From Brokenness To Beauty
FRIDAY, August 2, 2019
Today was celebration day! After a year of discipleship, mentoring, completing exams for sewing skills, 44 widows and orphans praised God for ALL He has done and will do! The hall was filled with previous graduates, those graduating, new students about to begin their discipleship/sewing training, and many family members and guests.
It began with testimonies from several former graduates who encouraged those graduating about how God has lead them in their businesses, walked with them through challenges, with assurances that all they have learned will be used by Him, but to continue to pray, read God’s Word, and persevere as they move forward. They testified that they continue to be able to pay school fees for their children, pay rent, have adequate food, and reach out to others, teaching them to sew and share the love of Jesus with others.
Then several current students gave heartfelt testimonies of God’s faithfulness this year as they found “parents,” felt truly accepted and loved, and how transforming this is. Many came to know Jesus and who they are because of Him; those who already knew Jesus continued to grow in their relationship with Him. They were still in awe that in this loving family, they received a Bible of their very own; they were given mosquito nets, clean water filters, nourishing meals with food to take home to their children, as well as learning great skills.
All God’s gifts! Each one referred to being “brought up out of the garbage heap, cleaned, made whole and dressed in His righteousness.” Ps. 40 was a repeated theme throughout the day.
Glorios, one of the graduates, recited a beautiful poem she wrote of God’s transformation from refuse to beauty, restored – new. All of this interspersed with vibrant singing and praise! The students then presented their “fashion show.” Each had received the same fabric from which they had made their own unique design. And how they modeled, gesturing
Trenda and Caroline presented a beautiful quilt made by the ladies in their sewing group, a gift to Homecare to represent their love and partnership with them. They had made one for Matana as well. Trenda explained that each woman in their group had taken scraps, remnants, the “unimportant” pieces of fabric and sewn them together to make a square, each one unique in design. Represented in several places in the squares were strips of purple and gold, representing Jesus’s sacrificial love for them, for all of us, that binds us together. And each one contained a special heart to signify His love for us and ours for them, a beautiful representation of how God knits our hearts together to create a beautiful unity in Him. Caroline explained how she had wanted to come here for 5 years and faithfully prayed for them and was so grateful, even at 83, to have been here with them on what is probably her last international trip.
And now they were ready to receive their certificates of completion, and a special gift from a special friend in our church for whom they had prayed fervently this year as she faced cancer for the second time. In gratitude for their love and prayers, she wanted to give them something to remind them that their prayers are powerful and so appreciated, so she furnished a worship song book for each of them with a special personal message inside. How they loved this! As we closed this wonderful time of celebration, they were all singing from their new song books, such a sweet picture of the connections that are created between those here and friends in the US.
Following the ceremony, we and the staff had a special lunch and fellowship together. As we shared this meal, staff members shared their appreciation for God allowing them to serve at Homecare. Two of the teachers were former students. Their lives had been transformed during their discipleship/sewing experience and loved being able to pass that on to others. They reminded us of how precious it is to have a job here, especially in ministry, to be able to support their families and care for others.
Many times they have housed new students who had nowhere to stay; Beatrice, who has one son but has suffered a number of miscarriages, has taken in 6 other children in her home. Goretti, who just got married this spring, recalled her time of going without food for days as she struggled to take care of her daughter, Amandine, who is now 16 and a beautiful example of God’s total restoration. She is also now “Mom” to two other 15 yr. olds who joined her this year, one an orphan and one rescued from human trafficking. None of them would be able to do these things if they did not have an income, and what a joy to be able to serve the Lord in the process.
Nice, one of the 15 yr. olds, an orphan, shared her deep gratitude to Goretti, Homecare, and all those in the US who make this ministry possible for giving her a family, hope, love, and an education. Because of all God has done for her, she wants to minister to other orphans. She and Nina are at the Lycee boarding high school in Matana. Never in her wildest dreams did she think she would ever be able to attend a boarding high school like this. With God, nothing is impossible!
Tonight we had the privilege of having dinner and fellowship with a very special couple who have been ministering to youth in Burundi with Youth for Christ for many years. Freddy grew up in Matana and was teaching there when the ’93 genocide took place. He loves young people, teaching and nurturing them and was totally broken to see many of his students killed during this conflict. He felt God calling him to minister to youth when he was just 16, and he committed then to get involved in meaningful ministry to them. He began working with Scripture Union and then YFC with a vision to build strong Christian leaders for this country. His story is one of “totally God.” Today they have three of the best schools in the country, one of which is the only internationally accredited school in the nation. Now that they are graduating students, they are working to place graduates in universities in the US and Canada, with the understanding that they will return to Burundi to serve and restore this country.
There are 12 students currently studying at various universities now, and they envision a new generation, committed to God and His work. Freddy firmly believes that Burundi has been called to be a light to Africa; I don’t doubt that at all. Even with the harsh realities here, you see God at work in incredible ways through outreach such as this and Homecare, one by one, restoring hearts in those who will change this nation.
We finish the day so inspired, encouraged, and mindful of the faithfulness of God! That truly, nothing is impossible with Him! How our faith has been strengthened and our trust deepened from being with these, our Burundi family. It is a powerful reminder that all of us who know the Lord have been “brought up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay….set our feet upon a rock….put a new song in our mouth, a song of praise to our God.”