Preparation for Burundi, Africa

February 13, 2019

A new adventure awaits.

In the late Fall of 2019, an opportunity became available for a unique visit to Burundi, Africa and after checking my schedule, I signed up to go.

Cornerstone Community Church supports Doug and Deanna Hiebert (along with their 3 girls) as they serve in Burundi and eastern DR Congo.  Jeff Martens, the Outreach Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church, has organized a trip to visit the Hieberts in order to show support for the work being done there, to meet the people of Burundi  and to visit the new school that was recently built.

More information about the work that is being done in Burundi and the Congo can be found by visiting the church website: .

There are 6 people who will be accompanying Jeff on this epic journey: his wife Michele, Andrew Thiessen, Rachel Fast, Gisela Reimer, Matthias Boss and myself.

Burundi is a very small country having almost 1/3 of the population of Canada in a country that is half the size of Nova Scotia.  The country gained its independence in 1962  and its official languages are Kirundi (the national language ), French and English.   They have a population of 10.5 million people, of which, 85% are Hutu, 14% are Tutsi and 1% are Twa.  “One of the smallest countries in Africa, Burundi is landlocked and has an equatorial climate.  The country lies on a rolling plateau in the centre of Africa and is bordered by Rwanda to the north,  Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west.”  Lake Tanganyika, which is located along the southwest border, is the second oldest freshwater lake in the world and the second largest by volume and depth.  Lake Baikal in Siberia is the only freshwater lake that is larger and deeper than Lake Tanganyika.

We are scheduled to leave at 10 pm on Thursday, February 14 from Toronto for a 13 hr flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

From Addis Ababa we will be catching a flight to Bujumbura, the largest city in Burundi, where we will be staying for the first few days.

I will attempt to post my journal entries daily, however, there may be some delays due to internet connectivity or because I’m trying to outrun a lion while doing my best to avoid tripping over my beard.   Either way, I will do my best to keep my journal updated.

11 thoughts on “Preparation for Burundi, Africa

  1. Have a great trip Ralf Will be praying for your whole team.

    FYI I installed/moved thermostats this afternoon at the Orchard campus. Moved the west one from the hallway to the kids area. Moved and connected the east thermostat to the infant area. Noted that the west valve is not closing completely. Will need new valve. East valve has no power. Not sure when that was disconnected and where. Must be a long time. There is no 120V power to control transformer. I have adjusted the boiler winter max temp to 131F and min to 80F The max limit is set to 140F. Will see how it goes. I am trying to make it a bit cool and then up it a bit. This may be all we can do since the valves are always open.

    Again have a great trip. Will follow your blog posts

    Jim D


    1. Thanks Jim for addressing the problem so quickly. I agree with you. Let’s see how the changes you made affect the control of the temperature.

      On behalf of the team, I want to thank you for your prayers.

  2. Thank you Ralf for the geography lesson on Burundi. Helps to know and the number of travel time hours to get there.. Be safe and do not be lunch for any wild cats..
    Look forward to reading your journal and will be praying for you and the team..
    Always, Carol

      1. I greet you in the name of Jesus.
        I am Rwandan, Pastor and I am humble to inform you that I am very interested by your vision and I would like to be involved.
        May God bless you.
        Jean Baptiste

        1. Jean, You should contact Doug Hiebert in Burundi. He is the man with the vision. I don’t have his contact information, however, I can get it for you, if you want to get involved with the work in Burundi and the Congo.

  3. The Duck Dynasty fan club on Line 5 will be cheering you on! (And Keep close watch on a certain German winemaker in your midsts…rumour has it that he is carrying a beard trimmer in his suitcase…sleep with one eye open!)

  4. Safe travels to you and your companions. God watch over your every step.
    You know I’m jealous that I’m not sharing this experience.
    Kathy R

  5. Ralf so nice to see you on a trip again; our family is praying for you.
    and I will pray for you and the whole team.
    I know Doug’s parent if they are John and Carol Hiebert so say Hi to them.
    many blessings.
    Hilda T

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