January 19, 2019
I arrived in Bujumbura right before the new year, and the few weeks since have been filled with new beginnings for me and learning about the progress that the team has made in the past 4 months that they have been here. New businesses, new skills (driving for some of us—but not me yet!), new routines that have been established even just last week, and new developments for the kids (J is walking, C always has "something to tell you", B does swing set gymnastics with unprecedented bravery, and A is already teaching me Kirundi phrases) are representative of the growth that’s happened. We are learning and growing so much, both through formal education as well as just living here.
It seems to always take a bit of distance to see this sort of growth. I know because a few times I have heard from various teammates that sometimes it doesn’t quite seem like enough, but I can see the Lord working. I see Him working in the ways that worldviews are changing, and our hearts are being opened to Jesus’ view of the kingdom. I see it in the unbelievable love of our Burundian friends here, who in so many ways make it possible for us to live here. I see it already in how He is teaching me to love Him and my neighbors (a concept that takes on extra meaning when considering all the walls in our neighborhoods but the increased number of people in our homes).
Now it’s certainly not all perfect and there are still things that are difficult, confusing, or just plain frustrating (mostly so far that everything takes longer than my impatient heart would like). But overall, life here isn’t yet too fundamentally different than life in the States, because like Maya Angelou says, “we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike” and like Addy said the other night, “Burundi isn’t really like I expected.” So here I am, with expectations that I am trying to give to the Lord to let Him shape. My sister and brother-in-law, who were such a blessing to help me travel and transition and spend two weeks with us here, have safely returned home; maybe this week I will find the areas where I will fill my time with meaningful fruit. Or maybe (probably) it will take a little longer to find (and require additional preparation like language training). But for now, I am here; I am thankful, and the Kingdom is being made more known to us.
Note: I began to write a version of this blog post a week ago. Somehow when I read it again, everything felt radically different, and I think is a symptom of all the transition. No longer do I think that the difficulties here are small inconveniences and only related to the fact that things take a long time, and no longer do I feel unexposed to the injustices at hand. Even though I have not even scratched the surface of what is facing society here, I have heard a few stories, visited a few communities throughout the city, and firsthand felt the ways that redemption is needed so desperately here and in the world. So please pray with me that we see the Kingdom come on Earth as in Heaven.