him back up to God.
Nine years later, his Dad explained to Ephraim what happened: “Listen, my child. When you were very ill, I withdrew to pray behind your room in the hospital and promised your Creator this: ‘If you heal him, I will dedicate him to you so that he may serve you as you want’. Ephraim, you are no longer my son, you are in the hands of the Lord, He knows who you will be and where you will go.” Ephraim’s response was, “I am so happy I belong to God.”
By 1995, Ephraim was living in the Congo where he had sought refuge. Civil war in Burundi had driven him far from home, family and friends. Whilst he was there, God told him clearly that it was time to return to his country and to spread the word of God. On his journey home, Ephraim was captured by rebels. Things quickly escalated. He was brutally beaten to the ground, the rebels stomped on him from head to toe. He was bleeding from his ears and nose. They tried to hang him but weren’t successful; then they threw him in a toilet. The attack continued, and the rebels held his arms in the air whilst a few of them jumped on his torso, their boots smashing his body. His face was swollen and bleeding but Ephraim echoed the martyred Apostle Stephen in praying, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what
they’re doing!” When the Captain said, “Kill him, shoot!” Ephraim declared confidently, “You cannot kill me because I am called by God to serve my country, to preach the good news to the whole of Burundi, and even beyond Burundi.”*
Eventually they left him for dead…
…but he survived the attack. And for the last two decades he has indeed travelled all over Burundi and beyond, preaching forgiveness and love for all.
Currently Ephraim leads an organisation called ‘Together for Development – Birashoboka’. They work with the most vulnerable members of the community: men and women suffering with HIV, prostitutes, orphans and widows. The focus is upon providing the vulnerable with an independent and sustainable future, through microfinance loans and sewing machines, for example.
Most importantly they learn that despite their lives being incredibly tough, they are precious and loved by God. GLO Founder Simon Guillebaud writes: “I’ve known Ephraim for more than twenty years, and I’d put him in the top 100 Christians in the history of Burundi in terms of evangelising to the four corners of the nation. He is relentless, compassionate, and gentle. I love him to bits!”
*‘More Than Conquerors – Ephraim’