Isaiah 6:8

And then I heard the voice of the Lord say, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" I spoke up. "I'll go. Send me!"

~ Isaiah 6:8



Friday, October 28, 2011


Today has been a bittersweet day. We are saying good-bye to our Burundian friends that we have been with all week. We also welcomed back the ALARM team from Gitega. It was great to see them and hear the stories of their week.

We were hosted a farewell dinner by Freddy and the team at Youth For Christ. We were greeted and entertained by the Burundi Drummers. If you've never seen them, search for them on You Tube. They are awesome!

We were then treated to a feast of rice, plantains, peas, beef, broth, fish, pineapple and bananas. We were offered coke, citron Fanta or water.

We closed in prayers for each other and lots of farewell hugs.

We ended the evening meeting as a team discussing our strategy for getting 17 team members, 25 bags and lots of souvenirs to the airport.

It's been an amazing week!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday evening

tonight, we gathered as an entire team (minus the ALARM team who is still in Gitega) to discuss our experiences this week. Here's a glimpse of what was shared:

The Video Team (now known as The Paparazzi Team): We were originally concerned what the Burundians would think about them coming in with their expensive equipment taking pictures of them. Have felt nothing but welcomed and have received great smiles and warm handshakes. We are happy to be telling the Burundians story so that others will know about them and may be willing to help.

Discovery School: The children are just adorable and we love to see them smile but there's also a sadness in them. Teachers have all seen miracles, including experiencing the war. They live in homes with dirt floors yet are so trusting in God, so full. We feel that we have nothing to give them. When you listen to them sing, see how much they love God and how authentic, natural and unpretentious they are. It's humbling to teach them when they already are so full. We feel almost envious for what they have in their spiritual lives. We know have the chance to be inspired and transformed by this experience and share it with others.

Tent Team: Going to the tents where we had to park and walk in to the villages and see where they live was truly humbling. It also made us thankful for what we have when we see how others live. Our relationship with God is so much stronger having come on this trip.

Orphan Care: We are so struck by how great the Burundians faith is in comparison to ours. Also struck by how similar we are. We have had discussions here with Burundian women similar to those with other women in the states, like raising our children, managing a household. We are much more similar than we are different.

One of the challenges we all share is how we will see things differently when we return to the US. We are called to continue our spirit of service to folks in our own country. We all want to try to be inspired and hopefully emulate the Burundians great faith, especially when they have so little and we have so much.

We are so grateful to our Burundian hosts for the hospitality, their generosity, their sharing of their faith and their value of presence. We have learned so much from our brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Morning

The teams arrived back from Gitega last night and all the teams were enjoying sharing their experiences with each other.

The Discovery School team (Bonnie, joy, Matt, Karen and Traci) had a great 2 days at Discovery School. Monday was spent touring the Primary School, the Deaf School, the clinic and the training area. They saw an 8- hour old baby at the clinic.

Each day, the Discovery School teachers start their day with a time of worship and singing in harmony and the team got to join them. All of the teachers speak English, Kirundi, Swahili and French. Tueday, the team taught 60 3- year-olds the story of David and Goliath. That night, one of the teachers hosted a dinner at their home for the team. They had cassava, goat, plantains, pasta, frieds, rice, fish, Fanta and Coke. It was a huge feast, even by American standards.

The ALARM team (Jeannette, Lacy and Courtney)are teaching 40 adults, several women with babies on their backs. The worship and singing was amazing! They are teaching the adults why and how to teach children. Monday ended with a rousing game of UNO with the video team.

The Orphan Care team (Lisa, Donna and JP) and the Tent Team (David, Heidi and Annabelle) traveled to Gitega. On the way, they stopped along with the ALARM team to visit Pastor Onesphore's tent in Muramvya. He uses this tent to serve members of the Batwa tribe, the most marginalized and ostracized of Africa. It was amazing to see all that they are doing for these people: feeding porridge once a day, a primary school for the children and a clinic was under construction. It was so special that Lacy got to meet Onesphore. Her life group sponsored this tent and they have been praying for and emailing each other for the past year.

