That being said, the country that seems to make the most sense for us at this point in time is Burundi. We have decided to pursue that option above all others, for several reasons. One is that, as Eric said, "they seem to have a McCropder-shaped hole there." We feel that the needs of Burundi in staffing a Christian hospital to be the primary teaching site for a Christian medical school, in one of the poorest countries in the world, fits us quite well. We would be meeting a medical need and a discipleship need at the same time, word and deed together instead of one or the other. There are many loose ends and uncertainties, and probably a lot of difficulties on this path as well, but such would be the case with any site we have looked at.
Also, what helped us make the decision was that initially there was no obvious missions agency to send us to Burundi. Almost no one is working there right now, aside from the Free Methodist church who runs the school, and we didn't feel like that would be the best fit for our group. But through a series of events, it seems that an organization called World Harvest Mission, known and recommended by our home church, is interested in partnering with us and starting a new site in Burundi with us. They are a small non-denominational organization with only a few medical missionaries so far. The ones we know are great though, and WHM's two longest serving docs are on their way to Kijabe hospital near Nairobi, to work part time and be the area field directors the rest of their time. They would be our oversight, which is exciting to us as well.
So, next steps. We're beginning the application process to WHM, although we won't know for sure if they would commit to accepting us and the work in Burundi until their board meeting in April. We won't become "official" WHM missionaries until after we attend a week-long candidate school back in the US, likely next fall. In the meantime, we hope to take another scouting trip to Burundi and take a closer look at the hospital and some opportunities there. We need your prayers now more than ever, as we seek to confirm this calling from God. Pray that the right doors will be opened and closed to us, and that our calling would either be confirmed or not. Thanks for coming along with us on the journey, and we are excited to be bringing you along.
Stay tuned for an (anticlimactic) update, part III, on some new blog features in the next week or so.