My own thoughts and struggles.

I must admit, that I have gone from much struggle with lack of personal comforts to finally “feeling” like I can do without some of them!  That is, if everyone else around me is doing without as well!  When we are all in the same boat…it is rather comforting.  We also don’t notice so much the lack of ironed clothes…nicely blow dried hair…even the fact you have had some  rather “sweaty” nights without a fan.

Seriously, I realize I have major control issues…and now…lack of any control in my environment.  The fact I cannot travel with Ray up till now…maybe tomorrow it will be possible???  I have gone from anger, desperation (I am OUT of here) to now hopefully just waiting and resting in the fact everything is out of my control….and unless God decides to help …I will still be waiting for my documents until we leave on our plane for Canada.  Oh wait, there still is yet another document which has to be processed for me to even leave now!  imagine!

This frustration has caused me to really look more closely at what is important and what has been amazing in our time here so far.  One can think in arriving here..”right…let’s just get on with our program.”  God may be saying…your program is only YOURS and not mine!

Building relationships most often happens when we are “stuck”and can’t work out things ourselves…we need others…That is how God has designed His church.  It is in working together we see God…He dwells in the  MIDST of His people.  Whether in Canada or Africa there is no difference..we need each other.

I am amazed at the beauty around us here, the colours, sounds, the contrasts that make one sit up and notice. Listening to Ruben and Mama Beas stories of their lives and watching how people interact with one another is beautiful.

Every evening around 5:30 and 6 people are walking or biking home from their work and the streets are crowded with people stopping to talk.  They shake hands, hug and laugh together.  The smiles on their faces show they love the relating which is constant.  It is if there is always a hunger deeper than food and that is the relationships around them.

We in the west often are looking at our clocks to make sure we are on to the next appointment or meeting.  Here time is not something to be held hostage to but relating with others is the priority.

As we are nearing the end of our time here I am feeling a sadness in leaving.  I always wonder what that is…I love Canada, our family and friends but what is it that I sense here that affects me so deeply?

I leave you now wishing I could send you a huge wave of this heat, the scent of the flowers…mixed with great amounts of dust blowing everywhere.  The early to mid afternoons are quieter as people are taking a rest from the heat but soon it will be busy with many voices, bikes passing and radios blaring.

thanks for reading this.  I do hope you can catch something of our heart for Africa….especially Congo.  There is much that can be done…come and see yourselves!

 This is me…waiting!

 

 

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A Trip into Congo.

Well finally Ray made it across the border into Eastern Congo! Boss and my documents continue to be hung up in some officials office in Burundi. As frustrating as it is we can’t do anything about it.
Ray was encouraged about all the work being done on the new pieces of land near Uvira. There have been delays while sorting out documents for the land and the people who will begin work clearing it but
apparently all that is going well so we can progress further.

Discussing plans.
Discussing plans.

The village right on the border of our land is very poor. We are employing some of the people to clear land and to build a road way into the land from the main road. There will also be opportunity for some of the local population to learn some new methods of planting food crops on one part of the land.IMG_3632
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We are excited to be able to begin laying the foundation for the community training centre. The village people are pleased to have Wazungus (white people) nearby. There is a stream on our land and the village but it is very bad. Already we have people working on getting a proper line into our land and hookup for the village to use. People from the city have been dumping garbage across the road from the village and we have approached officials about sorting that out as well. We want to bless the population in the area we have our land and believe we can make a difference in their lives.

Building with living stones on Godly foundations.

As we contemplate on how we are moving forward it is clear that the vision we have is not something we have thought up but this  was spoken of many years ago by Godly men and women who had a dream from God for their country and their people.

Far be it that we from North America could understand much of the  hardships people in Africa have experienced.  There have been many men and women of faith who have cultivated and sown  seeds of faith throughout history.  We have come along in our ignorance but with love and service to walk and work alongside some wonderful people to see some of their dreams come to fruition.

During this trip to Burundi and Congo we have heard some things that were spoken in the past now coming about.  God’s word never returns to him without accomplishing what it was intended to do.

Fathers and mothers are praying their sons and daughters will walk in freedom in this land and that peace will come.

 

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IMG_3407There are half a million Congolese refugees living in neighbouring countries since 2012. We visited one refugee camp in northern Burundi which has 9,000 Congolese living in it. Some children we know have been placed back into this camp while waiting to be “processed” by UNHCR. This waiting process is taking a very long time for many of these people. One lady has been in this camp for ten years! We continue to pray for these ones that they will remain strong and sickness will be far from them.

No power, no water!

Living in the city of Bujumbura the capital city of Burundi has it’s challenges!  It is situated on Lake Tanganika, surrounded by beautiful lush green hills.  There are huge buildings going up all around the city in the hills and down near the lake and new restaurants popping up all over.  One would think all things are well here…however, things are far from well.  The infrastructure is very poor and the care for people who live here  is very bad.  Obviously there are the rich, the ones who have much but the majority of the population is suffering greatly.

Our son Boss said the other day, “I feel so sad that we have lots and all these people looking at us have nothing'”  We were taking food up to the refugee camp for some children we know who recently were moved back there and Boss said, “we should buy up all that is in the shop.” oh if that could only solve the problems!

A woman who used to work for us and help with care for Boss when he was a baby came to see us yesterday.  She had a small business in the city we had helped her establish.  The city officials closed down all these small places and they had to move.  The issue is there is no place to move to and how do they begin again.  They have to pay to set up their business and get no money back when closing them.  Talk about human rights??  You can see all the rich people going about their day and so many more people struggling to exist.  Women with dried up breasts trying to feed babies who are coughing and sick and so thin sit around looking for some help.  How can we possibly help them all???

So…we pray and do what God directs us each day focusing on the vision before us.  Each day there are so many opportunities wherever we are living…to extend love and care as we go along the way before us.

God did say we always have the poor among us and He was an example in how to be among rich and poor.

The water is off here every day.  Power was off four days, came on one night and now is off again.  When we ask someone about it they just say, it is a problem with the power company.  Everyone knows there is never any explanation or solution but we just “wait”.  Eventually maybe something will change.  In the west we have been blessed by having rights, needing answers, having more than we need daily…even in situations of poor people there is always food banks, missions for homeless and on and on.  However here…nothing but trusting God to provide..Help us Lord to trust you and to be grateful for all we have, and to know where and how to give from our supply.

In countries like Burundi and Congo, we can see why there are uprisings from anger and frustration when people are continually oppressed.

Our dear friend Ruben tells us that there is obviously much bad news but we do need to look to what is good news and report that.  It will encourage people and as we speak faith and love God’s way we will see different results.  How true.  So, we look today on what is good, lovely, of good report and we will look to what is beautiful in places where garbage is the most obvious…where poverty is all around.  Even in the midst of garbage flowers still grow.  I am reminded that in our new agriculture project in Congo they are using human and animal waste for fertilizer for the growing of the seeds…that will bring a harvest.  God IS faithful!

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God you do see each person and every situation.