Having traded our northern hemisphere U.S. lifestyle for life on the equator in Eastern Africa we often lose touch with the cycles of seasons, sports and holidays which we grew up with. So while “March Madness” traditionally refers to NCAA college basketball tournament our “madness” this March has been the pleasure of hosting many visitors and participating in a number of special events.
We were happy to welcome our area directors and one of our company leaders as they came to provide encouragement, wisdom, guidance and support to the ongoing work and partnership between our sister team at Kibuye, Kibuye Hope Hospital, HAU and us. It is such a pleasure to be a part of an organization that supports and affirms its workers and is just full of really fun people.
While most of the meetings did not directly involve our day-to-day work with HAU we were invited to participate in the “Time of Celebration” hosted by John and Jessica Cropsey (Kibuye’s team leaders). John asked all the key Burundian leaders to give a history of some aspect of the work that has been going on in Burundi under the Free Methodists with HAU and Kibuye Hope Hospital. Added to that others gave a history of Serge’s work, their team’s creation and how they (and we) came to partner with HAU’s work of teaching and training doctors for Burundi. It was an amazing opportunity to see the vast scope of God’s work here, sustained through its many challenges and to know that we are just a part of something much bigger and greater that is ongoing. Seeing this bigger picture was indeed encouraging, hope inspiring and trust building for everyone.
Overlapping with these meetings, at nearly the same time was the installation of a new rector at HAU. What this meant for us was attending the “remise and reprise” not once but twice. The first time was in the conference room of HAU for a small ceremony. Then, a few days later, with a larger group from HAU at a reception banquet. The importance of this ceremony is the handing over of the keys, official seal or stamp of office and all the rights and responsibilities of that office. Until this is done one is not officially recognized or responsible in whatever post or position. This will be the third rector the university has had since the founding rector’s death in 2013. We pray for him to quickly learn his office, personnel and the university and be enabled to guide it’s future with wisdom, integrity and vision.
Several nights this month we welcomed additional guests from Kibuye as folks came down to Buja to do business or meet incoming visitors. I also made a 4-day trip to Kibuye to visit their school and encourage teachers. This month I finally began teaching one class of English with about forty, first year, civil engineering students. On top of all that it has been the month of Women’s Day with several special events I was asked to take part in but those are for another blog.
While all that seems like enough “madness” for one month there’s still a few days left in March and we are expecting more guests this week coming from Kibuye for a medical conference being hosted in Bujumbura. We are truly thankful for the opportunities to host, fellowship and serve in this way. Once again our yard looks like this picture, an all too common activity for Gilbert this month!