Youth in the Heart of Africa

Arthur Manirambona

Concern for the young people and future of Burundi is what drives one young man, a World Challenge scholarship student at Summit.

I am from Bujumbura, the capital city* of Burundi in East Africa.

Raised in a non-Christian family, I started drinking when I was 6 years old. It’s not uncommon for people to start drinking at an early age with the traditions in our community.

Later, I started going to clubs when I was about 12 years old. I used to sneak out of my house late at night. The men at the club didn’t care about my age as long as I could pay. Especially on Friday night, I would go out with friends and buy drinks.

In high school, one of my friends told me the gospel then invited me to a movie night at church because he knew that I’m a fan of movies. Through that movie and my friend, I got saved.

Youth for Christ

I started becoming more involved in my church, leading a small group of young people. Maybe because of how God reached me, I love youth ministry.

Six years later, I became a worship leader and started leading the youth ministry.

Now in Burundi, going to university is very expensive, and I could not afford it. Two years after high school, however, I got the opportunity to serve Youth for Christ for 3 years. Through them, I was able to study theology in Kenya for a year.

My father was not too happy when he heard about it. “I have been paying for school from primary to high school, and then you go read Bible studies? It’s insane!”

Since my family is poor, I was expected to become an engineer so I could take care of them.

However, I felt God wanted me to minister to young people, and I didn’t want to pass by God’s purpose.

A Sojourn in America

It was actually through the Youth for Christ leader and my mentor, Freddy, that I came to know about Summit.

He knew that I had spent 7 years without going to college and that this had wounded me. He told me about the Summit International School of Ministry, and I was able to get the World Challenge scholarship.

In this way, God opened a door for me to come to America.

I am learning as much as I can at Summit so I can take it back to my community. There are so many things God has put on my heart for my country.

We need revival in our churches. In Burundi churches, they train people in the spiritual dimension but often forget the physical dimension. There you find people who are spiritual mature but physically in very poor condition.

We also need godly leaders who are ready to serve others.

I believe God will use young people to build up our nation which has been broken by hatred and division. I think he wants me to go back to Burundi to empower young people to live for God and become leaders who are ready to serve our nation. 

Planning Prayerfully

Personally, I need prayer because when I go back to Burundi and my community, I want God to use me in his way, not my way.

One of the ways I feel we can change possibilities for young people is through education.

Yes, there are schools in Burundi. They are beautiful, but the poor people can’t afford them. This isn’t good because I believe Christian education through the Bible can transform our young people and then transform our nation.

With this, though, I want to be careful. We sometimes have thoughts from God, but we are missing points. I don’t want to miss any points.

Please pray for me, that I will hear God speak, and I believe he will do the impossible.

*Editor's Note: Burundi’s capital was moved to Gitega, the home of Burundi’s last king, by parliamentary vote the week before this interview. Since internet access is restricted at Summit, this news had not reached them yet.