Newsletter: Another Successful Trip

I was pleased to return to Burundi and be there for almost all of January.  Because I am a visiting professor, Hope Africa University puts me up in a section of the dormitory building.  In the Bujumbura city area, the weather is hot and muggy but it is a great relief from the North American winters (I missed most of the really cold temperatures but in another way of speaking, I didn’t really miss the cold at all).

This year I shared Hope Africa University with the Vibberts (Wayne and Barb are so good to me and the other visitors), Barb Rose (she is good company and so good at this work), Beth Habecker,  Steve Delamarter and Darlene and Wayne McCown.  During this visit, the Vibberts took some of us upcountry.  Among other stops, we went to Karero Waterfalls.

I was invited to a Burundian wedding reception and I attended the reception with a group of medical students.  I met with development representatives for the Mennonite Central Committee and the Lutheran World Federation.  I met with some of my Burundian contacts and one of them, Wenceslas Nahimana, Deputy Director of the National School of Administration, organized meetings for me with two Burundian Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).  La Charite Buconyori took me to the Ministry of the Interior to find out about the most recent national census.  I love to learn more about Burundi and how it works.

When I arrived in Burundi, I was surprised but delighted to learn that Dr. Betty Overton-Adkins, Provost of Spring Arbor University, would be coming to Hope Africa University.  With Carla Koontz’s kind assistance, I have been following the development of Spring Arbor University’s Global Strategy and their new Center for Global Studies and Initiatives.  I have been hoping that a partnership will be developed between the two universities.  Although she arrived later than planned, it was a pleasure to meet Dr. Betty and hear her enthusiasm for linking with Africa and Hope Africa University.  I understand that a related brainstorming session on partnering will be held on February 28th.

Community Needs Assessment Course

I taught my Community Needs Assessment course again; full morning classes for three weeks.  This time I had 19 students, all social work students.  Having taught the course last year, it was a lot easier on the visiting professor this time.

There are some communication challenges because of the language (English only) and a bit because of culture.  I enjoy teaching the course and I enjoy the students.  I think the students learn and I know that I do.

J.W. Haley’s Unpublished Manuscript

During my visit to Hope Africa University, the Rector, Bishop Elie Buconyori, agreed to participate in the book project.  With help from Doris Withenshaw, Historian of the Historical Centre at Maple Grove Christian Retreat Centre, I found an unpublished manuscript that John Wesley Haley, my grandfather, was writing at the time of his death.  The manuscript is about building the indigenous church; a church that is self-supporting, self-propagating and self-governing.

I have received encouragement to try to have the manuscript published from a number of people, including Howard Snyder.  There are two publishers interested in publishing the book. I am very pleased that Bishop Gerald Bates, Bishop Elie Buconyori and Rev. Dan Sheffield have agreed to join me in developing a book that will highlight J.W. Haley’s manuscript on building the indigenous church.  Thanks to a special fund-raising effort led by Rev. Burton Hamilton, the “Hamilton Family” has raised sufficient funds to support a Research Assistant to help Bishop Buconyori with his part of the book.

Working Title: Principled Development and Self-Determination: The Building of an Indigenous Church
Featuring the work of John Wesley Haley, first Free Methodist Church missionary to Burundi and Central Africa

Part 1: The Life and Work of J.W. Haley, Bishop Gerald Bates
A significant biographical piece on J.W. Haley’s life and work by Haley’s biographer and former missionary to Central Africa; Bishop Gerald Bates, President of Friends of Hope Africa University.

Part 2: Building an Indigenous Church, Rev. John Wesley Haley (edited by Dr. John McCready)
A slightly edited version of Rev. J.W. Haley’s manuscript on building the indigenous church, edited by a very interested grandson; Dr. John McCready, Founder of the Haley McCready Outreach and Development Fund and Community Developer, Researcher and Sole Proprietor, Healthy Horizons Consulting.

Part 3: The Legacy of the Indigenous Church in Burundi and Central Africa, Bishop Elie Buconyori
A status report on the indigenous church in Burundi (and Central Africa) by a current indigenous leader and educator; Bishop Elie Buconyori, Bishop of the Burundi Free Methodist Church and Rector of Hope Africa University.

Part 4: The Relevance of the Indigenous Model, Rev. Dan Sheffield
A review of the biblical church planting model and indigenous missionary church building model in the Haley manuscript, its significance and its global relevance yesterday and today by a well-known Canadian leader, scholar and author; Rev. Dan Sheffield, Director of Global and Intercultural Ministries, Free Methodist Church in Canada.

We’ve Got Game!

It took some organizing ahead of time.  We needed to find a basketball court and get permission to use it.  We found a good court at the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture in downtown Bujumbura.  The man in charge said we could use the court but we would need to schedule our court time around the practice sessions of the national basketball team.  We certainly didn’t mind using the same court that is used for the national team’s practices.

With a late start on a Saturday afternoon, it took a couple of cabs but we got to the court anxious to play.  There were ten of us; nine students, one visiting professor (clearly the oldest) and just enough for three teams for three-on-three and a dedicated cameraman.  We played for about two hours in the heat and humidity.   All the games were quite competitive but I doubt if anyone remembers who won, who scored, who missed an easy shot or who broke the defense down or who let the defense down.  We had a lot of fun, nobody got hurt and nobody died.