Francois Kurunkunde

Francois Kurunkunde

I'll never forget the fear of death that gnawed at me every day before receiving Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.

Francois, one of six children, was born into a nominally Christian family, but he never attended church. He was just 14-years-old when civil war broke out in Burundi. He was living in a district of Bujumbura which has seen a lot of fighting and massacres.

During a bitter five years of killing and destruction, Francois expected death at any moment as he endured the countless grenades and shells that were launched into his neighborhood, both day and night. He still had vivid memories of the fear of death that gnawed away at him. He had lost all hope. With his teenage years tainted by conflict, he didn’t harbour any dreams for the future.

When he turned 18, a friend invited Francois to church. As he sat in church, he caught a glimpse of the joy of eternal life – a life so much better than his present troubles. So he decided to give his life to Christ.

After that, he experienced a radical change that affected everyone around him, starting with his mother, brothers and sisters. At this time, his high school experienced a revival that was surprising, even to staff at Scripture Union, who began to support Francois. He was expelled at one point for being too zealous in his faith. However, the parents of other pupils fought his corner, arguing with the Headmaster: “He’s telling our kids to stop stealing, cheating and sleeping around, and you’re kicking him out for that?!” The Headmaster eventually relented on the condition he only preached at the Christian Union and not everywhere the whole time!

He had the opportunity to share his testimony with many other young people at Scripture Union Bible camps. At these camps, he met Onesphore Manirakiza, founder of Harvest Initiatives. Through this contact, he got involved in their work as an evangelist, a role he held for 18 years, in which time he saw thousands come to faith, particularly through their annual summer outreach campaign. During this time, Francois and his wife, Dorine, spent three years serving a marginalized community of Batwa people in the north of Burundi, expressing the love of God in service.

In 2020, Francois started a new chapter as leader of the newly-founded Burundi Mission Alliance, a platform of churches and Christian organizations. Dorine now works as a housekeeper at Kings Conference Centre. They have six children, including two they have adopted.

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