Missionary Simon Guillebaud of Great Lakes Outreach Enters Exciting New Chapter
An unmistakably original answer to a heartfelt prayer propelled Simon Guillebaud into a life of outreach and evangelism in the African state of Burundi. Inspired to 'live by faith not by fear', ignore death threats and stop 'people from dying and going to hell', Simon's 'Great Lakes Outreach' in Burundi has helped save thousands of lives.
Find out about the exciting next chapter in Simon's life.
(PICTURES: SIMON GUILLEBAUD (& IN BURUNDI) AND HIS BOOK 'MORE THAN CONQUERERS')
“I was in a business development job in Woking and praying 'God I'll do anything, go anywhere, I don't want security. I just want to be in your will'...And during my lunchtime a man tracked me down, whom I never met before and said “I believe God sent me to you, I think you should go to Burundi and be involved in outreach and evangelism.”
“I went back to work and asked for a radical sign and the next phonecall I took was from a person asking “Do you know anyone who wants to work in Burundi?” says Simon.
The year was 1988 and Burundi was in the throes of it's 13 year civil war between the Tutsi dominated army and Hutu rebels,when Simon got his sign. A war which has seen an estimated 200,000 people killed from 1993 onwards – 900 people a month were estimated killed during the first nine months of the conflict, and a conflict which has in Simon's words 'trashed the economy and country'.
A dangerous assignment, “On one occasion someone came to the house with a grenade to blow me up... but God provoked me to live by faith and not by fear. I knew the message of the gospel was urgent – people were dying and going to hell. I was willing to lay down my life if necessary.”
Twelve years on and Simon's ministry of 'proclammation' has 'seen thousands of lives saved', shared Christ in schools and colleges, educated people on the dangers of Aids – which had been spreading fast – and worked on combining income generating activities with local expertise.
“Westerners have developed business models in Africa which are not empowering but promote dependancy. My charity and mission gets behind local people. The best way to change a country is to get behind the highest calibre leaders and help them to achieve their dreams.” he says.
The ministry also offers outreach to Muslims, who officially make up one percent of the population.Now CEO for The Great Lakes Outreach, Simon who married his wife Lizzie in 2003, is now based in South Carolina, USA, networking and raising funds for the ministry.
“We need significant funds. I've written a book and made a dvd and am hoping things will take off here. I'm also preaching about radical Christian living.
“More prayers are needed for the work we do.” he explains.
'More Than Conquerers' is the book, and if Simon's 'hardcore, authentic Christian living' approach to life in Burundi, is anything to go by – it should prove inspirational and invigorating.
“If following Jesus is just about going to church on Sunday then its a pretty lame and tame experience and you end up with a domesticated view of Jesus. Stepping out of your comfort zone and getting your hands dirty gives more of a spiritual reality of Christ.”
“I hope to be part of raising up of a generation of radicals willing to lay down their lives. In Burundi, GLO is getting into every aspect of society; being the fragrance of Christ.” says Simon.
Still Burundi focussed, Simon visits the country twice a year and a Great Lakes Outreach worker called Olivia is his representative on the ground.
He has spoken at Bath's Holy Trinity Church, in Combe Down and Weston All Saints in Weston village, New Wine festival and MenUnited breakfasts. “I do like engaging with men to live by faith, engage in the battle and get their hands dirty, its bloody, its costly its real and we were made for battle.” says Simon.
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