As part of our weekly routine, Carley and I travel around the country for Bible teaching and sharing Christ with young people. So, we began our travels for bible teaching down to the southern part of the country. The drive there is astounding and despite being in one of the poorest parts of the world, it is certainly one of the most beautiful. A small road twists and winds around Lake Tanganyika, the whole way just a few feet above the shore. The views are incredible with small fishing villages, the Congolese mountains just on the other side of the lake, and some nationally protected jungle. Amazing!
This particular Friday night was a bit strange. We never know what will be discovered late at night in these remote places. We arrived late at a house converted to a motel. Our team occupied five of the ten rooms; the other rooms being full. It featured fine accommodations such as shared living room, shared bathroom, and shared feelings with my wife that this place was creepy! We shrugged it off, went to our room, set down our backpack of laptops, phones, and money, locked the door and went to bed.
The next morning we were shocked to discover our bedroom unlocked! We walked out and to our surprise the motel had been robbed! The burglar had stolen five phones, $2,000.00 USD, and clothes. Strangely, all the items were taken from the other guests. None of our team had anything taken, including Carley and I. Somehow the burglar had managed to get past the armed guards, into the house, break into the five other bedrooms, and make it out of there without anyone waking up or noticing. The guests who were stolen from did manage to find some of their clothes scattered down the street. We certainly didn’t celebrate the other people being stolen from, but we were very thankful for God’s protection on us. We spent the remainder of our weekend preaching in a secondary school and a few different village churches. The poverty in this area was unlike anything either of us has seen so far, from malnourished and barefoot children to people with horrible soars and sicknesses. Nevertheless, it was wonderful to watch as these people poured in the door to hear more of God’s love for them.
Our arrival home was normal until about midnight when we awoke to machine gun fire in our neighborhood. Several times we heard guns blazing really close by. They eventually stopped and we went back to bed.
I fell ill with stomach pains a few days ago. A description of the symptoms to a doctor revealed intestinal worms. The treatment has been simple enough and stopped the stomach pain with accompanied diarrhea. I know at least one worm is gone because I saw it and flushed it!
Unfortunately for the local economy of Burundi, the central market burned down today. A cloud of black smoke is still billowing up from the large complex as I write this, and the fire is far from going out. A single helicopter with a water bucket continues to roar overhead as it goes back and forth between Lake Tanganyika and the center of town. This place employs thousands of people, who will now be out of work. Pray for all of the people who have died in the fire and others who lost their job or business today.
Whether it is burglaries, gunshots or fires, let us continue to know our God as healer, protector, and provider!