Feb. 5th, 2013/ An Undoubting Thomas

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Hello friends and family,

This week we have been seeing the aftermath of the market burning down, as you may have read in last week’s update. It was atrocious. Statistics right now state that 70% of the countries food passed through that market. So to an already starving nation, the outlook is not good. Food prices have tripled, leaving families who could barely make it as it was, now destitute and unsure of what to do next. Thieves have come out of the wood work to raid and pillage the capitol. Just this week, a friend was attacked by armed men, held at gun point, face in the dust, and stripped clean of his watch, ring, wallet, and phone.  All of this happening just around the corner from my work. People are desperate.

I know this all seems very distant, because it is hard to relate until you have a name and a face of someone who is affected. Like you, I haven’t known anyone directly affected by this, other than we have to pay more for food. It is easy to sympathize when you don’t know someone’s hardships intimately, and much easier to empathize when they are standing in front of you teary eyed and afraid. Today, God allowed me (Carley) to see this whole mess upfront and personal.

We have a very good friend in Burundi named Thomas. Thomas is about 40 years old and has a wife and five children. There are some Burundians I have met so far that stand out to me as really astounding lights in a dark world, and he is one of them. I call him “Burundian papa wanje,” which means “My Burundian dad,” because he just lives and breathes to serve others and make them smile, even if it means he goes without. He has known a life of hardships, including losing some of his children to war and disease, and much more. Despite this he works hard as a chef to provide for them.

About two months ago, a giant rainstorm wiped out his entire house. He lived under a tarp for 2 months straight as he attempted to rebuild his mud home. Finally, a few weeks ago, he was able to move back in. HOPE Project gave him an extra bed frame and mattress so that his family had a place to sleep. He was so overjoyed to have such a novelty. Things seemed to be looking up for him, although throughout it all he never lost that special joy that he has, a beautiful gift from Jesus where he just always has a smile that lights up the room no matter what is happening to him or his family.

Today, I saw his face pop into our kitchen, but there was something different behind his big, brown eyes this afternoon. You can choose to be joyful, but you cannot hide sorrow with a smile. I gave him a long hug and asked what was wrong. He told me that yesterday thieves broke into his house and stole everything. Down to every chair, every fork, ever stitch of clothing. Thomas and his family are left with literally the clothes on their backs. They found the men that they think did it, and they are in prison, but they were not able to find or replace anything that was lost. The men had already sold it all. I cannot imagine coming home today to find everything I own completely gone, let alone finding that and knowing that I have to provide for my family despite all of that.

We cannot sit by and do nothing.

So, we are going to help. Would you like to join us? We want to help Thomas and his family purchase furniture, clothes, food, and dishes, as well as food while all this is happening. I know you do not know Thomas, but I do, and we are making that connection to you, on the other side of the world. You can change this. You can bless this person who you don’t even know. Other than us, no one is going to help him. This country is in such turmoil from the fire that no one has extra to give to him.

If you have a desire to give, please go to http://www.hopeprojectglobal.org , click the “donate” button, and deposit your donation into the General Fund. Also, you can click the donate button on this newsletter and follow the same steps. After completing the donation form, please send Dave an email letting him know that you would like your donation to go to Thomas and his family (dave@hopeprojectglobal.org) .

Please be praying for him to remain joyful and encouraged, but also let us have pure and genuine religion and choose to give to those in distress.

Thank you.

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