A service in Mugina

Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
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Trip End Apr 29, 2012


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Where I stayed

Flag of Burundi  , Cibitoke,
Saturday, April 21, 2012

I checked out of my room this morning and moved my bags into Jim Franks' room. Since I should be heading to the airport late tonight, there was no need to keep mine an extra day.

Mo´se and Nathan were at the hotel to pick us up for the ride back up to BusÚruko in Mugina for services. Nothing more than usually out-of-the-ordinary occurred on the trip north. We arrived at 09:15 and saw the space under the tarps was full of people waiting for us to arrive. As soon as we got out of the car, a song leader had the whole group start singing hymns – old favorites that we recognized immediately.

We were ushered to seats in the front of the hall, and services began right away. After three hymns and an opening prayer, Nathan Mokeshimana introduced us and gave each of us the opportunity to make a few comments of greeting to the gathering, a custom in this part of the world for esteemed guests.

There were several hymns of special music performed by two different chorales. Three congregations had gathered for this occasion so there were several chorales present. After the special music we had announcements and another congregational hymn and then Jim Franks gave the sermon on the topic of God's calling. Mo´se translated directly from English into Kirundi, but since his English isn’t as good as his French, he would occasionally ask for the translation into French first so he could be sure to render things correctly in Kirundi. Those present paid careful attention and followed in their Bibles as this important topic was covered.

After the closing hymn and prayer, we asked to remain seated because a children’s choir had prepared two songs that didn’t quite fit in services and no one wanted them to be disappointed.

Then we moved to a good spot for group photos to immortalize this happy occasion. I plan to have several large prints made that can be framed and placed in each church building. We greeted people for several minutes and talked with those who could speak a little French (not too many) or English (practically no one).

By this time it was lunch time, so the deacons began dividing the 200+ people into shifts by congregation so they could have the meal we were able to provide for them for about a dollar each: rice, beans, greens, plantain, and a soda.

While that was going on Nathan invited us to his house a short distance away. The house is thirty years old, made of sun-dried mud brick that must be "re-mudded" from time to time to keep it together. Mrs. Mokeshimana has prepared lunch for us, the same as what everyone else was eating with the addition of some chicken which is rarer and more expensive than beef in much of Africa. Mr. Franks was able to ask some questions to Nathan, who brought out some documentation that retraced his spiritual journey to our present association. It was quite an interesting story.

After lunch, Nathan and Mo´se had to sort out a budget problem. We had provided the funds to cover the budget they proposed for our time here, but someone had forgotten to include return bush-taxi fare for those who would have difficulty walking. It was only about $20 more which I was happy to supply. While the leaders were agreeing on how to deal with this situation, Mrs. Mokeshimana showed us the new fired-clay-brick house they have started constructing on the next lot over. If and when they can get it done, it will be a clear improvement over what they currently have.

After we wrapped this all up, we began preparing for the trip back to Bujumbura, which passed without special incident. We were tired when we arrived in mid-afternoon though. The constant swerving, the starting and urgent stopping, the heat that keeps us moist during the travel and the warm air blowing in through the open windows all create fatigue.

Having arrived at the hotel we asked Nathan and Mo´se to have rest as we would also do, and then come back at 6:00 pm when we would share a last meal and take care of accounting and bookkeeping for our stay and for the needs of the church in Burundi.

It’s been a very busy time here in Burundi. The Church members here are thrilled to have received a visit from our Church president. Several stated that this visit has helped them to be sure they’re part of a larger spiritual body together with others they have not yet met.

I should be heading to the airport later tonight about 23:00. Everyone agrees the security situation has much improved to the point where a late-night run to the airport no longer presents any concerns. Mr. Franks should leave Burundi Monday morning early to begin his trip back home via South Africa. I’ve traveled with him before and had no doubts, but I would still like to offer my sincere thanks to him for adding Rwanda and Burundi to his schedule and for the sincere and warm brotherhood he showed while traveling here.

If all goes as planned I’ll post a blog from Nairobi tomorrow.
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Comments

Tommie Briley on

I know how disconnected some of our scattered brethren must feel. My prayer and hope is that they will continue to be reassured and remember that they are indeed part of a larger spiritual body, and that we are always eager to see their faces, learn their names and have a glimpse into their lives so that we, too, can feel a part with them.

Tess Washington on

It is so heartwarming to see and read about our brethrens faithfulness and eagerness to be a part of the Church of God! We will continue to pray for our African brethrens! We are grateful and appreciative of these travel blogs...

res valencia on

Thanks, Mr Meeker for sharing your trips and the brethren. Originally coming from a third world country, I can appreciate and relate with the "challenges" of the place. It is wonderful to see the happy smiling brethren and very much appreciate your part in making it possible.

Carol Froedge on

Each day I get on line and eagerly check your blog... Thank you so much for sharing pictures and details about the brethren in Africa! There is a deeper connection when you see their faces and hear their life stories! May God continue to be with you....thanks again for taking time to share with us; it is deeply appreciated!

maryhendren
maryhendren on

Hi Joel,

Thanks for the wonderful photos--a large crowd of 200! How encouraging for everyone. It will be a trip long remembered with joy.

Regards,
Mary

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