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Burundi Mission Report from Ed and Donna

Can you imagine….

  • … being in a church service for three hours and wishing it would last longer, even though you don’t understand a word of the sermon or songs?
  • … standing in a small building (not bigger than a living room) where 150 high school kids were intentionally trapped and burned to death?
  • … riding through a hilly, country-side, rural and remote, and everywhere you look people are working in the fields?
  • … being married 25 years and still having children?
  • … knowing the date of your wedding but not knowing how many years you have been married?
  • … pastoring a church even though you didn’t have enough training to even know how to articulate the gospel?
  • … teaching on the biblical role of a wife to a group who believed that women should share equally in working to provide for the family and simultaneously take care of their 8-12 children?

We experienced or ministered to people who fit the description of the above!

Your prayers were answered as we taught and ministered in Burundi. From a logistics perspective, every flight (11 total) went well, was on time, and brought all of our luggage. We did not have to pay any extra for bags or weight, although we had more than is normally allowed in flying between African countries and we were overweight more than once. Our food was better than we have ever eaten in Africa; Burundi was definitely one of the most beautiful countries we have seen. Our lodging had a shower, hot water, and a good toilet (our criteria for adequate lodging).

Your prayers were answered during the conference. The group in Gitega, Burundi, needed the training more than anywhere we have ever been. During our interaction, as we taught and as we asked them to look up Scriptures, we could tell immediately that they did not have as much Bible knowledge as the places we have been previously. We knew that many of them had only rudimentary ability to know how to express the basics of the Christian faith. The lack of knowledge and training coupled with a strong Catholic influence and cultural beliefs meant many of our teachings were new and/or unfamiliar to them. For others, the teachings were familiar but the application conflicted with their traditional, family patterns.

Thank you for being a part of sending us to a place that had such a great need. We have some of our more personal thoughts, observations, and pictures on our blog, www.livingwellokc.blogspot.com.

The only negative of the trip was that I (Donna) got malaria. There is not a vaccination for malaria; I was taking medicine to help prevent it, but the medicine is not 100% effective. I didn’t get sick until after the conference was over, but I was probably infected our first day in Burundi. We arrived in Bujumbura, Burundi, 41 hours after leaving Oklahoma City. We stayed there about 24 hours before driving to Gitega where we taught. Bujumbura is at a lower altitude, with a large body of water next to it, and more mosquitoes than the Gitega area.

God showed His grace, even in the malaria:

  1. I didn’t get sick until after the conference;
  2. The place where we were staying at the time had a resident medical assistant;
  3. He gave me some great medicine (state-of-the-art, not even approved in U.S. yet, according to an infectious disease doctor here); and
  4. I was better in just a few hours after taking the medicine and was able to make the long trip back to the U.S. two days later.

How do you feel with malaria? You feel as if you have a terrible, stomach flu. Do I ever want to get it again? No! Will the experience keep me from going back? Not if the Lord leads us to go! I can hardly think of it as suffering as I think about the adversity that the Afri-cans face every day.

Thanks again for your prayers and support.

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