Sometimes you encounter a photo, a quote or a song that touches your heart and inspires you. The words of a courageous leader bravely transforming the lives of Burundi’s youth are ingrained in my heart. Freddy’s vision will be remembered when I feel powerless to overcome obstacles.

Freddy is the founder and leader of a large, growing organization in Burundi. Burundi is a landlocked country bordered by Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is a beautiful country that has experienced a succession of civil wars. As founder of Burundi Youth for Christ, Freddy has committed his life to meeting the vision of his organization. Burundi Youth for Christ’s vision is, “to raise up a generation of godly leaders to transform our society.” Freddy believes that Burundi’s development is dependent on the attainment of this vision. Transforming the lives of Burundi’s youth is his passion.

“I am going to continue until I see it happen or I die”

Freddy, founder and leader of Burundi Youth for Christ

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Twenty years ago, God gave me a vision: To raise up a generation of godly leaders to transform our society and I have been working on it without any stop; and I am going to continue until I see it happen or I die. I am ready for whatever it takes. As we learned in class: “Your purpose defines your relentless drive to achieve something of value”. My vision is spelled and written everywhere in all the centers of Burundi Youth for Christ. 

I understood that the Lord has called me to take my people onto a journey in order to reach a particular goal; I am ready to take the lead: “Christian leaders are godly people of integrity and passion who take people from where they are to a place which God has envisioned the leader to take them through empowering church members to become what God has gifted them to be(Wallis R. & Collinson J.; 2018).

It is a very big dream but with the Lord’s help, I believe that we shall make it as nothing is impossible for him.

God has called me to raise up a generation of godly leaders in order to transform Burundi, I am very sure about this and everyone around me knows that.  Burundi has been so destroyed by poor leadership which has resulted in circles of civil-wars and genocides between our two major tribes like our neighboring country of Rwanda; we are the same people with the same challenges. I started Burundi Youth for Christ during the very dark years of Burundi when our two tribes were killing each other. I personally suffered so much by losing my brother who was just two years younger than me. I lost many friends. One of the saddest days of my life was the day when eight of my students were killed while they were sleeping.  

It is in this perspective that God called me to stand up and start an organization which would be a solution to the division problem between our two tribes. By God’s grace, I have been able to build five schools, two orphanages and two medical clinics, etc. where all the tribes feel welcomed. “Vision is the world’s most desperate need. There are no hopeless situations, only people who think hopelessly.”  (Winifred Newman).

Leadership always requires courage as leading people to a new place is always a challenge. This involves taking risks and failing at times, attempting what seems impossible to others and taking a stand when things get difficult. I need to plan better that I have been doing.  As Peter Drucker says: “only three things happen naturally in organizations: friction, confusion, and under performance, everything else requires leadership”. I need to continue to raise up more godly leaders.

I am ready to go as Isaiah said:”Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV).

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I know that all leaders need courage and encounter challenges as they lead. Yet, few leaders that I have served and worked with have to contend with and go to battle against the forces that Freddy has. Although I only have known Freddy for a short period of time, his resilient and relentless pursuit of transforming the lives of Burundi’s youth is commendable. 

Freddy’s words touched my heart. I felt compelled to include Freddy’s inspiring vision as another testament to the voices of African leaders activating praiseworthy and laudable servant leadership that is saving so many.