Conference in Buseruko

Trip Start Feb 13, 2011
1
17
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Trip End Mar 14, 2011


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Where I stayed
Hotel Dolce Vita Resort

Flag of Burundi  , Bujumbura Mairie,
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Trying to figure out the omelet situation, I ordered a "vegetable omelet" this morning. It came back full of nothing but green peas. While that did technically meet the requirement for a vegetable omelet, it wasn't what I was expecting; I must be missing something here.

Nathan, Moïse, and Mr. Mundeli were at the hotel before 08:00. I asked Mr. Mundeli how the trip down to Burundi and the night had been. He told me that security had been doubled at the Rwanda-Burundi border. Because Burundi has a peace-keeping contingent in Somalia, to the north of Kenya, Muslim extremists in Somalia have threatened attacks on Burundi, just as they recently carried out a bomb attack in Uganda for the same reasons. So at the border, guards went through luggage and personal baggage twice.

We made the same halting, jolting drive north to Buseruko. As usual it took 90 minutes. And as usual there were interesting sights along the way.

On arrival we shook hands with the dozen leaders who had come from the three congregational groups here in Burundi, and went into the church building made of mud over a woven wood framework. We started our meetings at 10:00. After a hymn and a prayer, I gave a presentation of faithfulness, and how important that is for church leaders. Moïse translated phrase by phrase, with some occasional help from Mr. Mundeli and Nathan when there was a vocabulary problem. After my presentation, I took questions on what I had covered and questions in general. At 12:15 we broke for lunch. Outside under a tarp several ladies had been preparing a meal for us for several hours. It was the same menu as the day before: rice, beans, potatoes cabbage, chicken, with the addition of some tough beef as well. A meal like this is a real treat for them and I’m happy to be able to provide it for them when we meet.

We started the meetings once again at 1:00. Mr. Mundeli gave a presentation which clarified some doctrinal differences we have with Seventh Day Adventists, which is is the background of a number of people in these congregations. There were more questions and answers. I gave a final presentation on the biblical teaching about salvation and we took more questions on that topic and on the church situation as a whole. There were good questions and they appeared satisfied by the answers they received.

I had planned to leave by 15:30 to leave us a safety margin to be back in Bujumbura. The soldiers that guard the road are supposed to pull out at 18:00, but they often do so earlier. But there were so many questions that we didn’t end up leaving until 4:30. We said goodbye until tomorrow when we would be back to discuss baptism with those preparing for it, and drove back.

We passed many bicycles overloaded with pineapples. It’s the season now and men are biking into Bujumbura to sell them. A pineapple can be purchased for the equivalent of 25 US cents around Cibitoke and told for two are three times that in Bujumbura. So each pineapple can bring as much as a 50 cent profit.

On the way we tuned in the BBC world service for part of the way and to Radio France International for the other. The hot topics in Africa now are the civil war in Libya and the brewing civil war in Côte d’Ivoire. Khadafy’s Libya has been involved in most Africa countries, buying good will with oil wealth, so people are wondering how events there will affect them, and they’re also wondering what the changes occurring might mean for them. People living under autocratic governments are dreaming if revolution in their own nations.

We arrived back in Bujumbura just as the sun was setting. We parted for the evening, so I could get some office work done, and agreed to meet again tomorrow morning at 7:30.
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Comments

Judy Dane on

Our prayers for your safety are always before God. It is a rapidly changing world.

Tommie Briley on

Mr. Meeker: Very thankful for your travel blog and the information it brings of our extended family in Africa. Am praying for your continued safety and increased ease in your travels, and the safety, encouragement and strengthening of our brothers and sisters in the countries you are traveling through. Your wife is not forgotten!

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,
Thanks for the commentary and all the pictures. The increased security must make travel in Africa even more unpredictable. It's sobering to think how many people must be longing for revolution in their own countries. You must find satisfaction in being able to answer the really important questions about faith and salvation and to provide some physical food as well. The photos of loaded bicycles and studying the Bible are great.

Regards,
Mary

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