Nov. 22, 2012 / Happy Thanksgiving From Burundi

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We hope you all enjoy a wonderful holiday this year. The last few days we have been in Gitega, a city in the center of the country. This is where Haylee is living and working at Homes of Hope orphanage. She loves working there! On Saturday we drove to an all-girls school and had the opportunity to speak to 150 high school girls. Most of the women here grow up thinking they are ugly, worthless objects used to make children and dinner. I (Carley) spoke on their value as daughters of the King, how they are so beautiful to Jesus and how they need to protect themselves from lies by devouring the Word of God. It was a pretty cool opportunity. Ladd followed me and preached on running the race until the end, and surrounding yourself with people who will not hold you back from following Jesus. “You are who you hang out with,” is just a good message all around.

Sunday was a bit different, as there were 5,000 students in a giant auditorium, but I shared a similar message. Since there were boys as well as girls, I also spoke to the men on how they need to see women as sisters in Jesus and love and protect them. Anytime you talk about sex here, you are guaranteed a captivated audience because they have a lot of it and don’t talk about it at all. Ladd preached on the call of God on your life and choosing to being obedient the first time God tells you to do something, not the second or the third, because it is always better the first time. All in all, it was a really incredible time. I love working around the country; it’s just such a blessing to see God moving and having victory in these student’s lives.

While we were up there, we visited a memorial. If you do not know, there was a huge war here from 1993-2006 between two tribes and hundreds of thousands of people were killed. This particular monument is a half-burnt down gas station. During the war, some rebels took 180 little children from the other tribe, forced them into this gas station, poured gasoline on the building, lit it on fire, and then stood around getting drunk watching these poor little children burn alive. One little boy escaped by breaking a bone off of his dead classmate, shattering a window, and running for his life. The building is just so eerie. What is crazy is that I have friends my age here that remember when that gas station was a place where they would stop in to buy groceries…which brings it way closer to home since it happened so recently.

Yesterday I asked two friends I work with, what was the best part of their day that day. My answer was getting to talk to a friend back home, getting to sleep in an extra hour, the sunshine, etc…One of their answers was, “Today I got to eat a meal. I love it when that happens,” and the other guy’s answer was, “I am healthy enough to eat and not be sick.” The best part of their day was having a meal. Let that sink in. Sometimes my heart here frustrates me. I see the poverty around me all the time and I can still open my mouth to complain that my house is dirty and dark and disgusting, and that I do not get enough food every day. This battle against sin is a tough one.

Wherever you find yourself, there is much to be thankful for today. We are so thankful for having a graceful King, who loves us unconditionally, for amazing communication with people at home, for our health here, and that tons of people are coming to know Jesus as the Lord of their lives every day!

We hope all of you enjoy your Thanksgiving, wherever you might be. We truly have so much to be thankful for.

Imana Guhezagira,  (God Bless)

Ladd and Carley Serwat

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