They also visited Homes of Hope, where they have 4 homes of 8 orphans and a mom, the size of an average Burundian family. They also have a primary school, a treated water system for the community's use and a clinic in progress. The teams were able to have dinner with the children and after dinner, the children prayed for the team members. It was truly special. On Tuesday, they taught the teachers and the children. On the way back to Bujumbura, the team visited a memorial where 100 university students were murdered during the civil war.

The video team (Carl and Eric) traveled to Gitega with the ALARM, Orphan Care and Tent teams. They visited the tents in both Muramvya and Gitega, teaching with the ALARM team and Homes of Hope. They covered LOTS of ground over the past few days.

It's been an amazing 2 days! We are grateful to God for all the blessings we've experienced and to you for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Monday Morning

Another great night's sleep. Everyone is up and ready to depart for their various ministries.

Discovery School (Bonnie, Matt, Joy, Traci and Karen) left at an early 6:30am to go to Discovery School here in Bujumbura. They will be teaching and having fun with the children who attend this primary school. They will return to the hotel late this afternoon.

The ALARM Team (Jeanette, Courtney and Lacy) are leaving this morning for Gitega, where they will teach natives how to teach Sunday School. They will remain in Gitega all week and re-join the team on Friday afternoon.

The Orphan Care Exploration team (Lisa, Donna and JP) are also leaving today for Gitega, where they will visit Homes of Hope and see how they are recreating family for orphans. They will return on Tuesday.

The Tent Team (David, Heidi and Annabelle) are also going to Gitega. They will visit 2 tents that they delivered last year as well as visit Homes of Hope. They will return on Tuesday.

Our wonderful video team (Carl and Eric) are also traveling to Gitega. They will visit one of the tents and Homes of Hope on Monday and the ALARM team teachings on Tuesday. They will return Tuesday.

We most likely will not have connectivity so we may not be able to update our blog again until Tuesday evening. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers as we seek and do God's will for our Burundian brothers and sisters.


A Great Sunday!

We have had a great day today. We all experienced an amazing worship service at Life Church of Burundi in Bujumbura. It was very touching when they began singing worship songs in English, provided interpreters for us and acknowledged our visit from the stage. One of the verses read was very appropriate.n it was Hebrews 13:16: "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

After the 3-hour church service, we came back to the Hotel for lunch together. Each of the teams met this afternoon to make plans for our ministries that begin tomorrow morning. We are ending the day with a meal and a discussion about what our purpose is here and what type of impression we want to leave.

The ALARM team will leave tomorrow at 9:00 for Gitega. We will be leading a conference for church leaders on how to teach children in the church. Courtney, Lacy and Jeanette would appreciate your prayers for travel mercies, active participants,and that we will be open to God's plan for our experience. Thank you all for your support and for reading our blog! We will be out of touch until Friday. Then we will post some of our favorite memories!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday Morning

Arrived tired but in good spirits. Slept well, very well. Grateful for the opportunity to serve the beautiful people of Burundi. Thunderstorm last night. Great lightning show! We are waiting to eat our breakfast this morning: paper-thin "omelet" with bread, fruit, coffee (great coffee!) and tea. It's taken an hour for the first people to be served. Then we will spend the next 3 hours experiencing Burundi church service.

Tomorrow the Discovery School team looks forward to meeting all the children and showering them with love. Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers. 143!

Alarm team is looking forward to heading to Gitega tomorrow, about 2 hours away. Weather is a little cooler (relatively speaking). Everyone is in good health and feeling well. Hallelujah!

The Tent team looks forward to traveling to Gitega tomorrow and ministering to the children and adults at the tents.

Orphan care exploration is excited to view Homes of Hope in Gitega. They are recreating family life for children without parents: 8 children and house parents - the average size of a Burundian family.

Our video team is traveling to Gitega and looking forward to documenting our experiences and the wonderful Burundian people.

The entire Burundi team is healthy, in good spirits and incredibly grateful to be here. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.

We Have Arrived!

After 30 hours of travel and a do-over on the final landing, Team Burundi has arrived, minus 5 bags yet in good spirits. As I am typing this, we are gathered at Hotel Amahoro cafe waiting on our "beef". It may take up to an hour for the food to come, but it gives us time for fellowship and planning for tomorrow's church visits. Although we are all very tired, we are energized by the work we've been called to do here. We appreciate all of the prayers and well wishes from our family and friends.