Burundi is a green, fertile, hilly country in Africa. While it takes about four hours to drive from one side of the country to the other side, the hills make travel to the capital city of Bujumbura challenging for many people.
Because of this, Burundi’s first lady, Angeline Ndayishimiye, has been working to build a new hospital in the middle of the country to increase access to healthcare services for more of the people.
On Jan. 19, she welcomed a delegation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints led by Elder Matthew L. Carpenter, General Authority Seventy and Africa Central Area president.
The Church donated several pieces of medical equipment to the first lady’s foundation to help the Umugiraneza Hospital, Elder Carpenter said. The equipment includes ultrasound technology, incubators and other maternity equipment. The hospital also now has more laboratory and ophthalmological equipment after the donation.
“The Church received the request for help and supports the first lady’s vision to lift the hospital to the point where it is a state-of-the-art facility for the people who are not in the capital city of Bujumbura to come and receive needed health care,” Elder Carpenter told the Church News.
At their meeting, Ndayishimiye remarked that people should never forget where they come from, what they have become and where they are going, reported the Church’s Africa Newsroom.
“I thank the delegation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for its contribution of medical equipment to the Umugiraneza Hospital,” she said. “[You] preach the gospel of Jesus Christ by participating in good works.”
While in Burundi, Elder Carpenter also met with Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca. He was accompanied by Rwanda Kigali Mission President N. Christian Mavinga — whose mission boundaries include Burundi.
Elder Carpenter said this meeting was “superb.” The prime minister expressed his appreciation for the support from the Church in the form of humanitarian aid in the country over the past several years. They discussed potentially working together in the future through areas such as health care, food security, water and education.
For example, Burundi receives rain during nine months of the year, but it can be quite dry for the other three months. The dry months negatively impact crop yields and food availability for the population. Elder Carpenter and Ndirakobuca spoke about potential projects to improve irrigation techniques to increase the growing season.
“We also wanted to demonstrate to the government that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a long-term positive contributor to the community,” Elder Carpenter said. “We want to help relieve suffering and that’s the purpose of humanitarian aid.”
The meeting touched on the Church’s beliefs, such as the Articles of Faith. Elder Carpenter cited the twelfth article of faith, which states that Church members believe in “being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” He also presented Ndirakobuca with a Christus statue and a copy of the Book of Mormon.
“We are disciples of Jesus Christ, and we seek to go about doing good just as the Savior has done,” Elder Carpenter said. “So we try to relieve suffering and bring joy to those around us. And the Church does that in a variety of ways throughout the world.”