Dear Seventh-day Adventist brothers and sisters in Burundi,
Greetings to you in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The videos and images of suffering Seventh-day Adventists victims of police brutality, which circulate in social media for all to see, have touched our hearts. We are aware of the intimidation, the persecution, the imprisonment of members, and the abuses and violence you are enduring. All this has become well documented. These difficulties also testify of your faithfulness to God and to his legitimate church in Burundi. The horrible sight of a woman dragged and beaten on the floor of a church has stirred indignation. Human beings created in the image of God and loyal citizens of the country of Burundi should never be treated as you have been which is now displayed on social media. This is certainly beneath the dignity of individuals created in the image of God.
We would like to wholeheartedly assure you of our prayers, our solidarity, and our support. During our recent Annual Council of the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held in Silver Spring, Maryland, at the world church headquarters, church leaders coming from many countries around the globe prayed for Pastor Lamec Barishinga, president of the Burundi Union of Seventh-day Adventists, and for the team of legitimate leaders and members of the church of Burundi entrusted to Pastor Barishinga’s care and spiritual leadership.
We now better understand what you are going through. As Jesus, our Lord, told us to do, we also want to encourage you to remain faithful to God and to his church. Jesus has promised, “…I am with you always…” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus also told his church in Smyrna, “I know your works, tribulation…” (Rev. 2:9)