The time is finally here. Almost three years to the day after we first visited Burundi, we will return. It is a different country now; we are different people. Our team has grown from 11 to 17, we have crossed oceans, we have floundered through French, we have grown from trials and joys. I feel like I have spent the last three years of my life telling people about Burundi--from where this tiny country is located to what kind of vision we have for the hospital. When we get there...I think this is how it will be...I would expect that...I have no idea. That can change now. We can start to know instead of guess, experience instead of infer. And it's simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. I am realizing that I have very little idea of what awaits us.
I can't help but think about Joshua during this time. What must he have been feeling the night before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land? Was he excited? Scared? Doubtful? Wondering if 40 years of wandering in the desert could possibly have been worth it? Remember, Joshua had been there before, too. Had 40 years changed the Promised Land? For the better? After all the preparations and all the "hype," all the witnessing to the Israelites about their calling...it came down to this. What if it didn't meet expectations? What if their enemies defeated them? What if the Israelites disobeyed again and God turned them back around for another 40 year march through desolate places?
God knew Joshua's heart. God knows our hearts. And so He lovingly, gently, affirms once more.
"Into the land that I am giving you."
"I will not leave you or forsake you."
"Be strong and courageous."
"The Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Our team is crossing our own Jordan this week...because Burundi is our promised land, the land that we are clear beyond a doubt that He has called us to. And in the end, that's what matters. We will face challenges that we expected, and we will face totally unanticipated challenges. It will not meet our expectations. It will be harder than we thought it would be. But it will be better, too, because this is the land and the life to which we have been called. It is new and unexpected, but God goes before us. And may we rejoice once more at His faithfulness, His calling, His love for us and for the people of Burundi.
Pray for us.
"...so that all peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever." --Joshua 4:24