We've all been reeling since approximately 7:20 pm on Saturday, February 22nd. It's a bit hard to share on the blog, but we're sharing it here so that you can pray for us. So that you can bear our burdens with us.
On Saturday evening, the Watts family (minus Jonah and Matea who are at school in Kenya) were having dinner with Kayla and a visiting nurse Julie who is a missionary in Rwanda. Four armed men broke into their house with the intent of stealing a bunch of money that they mistakenly thought was somewhere in the house. All the adults except George were tied up. George got beaten up quite significantly, stabbed in the thigh, and choked for information as he was forced through different rooms of the house in a search for more money that wasn't there.
Through the courageous intervention of a Burundian friend in charge of security, the perpetrators fled with whatever valuables they had found, dropping most of them on the way. A pursuit of the perpetrators (by Burundian members of the hospital and surrounding community) followed, resulting in the immediate arrest of some, and the continued pursuit of others. The rest of our team and other Burundian friends who live in the same area had been informed over text immediately and had sheltered inside our homes until the danger was confirmed to have passed.
The Watts family is now in Kenya receiving some needed support and counseling, as well as being with Jonah and Matea. George's physical wounds are healing well. Kayla similarly spent some time in Kenya but has now returned.
As the immediate events have unfolded, we have been greatly encouraged as a team by the outpouring of support from our local community here at Kibuye, up through every level of leadership to the national level. Additionally, all the resources of Serge were quickly and thoroughly mobilized to care for us all during these events. So many people have given of their time and effort to demonstrate their solidarity with us and the work of Kibuye Hope Hospital. We are also involved with a number of leadership levels to redesign our security systems so as to prevent such an episode from ever being attempted again.
We're still reeling in many ways. Our daily lives go on, but it was one of those events that changes the flavor of all that comes afterwards. Both our hearts inside us as well as the world around us are quite dynamic right now, and we're wondering where we'll land.
There is a sense of feeling violated, and wondering why God allowed this to happen. There is a simultaneous, intense gratitude for the many ways that we were spared from it being so much worse. It's truly a strange mix of emotions.
I once heard that we are all looking for people that have scars in the places where we have wounds. This is true on many levels, and it's part of the reason that our friend Steve, who flew from the States to work with the Watts family and Kayla in Kenya, is such an amazing trauma counselor. But this fact is never more true than when we look at Jesus. Our Lord has suffered. His scars, persistent in his glorified resurrection body, testify of promised healing. We look to him.
As Kayla wrote afterwards: "In moments when my faith feels weak, I am thankful the object of my faith is not weak. And in the moments that I don't understand, I am learning to trust His sovereignty."
Please do pray with us.