What a difference two years makes. I stepped off the plane with two years of growth in my heart and with everything God has done in me since my last trip it might as well have been 10 years with all the fruit that has grown in that time. I sensed the same was so in their hearts. When I arrived in Burundi for the first time in 2014, seeds were planted in my heart. This year, during this trip, I had the incredible honor of being one of the sowers. Seed planting does not occupy the hands of those who easily become faint. It's a practice that strengthens both hearts and hands.
If you received our first update email, you were informed of our general itinerary. We arrived in Bujumbura with a lovely greeting from our friends from Youth For Christ. Yes, two years is a long time, too long, to be away from dear friends. But you all know, when you're with THOSE kinds of friends, time is a non factor. It's so lovely to pick right up where you had to leave. The next day we started on our way to see the babies of Homes of Hope in Gitega and also to have a few pastor's seminars, for men and women. Such hungry people. Such a rich time. When we arrived, we started off by being thoroughly inspired by the beauty of this woman's selfless testimony of Love.
To learn more about her, please click below.
But then again, there's no shortage of inspiration any where your eyes may wander in Burundi. After our 2 days of ministry in Gitega, we ventured around the mountain to Makamba. A new town for me to visit. We were primarily there to meet the new 3 new babies that lived in the newest campus of Homes of Hope. They do love visitors, but when Papa Freddy comes, there's not a face that doesn't shine with joy!
We visited a local fresh water pump that is located right next to the Homes of Hope campus.
And had some fun with a few local friends!
It was difficult to leave. We fell in love with Makamba and are sure of our return. Out next leg of the journey took us to Cibitoke. Oh Cibitoke, how we adore you!
We got to have time with the children of Homes of Hope AND local children when we hosted Sunday School. If smiles and laughter could fix this world, we would have accumulated peace for an eternity. This is never going to get old.
We spent 4 lovely days in Cibitoke. Each day filled with ministry for local pastors, their wives and local women, children and God never leaves us out either. Oh, how our hearts our blessed as we speak, interact and become closer to our friends in Cibitoke. I think it paints a pretty strong picture of what heaven is like. After our 4 days of visiting, with tears in our eyes and a longing to return already pounding in our hearts, we hugged and kissed and said we will see you again soon. We will never say goodbye.
As we made our way back to Buj City, we were weary but not joyless. Our hands and feet were marked with rich soil. We had been planting, sowing, giving, loving, but God in His goodness and faithfulness kept a pouring of confident hope in our hearts. A hope that what He plants can never be plucked. What He loves will never be unloved, and what deeds and hearts belong to Him will never see the turning of His face. These fruits are eternal in their nature. And they are full of more seeds that contain even more truth and grace from the Father. Nothing can stop His works.
We spent a few more days with our friends from Youth for Christ. We ministered and visited a church service. Our hearts could not have been any more full with gratitude. And now home was on the horizon. Sunday after church, we flew towards home.
To pursue a lifetime of planting seeds wherever the Lord may call.....and I will always hope He calls me to Burundi. Each of your prayers for their land and people is worth more than the riches of this world. You will see the fruit of them one day, here....or home.