Sometimes life comes at us quickly with few spaces to reflect, report or recover in meaningful ways. Such has been the last two months and the reason for the long hiatus in this blog. We have been able to see many of you who read this, thus the lack of needing to write about what we could relate face-to-face. I have never wanted this blog to be a travel log, daily journal or space for whining and complaints. Rather my purpose has always been to, “. . . speak of the glorious splendor of your [God’s] majesty—and [I will] meditate on your wonderful works”, as it says in Psalm 145 where the psalmist is commending one generation to tell to the next the mighty acts of God as they display his graciousness and faithfulness. It was this purpose that inspired the name “Beauty and Wonder”. So if I don’t have something to write that speaks to that purpose I’d rather not write (especially since I’m not a writer). But as we have just recently returned to Burundi, I have now been able to pause long enough to write in a meaningful way some of recent situations that have spoken to me of the “beauty and wonder “ of God.
First, I must draw attention to the 21 medical students (seen here) who graduated in December to become licensed doctors in Burundi. This is no small accomplishment in a place of so few doctors, with so much need and such limited educational resources and expertise. Having counseled, mentored, educated and worked with them the last three years, Randy can attest to just what a feat of God this is. In addition, six of them have already committed to working together as a group to bringing their medical skills to the needy of Burundi in much the same way they have seen modeled by the Kibuye medical team (our sister Serge team in the interior). This is a sign of beauty and wonder—God’s faithfulness in the lives of these graduates and to the people of Burundi.
Next, I must recollect with profound gratitude the fun-filled time over the Christmas holiday with family. Once again we were able to spend the days around Christmas with family in Seattle, including our own adult children, in-laws and relatives. A particular highlight was experiencing the beauty of the snow, mountains and cross-country skiing for the first time.
I was also able to spend sweet time with family in California, most especially seeing my aunt just before she passed from this world into her heavenly home. Her parting words to me of: “I’m not afraid”, were testimony to her life of fellowship with God. While she loved life and had always lived giving, serving and without complaint, even while she was in a lot of pain the last ten years, she was ready to enter into the loving arms of her Creator and Savior. I was so glad I could visit her one more time, “this side of heaven”, to affirm our mutual bond of faith and tell her how she had witnessed God’s love to me growing up—another testament of beauty and wonder.
A very special part of this U.S. visit was time spent with the three churches that have most impacted our spiritual development during the last three decades as they continue to support us in our present work in Burundi. Each of these church families has been instrumental in nurturing our growth not only while we lived in their particular local but even now as they support and pray for us. We were so blessed to be able to reminisce with old friends, hear about their lives, tell them of God’s faithfulness to us and encourage each another. We were excited to engage in discussions about possible new ways for some from these churches to become more involved in helping with the educational endeavors at HAU. And on top of all that joy, we were able to have communion with each church, which was particularly profound, meaningful and strengthening.
Lastly, I must give thanks for the continued deep friendships with many over the years and miles, especially my closest friend, confidante and skin doctor. I am so appreciative of her concern for my soul and vigilance over my high-risk skin. I see so much more of the wonder of God’s love through her as she ministers to me and shares her own pilgrimage of faith.
Thank you to everyone we were able to see and spend time with. Thank you for all the ways you encourage us! I hope that in highlighting these things God’s beauty will be displayed and acknowledged, and that others would join me in giving thanks for the marvelous things he has done!