Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Arrival in Burundi

We are here in Burundi. It is warmer but doesn’t feel as humid. The mosquitoes aren’t as bad either. In Kilifi they were thick like back home in Iowa. They don’t hum though or else they may have drowned out the Muslim call to prayer!

It is a down day for Al and I. He doesn’t preach today after all and I am recovering. Just before boarding our plane at 11:30pm I suddenly became disoriented, sick and couldn’t walk. Al took me to the bathroom (I don’t have any recollection) to throw up and then had to get me to the gate so we could board the plane. He said I looked drunk. I threw up the whole hour plane ride and thankfully they brought a wheelchair for me to get off the plane. I was so out of it. When we got to the guest house I dropped into bed. Today I came to the conclusion that I had an attack of vertigo. I have only had it a couple of times but when I do, there is no warning. In my refection time this morning, I found solace in the truth that God is sovereign and in control of all that comes into my life; this was no exception. In conclusion I found myself saying, "Yes, Lord I still trust you to protect me, care for me and provide all I need at any given moment". I am traveling alone home on Friday. "Yes, Lord I committed to serve you not matter what the cost and the hardship. Just guide me and give me the counsel I need whatever the situation". I believe I am right where God wants me to be, sufficient with His Grace.

Yesterday was hard to say good-bye. I just love those men and their wives. They love us too. There was an question and answer time with the team and they said it could have gone on all day. They have many thoughtful questions to ask. It is evident that after 3 years of training, the Word has fallen on fertile soil and it is flourishing well. It proves that God’s imparting of knowledge is not always by the usual ways. Having a teachable mind along with the discipline to think carefully about the truth has great rewards. So we are convinced, though we are only with a group of men and women for a week, it is worthwhile. In this intense time lots of things happen. We have appreciation for one another though we come from different cultures; we see the body of Christ functioning well together and personal ministry during breaks and meals. The one piece I hope we can pray about is how we can involve them more in ministering to us. They too have a knowledge of Christ in ways we don’t and it would be good for us to learn from them as well.

Probably the most significant relationship I have been able to forge is with Josephine. She is quiet and calm, in her 30’s, and fluent in English. When she speaks wisdom flows. Yesterday I pulled her out of the men’s session so we could visit. I wanted to hear more of her story. I first asked her how she met her husband who is not a believer. She told me when she took the exams to complete her high school diploma her scores were so high that they accused her of cheating and wouldn’t give her the diploma. Her parents were very poor and couldn’t pay for another year. She said she cried and cried. Another boy comforted her, he was the only one who did so, and eventually they married. Then the Lord came into her life. She has 6 children and started teaching them herself. Soon neighborhood children began to join her. She said this year she has 52 children and two other teachers. She charges for the school now which pays for her teachers and feeds her family. Her school is gaining a reputation for being the best around. The Muslims are sending their children to her and approached her about teaching Islam instead of Christianity. She said no and was firm but kind. They are still sending their children. Then the chief approached her and said she is exercising too much authority, more than the men. However, He too seems to be satisfied with her quiet and gentle ways. She told me her teachers and rent are paid on time, which is a big witness. The witch doctors have placed curses on her children and her. She said she just prayed to the Lord that he would not let them succeed or else it will bring shame to His name. So far so good. Recently, she was bitten by a black snake while going to the bathroom in the night and became very ill. She had to travel 6 hrs to receive health care. The snakes are everywhere so this is a part of life. She has tried to go back to school, but she has a black mark on her record and they want her to pay money she doesn’t have to get that diploma. I sure hope I was able to encourage her to just press ahead walking through the doors God has opened rather than spending so much time pressing a door that won’t open. God has His plan for her and is already blessing the works of her hands. I gave her my supplies of crayons, pencils, and the origami book I brought. She was happy. Next year I would like to bring early readers for her students.

Thanks so much for the comments on our blog. I wish I could figure out how to respond. Tim, it was good to hear from you, it has been a long time.

With more joy,

Al and Edie

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You are such an encouragement to me. It is so lovely, the way you press on serving. Your love for God is so apparent. Thank you for sharing and for being such a good example of continuing the work, no matter what!