Much More Than Words
MONDAY, July 29, 2019
Even the most descriptive words don’t quite describe what it like to be welcomed to the ministry center in Bujumbura. Exuberant, joyful, fervent, transcending….these come to mind, but they still don’t quite do it justice. As it is often said, “You just had to have been there.” And how thankful we are to BE HERE! And to bring new friends to Burundi is JOY!
The heavenly chorus of the widows and orphans lifting up heartfelt praise could be heard long before we enter the gates to the Homecare center; the volume raised exponentially once they saw our group enter the courtyard. Beautiful smiles, dancing, praising, powerful hugs from each of the staff members as we entered let you know that God has brought us here for a purpose, and as His children, we are experiencing His Joy and pleasure. As Mary leads worship, the intensity increases with songs that spring from the soul, offerings of such thanksgiving and praise, giving all Glory to the Heavenly Father we share – this is community as its best. After a time of worship and introduction of the friends we brought with us (Caroline, Trenda, Alison, Karen and Sarah) the testimonies began.
It’s such an encouragement to see former graduates continue to come to the center to encourage, share, and support the widows and orphans who are now about to “graduate.” One told her story of abuse and rejection, and the “but God” portion of how He saved her from despair by bringing her to Homecare where she found Life, Hope and a new future. As an orphan, abandoned, cast aside, God transformed her life! And he brought her a Godly husband! She brought her two little boys with her to testify of God’s faithfulness and urged the ladies to “wait upon the Lord; wait for God’s man and marry with honor.” Another shared her deep sorrow of losing two husbands, being cast aside by the families of her husbands and left with no means of caring for her children, going hungry, without shelter, hopeless.
But a friend brought her to Homecare. Feeling very insecure, she was afraid she could not learn, would not be accepted, fearful. But soon she felt the total acceptance of the leaders and other ladies in her discipleship/sewing class. She found family; she came to know Jesus! She praised God for all He has done in her life and continues to do – for letting her know that He loves her, that she has value, and her life has meaning; He created her for purpose. And that is true for each of the widows and orphans – each of us. God is faithful!
When it comes to testimonies, these whose lives have been totally transformed through the loving care and mentoring at Homecare are so eager to share how God has given them life. They share their deep wounds, always heart wrenching, but it is all part of the journey that they want others to know so that they can experience New Life as they have. What courage to be so vulnerable, but what impact their life journeys have on all of us. For several hours we enter into the hearts and minds of these dear ones as they share their souls; what a sacred trust to hold these stories in our minds and hearts.
It’s hard to take it all in, this first day here. But as the team shared during the day, it is so beautifully evident that God is here; He is at work, and He is redeeming His children! Trenda, who had been here five years ago, remarked how beautiful it was to see the JOY and smiles on their faces; they are so very expressive and speak louder than any words. She had seen the sorrow and despair that so many are burdened with as “newcomers” to Homecare when she was here before. She recognized the pain again today as they shared their struggles, but she rejoiced with them in the “that was then….this is now” portion of their life stories of total restoration.
What an amazing first day! It was a beautiful introduction to what Homecare/Hope4Burundi is all about – New Life. In the afternoon we got to spend time with the staff, hear their own stories of redemption, and why they praise God for bringing them here to serve. As each shared, you see the hand of God in knitting this extraordinary group together, each with their own giftedness, all with fervent hearts for the Lord and deep commitment to serve Him and those He loves, being “parents” to those who may have never experienced true love and acceptance ever before.
Tomorrow we will travel to Matana to the second Homecare center. Situated in the mountains, it is a different environment from the city. These dear sisters are about half way through their sewing/discipleship training, and we can’t wait to see how well they are doing and hear more powerful testimonies of how God is redeeming lives, families, and communities.
“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.” Ps. 40:2-3