(Feel free to scroll down to just look at pictures!)
It's my turn to write the team blog post and I thought about maybe writing about the 153 kids we saw in sickle cell clinic earlier this month or our process to revamp that clinic and make it more manageable for everyone or about other hospital-related cases, but I instead decided to focus this time on a "normal" Kibuye weekend. Ok, maybe this last weekend wasn't exactly normal, but do we really know what normal is here? I love our life, community, and beautiful surroundings in rural Burundi - and our version of "routine" - but I definitely don't struggle with boredom - always something going on! So here's a snapshot of a Kibuye weekend:
Friday at 5pm:
Nearly the whole team showed up to support Aunt Michelle (who in a prior life was a concert pianist) and her 5 piano students as they performed a piano recital. They all did such an amazing job and were well cheered and celebrated!
After dinner, the adults gathered to begin a mini-team retreat time together. This nice thing about living so close together is that the little kids go to bed and then the big kids/teens babysit so the adults can have evening meetings! Lindsay Kimball, one of the leaders from Serge's Executive Leadership Team, came to visit us in Burundi over the past week, and she was so encouraging to us all both in leading the retreat time and in meeting with everyone over meals, walks, and coffee to listen, care, and pray for us.
During the Friday evening session, we discussed Jesus feeding the 5,000 from Mark 6 from both the perspective of the disciples and the perspective of Jesus. The story begins with the disciples wanting to tell Jesus about all they had done and taught but being interrupted over and over and not even having time to eat. Jesus calls them to a desolate place by themselves to rest. But a great crowd meets them there - and Jesus has compassion on them although it seems that the disciples really just want to send them all away. And then there's the part of the story when they realize it's impossible to feed all the people and they only have 5 loaves and 2 fish and Jesus feeds everyone. "And they all ate and were satisfied."
We reflected on times when it feels like more is being asked of us than we have to give (like the busy sickle cell clinic!) and when our plans for good rhythms and rest have been interrupted. And we talked about how we often wait so long to look for Jesus' presence, care, and help, and we forget to deeply rely on him until we realize that we actually don't have the resources to do the work. We don't have any more than 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to take care of a great crowd. But Jesus longs to bring both rest and satisfaction - usually in a different way than we expect! Jesus somehow fully satisfied the deepest needs of the disciples - and the crowd - in the midst of the chaos. He compassionately showed them their desperate and needy state and then he provided.
|He even provided green grass for them to sit on - easy to imagine at the end of rainy season in Beautiful Burundi!|
We continued the retreat by moving on to the next passage in Mark 6 where Jesus walks on the water. The disciples are straining at the oars all night long - for hours and hours in the darkness. They see what they think is a ghost and they are terrified!
Logan shared a story of a time when he was walking to the hospital at night when the power was out and he forgot a flashlight - across the field in the picture above but in utter darkness. And then he heard footsteps in the night. So terrifying - until the person quietly said "Amahoro." Amahoro is a Kirundi greeting that means "peace" - similar to shalom. What a relief to hear that quiet peaceful greeting in the night! Similar to the disciples who Jesus brought peace and courage to in the night instead of straining at the oars and abject fear.
In our private devotional time, small group time, and large group time, we reflected on and discussed the applications of these passages to our lives here in Burundi. So often we feel like we are surrounded by overwhelming need - whether needs of patients, students, our families, or the community around us - and we feel like it's too much and we don't have the resources (either time, energy, or physical resources) to do it all. But we keep straining at the oars - trying harder, seeking to be more productive or efficient, hoping to help all the people and finish all the work. But Jesus reminds us that he sees us, he cares, and we desperately need him. He will ultimately satisfy our every need and calm every storm, and he cares about our hearts in the meantime - whether in the middle of the darkness alone or surrounded by crowds in a desolate place. And he also meets us in our labors in community and longs for us to remind each other to look up and see him.
I don't love seeing or remembering my own weakness, insufficiency, and incapacity to do all the things, but this retreat time was helpful for remembering that when I do see those lacks in myself, that's actually a good thing! Jesus shows me compassion and brings himself to my heart in showing me my need for him. Desperation drives prayer as Rose Marie Miller (founder of Serge with her husband Jack) likes to remind us! We would appreciate your prayers for continuing to remember these things as a team.
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Maybe we're lacking for some entertainment around here, but the construction team has been working on taking down an enormous eucalyptus tree over the last couple weeks - climbing up into the highest branches and cutting them off one by one, guiding the falling of the branches with ropes and physics - and it has been fascinating to watch the process. On Saturday it was time for the final step - bringing the remaining tree down into the garden and not into the school or houses nearby! There was definitely some drama as the tree rocked back and forth and they kept axing it at the base - towards the school and away from the school - and I wondered about my own house at one point, too! A team vehicle was used for leverage and pulling - until the rope snapped! We watched from a safe distance and cheered in three languages as the process unfolded over the course of an hour or so - better than Netflix! And in the end the entire tree came down completely with man-power - not a single chainsaw in sight!
|And then everyone wanted their picture on the conquered tree! |
|K-1st grade art class made flowers for their moms|
|Official description of the falls: "5 cascading waterfalls, a cave, an impressive biodiversity, a beautiful landscape, an arial bridge and a very welcoming population will fill you with joy." |
Thanks for sharing! Peace. Phil
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