Jan. 10, 2013/ Goodbye to Friends, Hello to Opportunities

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Well, we just dropped off our good friends, Dave and Cindy Scammell and their four little girls, at the airport after a month long visit full of adventure, long nights, giggling, strange sicknesses, and sunshine. It was a great trip, and we are so happy that they got to come and see what life is like here. We did some “tourist” things, like go to the reptile zoo – the only zoo I have ever been to where they lock the world’s most poisonous snake cage with a butter knife and two slats- as well as a road trip to Blue Bay, a beach that could easily be mistaken for Pacific Mexico. However, most of the trip we tried to focus on cultural things. At the market, the little girls were all wide eyed at all the people running around with boxes ten feet high on their heads. Also, we spent two weeks in Gitega at Homes of Hope with Haylee. The kids loved it because they got to play with 40 kids all day long as well as experience upcountry life. All in all, they did great, especially since they had to take freezing cold showers, eat the same dish of rice every day for lunch and dinner, and sleep in bug-ridden beds. The four of us adults got a few dates at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Habesha. Other than that, we spent the remainder of the time visiting all the organizations and locals that we know of here so they could get a picture of what we are talking about and who we may be able to work with in the future.

One of those people is Evariste. He saw that his community upcountry was in need of a sustainable resource to provide income. After establishing a business of buying Tanzanian cows (which produce more milk than local cows) and selling milk, he waits until the local person approachs him about a cow, then he tells them that before he loans them the cow, they have to grow a special grass as well as build the cow a shed. After they have, in a sense, proven that they are willing to work for it, he loans them a pregnant cow on credit. The milk is then transported to the city where it is boiled and sold, and he takes a portion of the money to pay off the cow and gives the rest back to the person. It has turned into such a sustainable project! The coolest aspect is that it is completely focused on evangelism. Many of the families that have gotten cows have come to know Jesus through this man’s kindness. He told us just a few days ago that just giving them money makes them feel devalued and ruins their motivation to think and work hard, but by making them work hard for what they want, these people feel such a deep sense of worth, that they are working hard to provide for their families, and that is truly fulfilling. Evariste is an incredible man of God. He is part of a communal church that doesn’t worship a building or religion, but a place that takes care of their orphans and widows first and loves people with the love of Jesus. His wife, Annick, is just as beautifully filled with Jesus. What an incredible couple they are! We are very excited to see how we can be involved in this radical process in the future.

As I reflect on the amazing ways God is using people here, I am challenged to see the world through God’s eyes and to be keenly aware of opportunities I have to help. Who knows? Maybe all of us are just a cow away from radical change, and all we have to do is “grab the bull by the horns.” Ok, no more cow jokes. But seriously, I pray God opens our eyes to doing the good works he has laid out for us. This life is so short, and as we start this new year and look back on the last one, we don’t want to get to the end of this year completely missing out on what God is doing because we were clinging to our plan, our desires, and our dreams. I pray we are able to surrender those things to Jesus, knowing he is aware of the desires of our hearts, so we can live radically and fight hard for the Kingdom of God.

This week we will hopefully be making our last move in Burundi. We are moving in with two ladies, Irish and English, who are working with organizations here. Also, this month, we are excited to welcome Jacque Fairfield, one of our close friends from CDA, to the mission field. She is moving to Tanzania – just a few hundred miles from us- to work with Village Schools. Keep her in your prayers as she lives out the calling that God has placed on her life. This summer Haylee, Jacque, Ladd and myself will be spending some time in Couer d’ Alene before heading back to Burundi, God willing. The Holy Spirit has been revealing some really cool ideas for us this summer that we are excited about! Lastly, a special thanks to all of you that sent presents from home with the Scammells. It was truly a bigger blessing that I could have imagined; I never thought pop tarts would taste that amazing! We feel so loved and supported, and that is such an encouraging feeling.

Be blessed. We love and miss you!

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