I am currently listening to the loudest thunder storm I have ever heard in my entire life. Lightning seriously just struck within a hundred feet of the building I am in. Rainy season here is insane! It comes down in sheets, and fast! One minute it is nothing and the next it is a total downpour. Also, we experienced our first set of earthquakes that rated at a 4.8 today! They are totally uncommon here, but apparently they happen!
Anyway, as some of you already know, Haylee came down with Malaria this last week. Malaria is rated on a plus system, and she had the absolute worst level. However, after spending three nights in the hospital receiving treatment and prayer, she is all better and at home in Gitega. Thanks for your prayers for her.
We had a great weekend upcountry in Bubanza, an area of recent rebel attack. I think of all the providences we have visited, this one is the prettiest (top left picture). We went up Saturday and split up into two teams. Ladd, myself and Ezekiel (our translator), spoke to a few hundred students at a trade school. That night we showed the Jesus film at a little meadow in the heart of a mountain village and then enjoyed a wonderful rice and bean dinner with the locals. Sunday we split up again, our team hiked to a little church that met, in what looked like, an abandoned shack. The building was built out of mud, with tiny wooden benches and a dirt floor (top right picture). Despite the appearance, the church was just incredible. There were about sixty people in all, forty of them were children and the other twenty were widows and mommas. Afterwards, we were able to pray with some sick and blind widows. There are few sounds that compare to the singing of these sweet, poor children with their malnutritioned bellies and big brown eyes.
Today, we met up with Ken and Melli Johnson. They are a couple here that has adopted ten Burundian children, and they own and manage a center for abandoned babies called The Rainbow Center (bottom picture). Just hearing their stories gave me chills. They take in the babies temporarily until they can find them caregivers, and then they train the caregivers twice a week on how to take care the babies as well as supplying them food. They get quite a few babies a month, and she remembers each story so vividly. One lady came in with a baby the other day that she found in a black plastic bag in a field; the baby still had an untied umbilical cord. The woman was hoeing and heard the baby crying. She decided to leave the baby because she already had five children who were all starving, but after she went home she felt very convicted and went back for the child. Three times she left the baby and came back before she decided to take her home. That woman spent the rest of the month begging in the streets for formula to feed the starving baby. Finally, someone from the Rainbow Center was contacted and the baby was brought in, treated and fed. That was a happy story, and there are many more like it. However, not all babies are as fortunate.
Many abandoned babies, normally found in dumpsters, toilets, fields, and thorn thickets are already too starved to be revived or too sick with infection or AIDS to be healed, unless by a miracle which happens occasionally. David was a baby brought in that was skin and bones, abandoned when his mother died during labor and the father left. Once David was fed and loved, the father decided to take him back. The Rainbow Center was overjoyed because they desire babies to be reclaimed by their families. David went to be with his father and his grandparents, but it was only a short while later that he came down with a cough. This would have been easy to treat at the Center, but the baby’s grandparents were heavily involved with witchcraft. They took him to the witchdoctor of the village, and he instructed them to cut the uvula out of David’s throat to heal the cough. So they took a dirty knife and thrust it down the throat of this infant. Needless to say, David died, along with many like him who suffer at the hands of witchdoctors and their demonic traditions.
We absolutely adore this couple. They have given up everything to be the hands and feet of Jesus to Burundian babies who are unwanted and unloved. Besides taking in baby after baby as their own, they love on hundreds of others each month. By the grace of Jesus, they are still so sensitive to every situation, with soft hearts and tender touches. I hope you are inspired and encouraged by their amazing hearts for Jesus!
Have a beautiful and blessed week! Love you all so much.