Innocent was born in 1989 into a military family in Bujumbura. At the age of seven, he was sent up country to live with his grandmother. At this time he had dreams of becoming a secular singer and dancer and becoming a star.
In August 2004, his younger sister invited him to attend a conference. After hearing the gospel he received Jesus as his Lord, and his life changed instantly. He decided to join a pentecostal church and he shared his story in the local community through performing in a singing band. He also started a Christian group reaching out to schools. From 2006-2016 Innocent took part in the national outreach run by Harvest Initiatives. This led to his leading evangelism teams and through their campaigns, two churches were planted.
Innocent realised as a young man that he had a gift of healing. On one occasion, he prayed for a hunchback who had been bent over for 18 years. The man immediately straightened up, and piled him high with avocadoes in gratitude!
Another time, he was leading one of our Harvest Initiatives outreach teams, and they were taking a lunch break after the Sunday service. Two non-verbal girls asked him to pray for their healing. He left his team members eating, led the two girls into a room, and said to God: “Lord, even if I have to stay here three days, I won’t give up praying until you heal them!” Actually, within ten minutes they’d started crying audibly, and were indeed completely healed. He took them to the choir practice, and said: “Hey, I’ve got you two new choir members!” The head chorister said: “Don’t mess us around, we know those girls are mute!” Innocent turned to the girls: “Did you hear what he said? Anything you want to tell him?” They opened their mouths and started singing a worship song! Three of the choir members fell to their knees whilst others gasped and burst into tears! The two hadn’t said a word in over a decade.
However, he says it comes at a cost. He fasts two days a week, and sometimes for much longer. “It’s tiring digging deep in the Spirit and seeking God’s face, there is a real battle going on. And I come from a relatively well-off family. My Mum and sisters are fat (fat is good in the culture, not an insult at all!). I’m the skinny one. When I used to go into the bush on my evangelistic outings, I ate rubbish and had lots of stomach issues. They don’t believe in Jesus, and so don’t understand why I’m willing to suffer so much. Once they said to me, ‘You’re so skinny, we’re going to tie you up so you don’t go back upcountry!’”
Eventually, Innocent became an assistant pastor in Grace Community Church. He was very aware of what he perceived to be three fundamental problems:
● Humanity’s disconnection from God.
● Ignorance regarding the purpose of existence.
● Poverty, especially amongst street children and their parents.
In an effort to address these issues, May 2019 saw the birth of a new organisation, ‘Purpose Discovery’. Working primarily with young people, Innocent and his team hope to see lives transformed. He says, “I thank God for everything He does in me and through me.”