General Conference President Writes Open Letter to Church in Burundi

Editor’s Note: The following open letter from Ted N. C. Wilson, president of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, originally appeared on the Adventist News Network on September 27, 2019. It is republished below in full:

Seventh-day Adventist World Church President, Ted N.C. Wilson, encourages members in Burundi

Dear Esteemed Brothers and Sisters in Burundi,

Again, it is a privilege to share with you scriptural and Spirit of Prophecy encouragement since you are part of our world family of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Thank you for your humble, consistent, and committed approach in standing firm for God’s precious Bible truth and the worldwide administrative and ecclesiastical system of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which has the mission goal of preparing people, through the power of the Holy Spirit, for the soon return of Christ. We admire your strong stand and support for those appointed by the church as spiritual leaders which include Pastor Lamec Barishinga, president of the Burundi Union Mission, and his dedicated colleagues. I want you to know that many people are praying for you and so am I. Continue to give strong witness and outreach to others regarding Christ, His righteousness, His plan of salvation, His three angels’ messages, and His soon second coming. We praise God for the protection and sustaining power He is bestowing on you as you face various challenges. Stay strong in the Lord as you participate in Revival and Reformation, Total Member Involvement, Mission to the Cities, Comprehensive Health Ministry, and other outreach activities.

Please rely on this wonderful promise of God in II Timothy 1:7 which says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.” What wonderful victory we have in Jesus Christ. Lean on Christ and claim this marvelous biblical promise. What a privilege to allow God to work in our lives and bring hope and healing to others as we look forward to our Lord’s return.

Take courage from the following Spirit of Prophecy quotation found in Selected Messages, Book 2, pp 272-273 (in the English version) — "You may be disappointed, and your will and your way may be denied; but be assured that the Lord loves you. The furnace fire may kindle upon you, not for the purpose of destroying you, but to consume the dross, that you may come forth as gold seven times purified. Bear in mind that God will give you songs in the night. Darkness may seem to enclose you, but you are not to look at the clouds. Beyond the darkest cloud there is an ever-shining light… God has a special work for everyone to do, and each one of us may do well the work which God has assigned him. The only thing we have to fear on our part is that we shall not keep our eyes continually fixed upon Jesus, that we shall not have an eye single to the glory of God…"

Keep your eyes focused on Jesus and His plans for you in Total Member Involvement as you continue to be a committed citizen of Burundi helping to build up society by looking to Christ yourself and pointing people to Him. Until I communicate with you again, may God give you the courage and focus you each and every day as we approach Jesus soon return.

With kind Christian regards and sincerely yours,

Ted N C Wilson President General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists


Further Reading:

General Conference President Ted Wilson Pens Open Letter to Church Members in Burundi, August 13, 2019

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

Adventist Detainees Released from Burundi Prison, May 21, 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 can understand standing on God’s precious Bible truth and the power of the ecclesiastical system, but to equate the SDA administrative system at this mighty level could be just a bit of an overreach?

Nonetheless, I continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Burundi just as Pastor Ted Wilson and our leaders do.


I think I need a lot more information than has up to this point been reported - both about the situation and about the individual mentioned - to know whether or not I should be comforted or outraged by this open letter.

One news source reported: “The appointment of pastor Barishinga was a tactical move destined to cover up the embezzlement in which his wife was involved. An audit report commissioned between 2017 and 2018 shows that around BIF 200 million destined to local projects have been missing in the books. Evidence from bank accounts of Baringa’s wife show the withdrawal movements.”

What are we to believe?

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It is evident that on one side Ted Wilson is trying to imitate the epistle style of the 1st century apostles (You have 1st Wilson’s and 2nd Wilson’s letter to Burundians) and on the other side the 21st century style of writing something and telling nothing.
I am free to ask Spectrum investigative journalists to research the matter and teach us uninformed readers about the background of his letters.


Elmer it’s probably just me but Wilsons opening struck me as if he was trying to channel the Apostle Pauls opening when he would address one of the churches


Is there something that I am missing as to why Wilson felt this little country needed a pick-me-up from Pope Wilson


I missed it too. Not sure why this was sent, or reported on.

Are there votes to be had or something. This is a tiny country with only a handful of SDA’s.

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Yes. I wonder if telecommunication devices like cell-phones existed in 1st century if we’d even had Paul’s letters for posterity.

Needless to say that the open letter format seem more like a virtue signaling device (as most open letters are) as much as it is directed to anyone in particular.

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