Published November 7, 2016

Letting Go of a Broken Past to Embrace a New Future in Burundi



Reports are in from our GLS site in Burundi, Africa, where more than 1,800 leaders in this war-torn region arrived hungry to learn from the faculty at the GLS.

Painito Ambuka, regional leader in Burundi, shares with us what happened.

“We are deeply thankful to God and for your prayers for the GLS in Burundi in September. Thank you for this opportunity to develop the leaders of our country.

Political challenges and security issues did not stop the event from taking place, but did cause delays. And for security, the event was moved to a remote area in the Ngozi province. Through patience, endurance, many prayers and surrender to God’s will, the event took place, and more leaders were able to attend than we planned for.”

The Summit resonates with leaders in Burundi

Many people wonder whether or not a GLS session broadcast in the US will resonate with leaders in a different context, in a remote region of Africa. But time and time again, we discover leaders are not only relating to the content, but grasping it and applying it to their lives.

Leaders of Burundi were deeply impacted by the session “The 5 Intangibles of Leadership. “Leaders here realize they’ve developed grit because of the many difficulties they have gone through,” Painito explains. “The challenges they face, like genocide, poverty, famine and many other problems they encounter on a daily basis help them to embrace grit, which is necessary in leadership.”

The second intangible of leadership is self-awareness. “Many of them confessed that several issues they have gone through affect them unconsciously, and have caused them to have low self-esteem,” Painito says. “Some have spent most of their lives in refugee camps in foreign nations. Others testify how they led badly by venting out frustrations they obtained during their childhood. They agreed that they all had blind spots – something they never noticed before. This was a great eye-opener.

They realized their past is messing with their current decision making ability.”

Sam Adeyemi challenges leaders to consider others over themselves

“When Sam talked about crushing the power chasm, leaders realized they tend to focus more on themselves rather than helping others succeed,” Painito explains. “We have a culture where being a leader usually means the leader is superior.”

But the GLS is a paradigm shift. “The culture that has been passed down to them is oppressive, and unlike Jesus’ teaching,” Painito says. “We should focus on the success of our people. The power chasm in Burundi hinders empowerment. And when the leaders who attended realized this, they regretted, repented and promised to change their ways to close the power chasm.

A new day for leaders in Burundi

The leaders in attendance agreed to grow into great leaders, and not settle for where they are. “They committed themselves to using their past failures as an opportunity for growth instead of a source of complaining,” Painito shares.

The impact is inspiring. And it’s not just about the teaching they received. The audience at the GLS is like none other Burundi has ever seen. The audience included bishops, pastors, business leaders, government leaders, military leaders, teachers and students. The humility of everyone coming to learn together instills hope for the future of the country.

Thank you for praying for and supporting leaders in remote areas of Africa

The political crisis is creating economic hardship for many of the people in Burundi. But with your help, the local committee was able to offer the GLS to leaders for a low registration cost of $1 – $7, depending on what they were able to pay, and offered scholarships to those who were unable to pay anything.

The total cost to put on this event was $26,158, but the experience for these leaders is priceless.

Your generosity creates a ripple effect of change in the communities where leadership training is almost non-existent outside of the GLS.

To give support and encourage leaders in areas of the world like Burundi,
consider a gift to the Willow Creek Association

About the Author
Global Leadership Network

Global Leadership Network

The Global Leadership Network is a community committed to learning from each other and using our influence to accomplish God’s purposes on earth. No matter where your influence is, when you commit to grow your leadership, everyone around you wins—businesses work for good, communities are transformed and churches thrive! Both global and diverse, our network includes partners in 1,400+ cities and 135+ countries. We are committed to deliver fresh, actionable and inspiring leadership content both at The Global Leadership Summit, and year-round through our digital platforms.

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