When my Mum was visiting recently from South Africa, she noticed that we have a guava tree. Neither of us were sure what time of year the fruit would grow; as the seasons here are so indistinct. I recently peered closely at the tree and saw this baby guava. Yum. The taste of my Grandmere’s home made guava jelly filled my mind.
It is January 2018. Five months into our life in Burundi. Daily life here is definitely different! Our children have been unhappy at the school here and so we have begun the Peake Valley Academy….or did they choose Peake Preparatory?! Either way, I am now a home-school Mom! My Texas friends will tell you how shocking that is because I really value the traditional school system. I am putting together curriculum – with the input, encouragement and advice from loving friends and family. The result so far: happy kids, peaceful Mom. Ministry can wait….
WARNING! Shocking comment: a close friend of mine recently quoted someone saying -“Never sacrifice your children on the alter of missions”. She relayed a story to me about a missionary family who had lived and served in Papua New Guinea. They were determined to put their children in the local school and were convinced that God would take care of them. They later discovered that all of their children had been sexually abused at that school. That is an extreme example – but a stark reminder to use our brains when making decisions rather than becoming overly spiritual. Although I absolutely believe in God’s protection, I also believe, that He requires us to think, seek advice, pray for wisdom and employ logic.
Romance versus reality….
Sometimes we imagine far away places; we imagine living there – really living there! We imagine life in all its fullness; connecting with people, nature and purpose. Victoria is 6 years old and she has been enjoying the story of Heidi for a few years now – the TV show as well as the book. I have to admit, I am totally drawn to Heidi’s life! Snuggle up on a straw bed, drink fresh goats milk, wake up to and frolic in the majestic mountains… But… hold on, wouldn’t the straw be itchy and sometimes poke my skin, what if the goat became sick and I was without that fresh deliciousness for a few weeks and what about when the alps are bone cold and Grandpa is weak and I am missing my old life?
Living in far away lands has both romance and reality! Burundi is nestled between vast, incredibly majestic hills and mountains. The scenery can take your breath away. Lake Tanganyika is so huge, you can drive down along it’s western shoreline for around 6 hours! The people of Burundi are sort of locked in history as development is so stagnated. The people have an old-fashioned innocence and simplicity that post-modernity yearns for. Life is slower and here, one can breathe again. The trees and flowers are lush and gorgeous. It feels as if this land was created solely for Burundians. Their own beauty seems to fit so perfectly here with their surroundings. Burundians are exquisitely beautiful. Their skin handles the heat, their lean muscle handles the strain of Third World life. Muzungus appear awkwardly out of place here! It feels like an honor to live here and to taste this part of the world.
Is it worth my time to write about reality?! Nah….. let’s just say, you know – spoilt First Worlders have a hard time with broken messy systems! Let’s just say that there are many opportunities to learn to be thankful in all circumstances, to be patient in new ways, to be extra gracious and to know when to STOP. It is good to admit one’s weakness and neediness. We are no heroes. And as much as Christ has worked in our hearts….we are still human. No super-spiritual humans in this family. Just ordinary people, daily needing help, daily needing to repent and daily rejoicing in Christ’s goodness.
Jacob – “The Crazy Guy on a Bike”! A young man from the USA, 6ft 6….is touring the world on his bike! Burundi was his 49th country and through a series of connections, he asked if he could stay at our house for a few nights. This is one hungry young man! I think he ate 6 helpings of pasta one night! God bless you Jacob!!