General Conference President Ted Wilson Pens Open Letter to Church Members in Burundi

On August 9, 2019, an open letter from General Conference President Ted Wilson was published to the Adventist News Network and East-Central Africa Division website to the church members in Burundi. The letter appears in full below:

Seventh-day Adventist World Church President Writes Letter of Encouragement to Church Members in Burundi

The following message has been sent to our faithful brothers and sisters in Burundi via the East-Central Africa Division, and a copy has been posted on the website of the East-Central Africa Division

Dear Faithful Brothers and Sisters in Burundi,

What a privilege to address you as brothers and sisters who are part of the worldwide family of Seventh-day Adventists. You are loved, appreciated, and prayed for. You are dear to our hearts and God is watching over you in a special way. We thank the Lord for His protection and care for you in spite of challenges you may face each day. I have prayed for you and so have many others. God has a plan for each of your lives as you witness for Him and Christ’s soon coming.

Thank you for demonstrating your spiritual strength and fortitude in the face of unusual circumstances. We admire you and appreciate your strong determination to stand for truth and God’s Word. Thank you for lifting up Christ in your daily living, church activities, work environment, neighborhood outreach, and family setting. As you allow the Holy Spirit to work in your lives, He will do marvelous things to show people that the love of Christ rules your life and your heart.

Claim God’s great promise in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Let 1 John 5:2-5 be a great encouragement to you in your daily lives, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world----our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

What a privilege to encourage each of you and to support the duly-appointed and official spiritual and administrative team of Pastor Lamec Barishinga, president of the Burundi Union Mission of Seventh-day Adventists, and his colleagues as they lead each of you in the evangelistic and spiritual outreach to the people of Burundi. May every church member in Burundi, every local church, every pastor, every local church elder, all local church officers, every local field administration, and every church institution take courage in all that God asks you to do in our official church structure expanding His spiritual and evangelistic work in Burundi through Total Member Involvement……everyone doing something for Jesus. Be a loving and lovable Christian in all that you do showing the power of Christ in the life to change even the most difficult situations. May the following promise from the Spirit of Prophecy found in "Testimonies for the Church," Volume 8, page 12, be of strength to each of you, “Turn to the Lord, ye prisoners of hope. Seek strength from God, the living God. Show an unwavering, humble faith in His power and His willingness to save. From Christ is flowing the living stream of salvation. He is the Fountain of life, the Source of all power. When in faith we take hold of His strength, He will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of His name.”

My dear brothers and sisters in Burundi, on behalf of your worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church family, let me send our Christian love and spiritual encouragement to you in your special work of representing Christ every day and sharing your faith in lifting up Christ, His Word, His righteousness, His sanctuary service, His saving power in the great controversy, His three angels’ messages, His health message, His last-day mission to the world including the need to plead for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit, and Christ's soon second coming. Stay strong in Christ. May He give you physical, mental, social, and spiritual strength each day as you stand for God’s truth. Jesus is coming soon!!

With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,

Ted N.C. Wilson


General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

This open letter originally appeared on the Adventist News Network.

Further Reading:

East-Central Africa Division Issues Statement on Burundi Union Mission Controversy, July 1, 2019

General Conference President Ted Wilson Pens Open Letter Alleging Religious Liberty Abuse by Burundi Government, May 14, 2019

Seventh-day Adventist Church Appeals to Burundi Government, May 17, 2019

Commentary: What Seventh-day Adventists Face in Burundi, May 17, 2019

Adventist Detainees Released from Burundi Prison, May 21, 2019

Image courtesy of ANN.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I wonder when the President will write a letter of encouragement to all women in the church around the world… :thinking: :thinking:


Should that also include the SDA church?


Not going to happen.


It seems that Elder Wilson places EGW on an equal level with Scripture promises. I wonder if EGW promises us something, God is obligated to honor that promise? Elevating EGW to a higher status then was ever intended, are we guilty of creating a Saint (except we don’t pray to her)? Or at least we are guilty of diverting attention from the life and teaching of Jesus to the life and books of EGW? I thought she was a “lesser” influence?


Almost as political as missive from certain potus to his base.
No doubt, despite the church being comprised of greater percentage men than women, Mr Wilson views the African vote base as more important in his upcoming “election”.

I’m drawn to suggest that this form of stumping is a sort of “inverse” from the usual “elect me and i promise you” variety we are accustomed to. In this case he is campaigning to make sure the hundreds of (male)GC secretaries who vote for him do not vote him OUT! Its sort of humorous, in a dark way, in that the headline here says “open letter” (about a foreclosed “election”)!

It is more than obvious that under Ted Wilson the momentum has been geared toward cultism. He has been elevating Ellen White throughout his whole tenure, apparently relying on her much more than on the Word. This is not going to end well.


Someone should write an essay that chronicles all of the inter-church lawsuits, misadventures in stewardship, fistfights among church members, and the numerous other scandals in Seventh-day Adventism on the continent of Africa that have occurred during Ted Wilson’s presidency. And that essay should be read in public during the GC Session in Indianapolis next year. The African delegates deserve to be shamed in public. And we need a GC president who is not beholden to a political base of support that is comprised of third-world criminals and grifters.


this is such a wonderful text, and i’m glad TW picked it to share in this dire situation…the government of burundi has no business picking winners and losers in our church elections…i only hope president barishinga isn’t being tortured while he’s being held in custody…

i think we tend to think of last day events only in terms of sunday laws and the mark of the beast…but there are adventists all over the world who are getting into trouble along other lines, as well…this must be a very trying time for burundi adventism…

tho some REJECT EGW
you accept it or not ?

“IT?”… As far as I know EGW was a person, a human being, not an “it”… :roll_eyes:
Please clarify your question.

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"The Church I Want to Belong to is… Terrible"

Ted Wilson should read this challenging article published in his own Adventist Review on August 5, 2019:

Those SDAs who are aware of all the facts mentioned by the author (and many more issues), and choose to stay in this church (like myself) need to re-program their concept of “membership.” Forty years ago I decided that I would be a member of a local SDA church of my choice, but would no longer have any emotional ties to the SDA system.

Some people may claim that this is not possible. Well, in my experience it’s been working pretty well so far. This because the “church of my choice” (La Sierra University) is a “possible” church. Though I realize that many SDA churches are so terrible that they become “impossible” churches; and one has to go down the road to, maybe, a Methodist or Presbyterian pr Baptist church for spiritual practice.

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I read the Review article, George. It begins and ends with the premise that the Adventist church is the center of the universe, and with God’s prophetic time clock hinging on it. IOW, the destiny of the entire world and humanity depends upon the denomination getting its act together.

What’s wrong with this picture? Oy!



Yeah Frank, we just have to be patient and wait for the cosmic change to happen. Will it happen during TW’s 3rd mandate? … :thinking:

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If I were a church administrator, I’d copy this letter and use it for all my “letters of encouragement.” It’s a real classic. Now, it reads a little like a form letter that has been adapted (minimally) to the Burundi situation. I suspect, however, it is intentionally over the top in conveying empathy, support, and the stroking of good will, to lower the heart rate and soothe the emotions. Of course, after you peel that away, you’re left with one sentence and message–you need to follow your duly appointed (elected?) leader. The glove is so beautiful, you hardly notice the hand.


Everything. All the things that were wrong from the very beginning…nothing has changed, in any meaningful way, nor will it. The dye was cast from the get-go. There is no room for backing down from the foundations/claims that were the raison d’etre for the SDA church. It is what it is, Frank.