We find ourselves in transition once again. Shifting continents, employer, focus and language. We’ve left Malawi and are back in the U.S. Randy will leave his employer of the last 12 years, as we have been approved and appointed as missionaries for World Harvest Mission. Our focus has changed from Malawi to the East African county of Burundi. From getting by with a little Chichewa to spending a year in France to learn to communicate in French as Burundi is francophone.
The time of living in Malawi, even with its difficulties and hardships, only confirmed to us a calling to be part of a team that is seeking to live and serve where there is a great need to assist in human development and flourishing by partnering with nationals within the Christian community. Burundi is such a place.
Not only is it among one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one of the most densely populated with a median age of 16. Among one of the smallest countries of Africa, it is often forgotten next to its neighbor Rwanda, but it also suffered genocide with the deliberate removal of educated Hutu, mostly men, over a number of years, wiping out a generation of leaders, scholars and professionals. But a light has begun to shine in Burundi at Hope Africa University, a new generation of educated citizens is rising to care for its people.
Hope Africa University began in Nairobi among refugees from Burundi who were waiting out the civil discord of their nation. Once it became safe they returned to Burundi to educate its men and women to lead their country in justice and compassion. Four years ago they opened a medical school to train doctors to care for the health needs of their country. A team of six physicians from the U.S. has committed to teaching the clinical course work at a rural hospital 3 hours outside the capital. After visiting and talking to the leadership of H.A.U. we are compelled to join their efforts by helping to educate their students. Randy would be teaching in the medical school preparing students for their clinical work, Carolyn would be teaching English as a foreign language so students can graduate with the required English proficiency.
This past week we went to Philadelphia as candidates for World Harvest Mission, the organization that is overseeing the other group of doctors going to Burundi who are already studying language in France. WHM confirmed our desire to partner with Hope Africa University by appointing us team leaders. Now we will seek to compile a group of like-minded people who have the passion and expertise to help educate the rising generation of Burundians. We will also be building a support base both financially and spiritually to join us in this work. That means a trip around parts of the U.S. talking to others about this vision. Then its off to France in January for language learning.
As we end this chapter of our journey we want to thank those who have cared for us over the past month in Malawi. Your care, shown in a myriad of ways from emails, Skype calls to care packages, lifted our spirits and encouraged our hearts. We hope to continue sharing God’s good work through pictures, words and stories as we continue this blog in a new form.
Consider this beauty and wonder! Changed hearts! Evident in us as we are willing to lay down our lives for the good of others out of God’s love for us. Evident in those who can’t go to Burundi but desire to be a part of what God is doing by joining in prayer, support and giving. Evident in those who will also be called and will join our team. Evident in a generation of changed lives in Burundi. Open your eyes and see God’s beauty and wonder. It is all around! Sometimes much of it is below the surface!