This post is extra special. I wrote a previous looong post and i accidentally deleted it!! Sigh. I will try and remember what I wrote.
Well, welcome to my school of experience in Burundi. The past week has been emotionally, physically, and spiritually challenging, but you know what, I am ready for it!! Please join me to read my answers to the tests from the school of experience, it may not always be correct, but my teacher is Jesus. However, I want to pass first time. Instead of grace when I fail to repeat, I pray for grace to pass, putting a big smiley jewel in God’s book of Life.
The journey to Burundi was long, so also, I know that ten weeks will be long. From heathrow in London to Ethiopia, to Rwanda to Burundi, I know God ‘piloted the journey in the palm of his hands’.
As I rode from Bujumbura to Gitega, I was with zero expectations. But i knew that I wanted to achieve certain goals. The beauty of Burundi is outstanding refreshing. Banana trees, red sand, hills and valleys, its looks surreal. Its far more than a photoshopped picture. It makes me wonder, If God can make a place look so luscious and beautiful, how much more can He do with my life especially as His Son has paid for it? Time for beautification. Little did I know that this qualification started within the first week.
It has been difficult to know that my personality, my character, my confidence will be re-established on a higher plane, without the comforts of my parents, Godly friends, the legal institution, minimised racism, freedom of speech, treatment as an adult, equality and consistent health. Little did I know that even right from the airport in Bujumbura, I was stripped of my ability to stand strong in ‘me’. At this moment, I talk from factual events which led to moments of depression, loneliness, pain, sickness, shame, discrimination, misunderstanding, feeling undermined top down, clash of cultures, and wanting to run home to my well known comforts. Yes, all within seven days. Why God? ‘Because daughter, I love you, I need to strip you of self, you need to talk me alone, I have something for you.’ But God, I didn’t sign up to this. ‘Daughter, didn’t you say that you want to change into something much better, didn’t you say you don’t like your present state?’ Yes God, I want to be a real Esther. I want to possess the favour of Esther, the determination of Tamar and Ruth, the understanding of Mary, the strength of Deborah, and every characteristic of Jesus Christ.
So it is time to turn inward. Inside out girly. Baby girl, it is time to dwell in the Bible. It is time to talk to Jesus. My confidence is to be changed from earthly institutions and relationships, to eternal foundation, rooted in Christ. Just like dough, I have to go through the painful chipping of the cutter to be moulded into something beautiful that Christ can look at and be happy about to say ‘yes, that is my Bride, Esther’. I pray that when I go through the fire, I pray not to get burnt, besides God doesn’t give you more than you can bear.
So the people of Burundi. Amazing, intelligence, community like and hardworking. I will posting on my encounter with each beautiful soul. We hear about poverty,with sometimes negative representation of people as helpless. Well, I would like to give a different stance. I know that they are rich in joy and respect. I mean, the culture makes you feel involved. If there is a group of ten people talking, the eleventh person will and greet everyone individually with a handshake.
The children….they know no language barrier.
The Diocese of Gitega. Amazing. The people I have been opportune to meet, from Bishop and his wife, Pastor Tarsis, Jonas and his wife, Mogisha, Edine, Glorious, Pastor Jean and her Pastor Husband and many more have been a great blessing already. Just their presence alone reminds me of a gospel family. The work the diocese does alone makes me wonder, what servanthood have really undertaken, to reach out to the lost, least and the last. Another post on that!
So, I will encounter people who do not show that they care about my existence. What is my response?
I will encounter people who will knock my confidence? How will build them?
I will encounter situations which can make me unhappy….how can I show virtue?
I will encounter people who will not go the extra mile, will I go two for them?
How will I show God’s strength in my weakness? I will have to work out my salvation, and God works some Godly attributes into me.
Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12, 13 KJV)
Please read through with me as I pass with Grace.