Umoja Center Association  

BURUNDI – MissionConnect has a vision for reaching the East African Community from a ministry center based in the capital of Burundi.

In the Spring of 2012, MissionConnect President, Mike Contreras, entered Burundi, Africa for the first time. While there, he successfully trained leaders in sports ministry evangelism principles and carried out an outreach camp with the 50 plus who attended. In the process of this training, Mike met with national Christian leader, Evariste Harerimana. “Eva” and Mike began to dream what it would look like if there could be training that would lead to a program of business-driven funding for local missions.

As time went on, this pair continued to train others in sports outreach throughout the EAC (East African Community). At the final training held in Gondar, Ethiopia they once again built a case for the much-needed business-as-mission (BAM) platform which could drive church planting, evangelism, and leader training efforts throughout this thirsty region.

As the global COVID-19 pandemic began to loosen its grip, hope was once again revived. Finally, Mike travelled to give his introductory training in BAM concepts in April of 2022.

As a result of this training congress, Mike along with 6 other men, successfully launched UMOJA Center Association. We are now embarked on restoring two floors of our BAM Center near Bujumbura. The center will rent space to 4-7 profit-making businesses and use the funds generated for ministry. We received our first rents in November 2022 and our first missionary funded by the center will be sent out near our one-year anniversary in April 2023!

The Umoja Center logo uses the ubiquitous cassava plant as its centerpiece. The hands show collaborative outreach and the seven leaves represent the seven nations of the East African Community.

In collaboration with our training partner, Base Ministry, we held a very successful ministry leader training in February 2023. Our hope is to begin a full-scale training ministry within UMOJA Center properties beginning by the summer of 2023.

A final piece to the proposed growth models being forwarded by UMOJA Center members is our effort to acquire a tenant-occupied commercial property that is being offered to us. We have until next year to come up with the necessary funding ($400K) as the owner wants to sell to an organization whose purpose is “making disciples of all nations.”

UMOJA Center Association