Thursday, December 18, 2008

must travel.

I'm giddy with the anticipation of travel and adventure.

-Rafting the Nile
-Good times with friends
-18hours on a bus
-Bungee jumping into the Nile
-Ethiopian food
-Java House

Sadly, my camera didn't get here in time. So this will all be documented with my little point n' shoot.

I won't be able to sleep tonight.

Friday, December 12, 2008

go corporate...


What images come to mind? What feelings? Mm, there are so many. This single commodity has invigorated and stirred our senses for centuries. I myself am surprised at the precision with which I am able to navigate in a groggy, sleepy trance from my bed to the coffee maker at the wee hours of the morning. While many a blog entry and book have been written about this life changing substance, I will simply make one request.

If you drink coffee, go to your nearest Starbucks and buy some Burundi Kayanza Coffee.

Starbucks was recently praised for its investment in the Kayanza district of northern Burundi. In a country where 90% of its economic income comes from coffee and tea, it is so important to be able to have a company like Starbucks invest in it. Starbucks has also supported CARE in its clean water projects to displaced people in Burundi. They have also invested in community-development projects and farmer support centers.

Sounds like quite the symphony I am playing here for Starbucks. Well, its written from the heart. I usually am not the one to tell you go and buy from a big corporate enterprise. But basically Burundi needs all the help it can get to get its only commodity out there...would you help, please? Its trendy to consume beverages from little known regions of the world, right?

Monday, December 8, 2008

it's a holiday!

In the past few months we have had the normal (i.e. Christian/Political) holidays, but have also had a few last minute ones.  It seems that if you feel a certain day should be a holiday (which means you don't legally have to go to work) you can petition the government to make a certain day a holiday!!  Talk like a pirate day as a holiday anyone?  

Mostly this has been taken advantage of by the muslim minority here in Bujumbura.  Since Burundi's holidays revolve around Christian holidays (which they usually work through) and political dates, they have asked the government on several occasions to make some muslim sacred days national holidays.  So today in Bujumbura we now have a holiday! The streets are deserted and the internet is just a bit faster! 

Today is the muslim festival Eid-al-Adha.  The day that muslims world-wide celebrate the willingness and obedience of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael as Allah had commanded him to. (As his namesake I feel I need to insert that it was actuality Isaac that was going to sacrificed, but was saved when God provided a ram...)  
Approximately 10% of the Burundian population is muslim.  Their numbers are growing though as new converts are offered free education and other economic benefits upon their conversion to Islam.  Muslims make up a large percentage of the shop owners and merchants in Bujumbura and are thus influential in the economic direction of this struggling country.  I feel they are yet another part of the population that the church in Burundi has not yet attempted to reach.  In a country that claims 90% christianity, they are indeed very unreached.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Do you eat food?

I have recently just finished reading "In Defense of Food" by Michael Pollan.

The book is much longer than it should be, but worth it none the less. Pollan feels the need to defend food not because food is under attack or people aren't eating enough, but because what we are gorging ourselves with in the West (he contends) is not really food (agreed). We instead consume "food-like" products that are made or enhanced by nutrients that we think food should contain and our bodies need. 

These "nutrients" are what we have come to replaced food with. So instead of eating a peach, you just actually want 100% of you daily value of vitamin C, and since peaches aren't always in season and not found in the vending machine, why not then drink a soda that has been enhanced with vitamin C! All the other not-so-highly advertised or yet to be discovered benefits of a nice juicy peach are sadly forgone, and instead a mind-numbing flood of sugars are rushed to the brain. 

The basic motto of the book is "Eat Food. Not Much. Mostly Plants." This eating motto has for the most part reflected my time here in Burundi. Meat is expensive, and there are many fruits and vegetables in the market to enjoy (not exactly the equivalent of a farmers market ). That being said there is one product in Burundi that I consume on a daily basis that is, well, processed.
Nido Full Cream Powdered Milk.

This food invention has been with me since my childhood. It holds great nostalgic appeal to me as I can remember it as one of my first African memories. I use to take Milo Chocolate powder, mix it with Nido, and then add only enough water to turn it into this creamy chocolate paste. Revolting to me now, but oh so delicious when I was 4 years old.

With this milk product, populations around the world that have no access to refrigeration have been able to store at least in some form, milk. Here in Burundi I take a full scoop of this powdery wonder in my tea every morning. I normally wouldn't think twice about it, but the Chinese milk scandal now has me sipping my tea with some hesitation!

My mother was always so happy that when in the United States on furlough her children could have REAL milk to drink.  I remember absolutely hating this new "real" milk
and couldn't wait to have Nido again!  It's what you're use to, I guess.

On a similar note, tomorrow kicks off the beginning of America's annual month of binge eating (Thanksgiving through Christmas).  I know you can't mail your leftover turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, rolls, and whatever else you don't eat to "starving kids in Africa", but maybe you could take it to your local homeless shelter this year? OR, if you by some chance really do care about the starving kids in Africa you could maybe make a simple Thanksgiving meal, and donate the money saved to Food for the Hungry!  I'm sure you can still be thankful for God's blessings without a food coma. 

*Please note that when I use the word "you" I am not picking out any one person that I wish to harp on (except maybe the general American consumer)* 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

the view from Mt. Songa

In Burundi any time you leave the capital city Bujumbura we say that you are “going up country”.  Bujumbura lies in the Great Rift Valley on the edge of Lake Tanganyika.  It faces the Congo Mountains across the lake to the west, and is enclosed from behind by the Burundian hill country that fans out to the east. So if you are leaving Bujumbura, you are more than likely headed up into the hills, but even if you are going to follow the lakeshore south to Nyanza Lac and aren’t actually going to gain any elevation or head into the hills, we in Bujumbura still call this “going up country”.  This past weekend I took my third trip “up country” to the central-most province and second largest town in Burundi, Gitega.  There is much to be said about this area of Burundi, but a history lesson is boring so instead I will simply tell you what I saw from the top of Mt. Songa which is the highest point in Gitega province and about 5 km’s from town.

 At the top of Mt. Songa I have a 360 view of the green and seemingly lush countryside.  Banana Trees carpet the warmer more fertile valleys flanked by cultivated fields of maize and vegetables.  Almost all the land is cultivated.  There are no trees except for a few patches of Eucalyptus that have been planted for their ability to be harvested in a few years.  The cultivated land creeps up the hills and halts only when the land is too rocky to support plant life.  The crops planted on these slopes cling precariously to the thin topsoil, waiting for a rain that will either bring them life or wash them away into the valley.

I want to see beauty here, and in many ways I do.  But I also see a land that is being stretched beyond its capacity.  There is too little land for too many people.  Erosion is eating away at the once rich soil, leaving behind only rocks and barren earth.  I pray for hope to be restored in the lives of these people who toil the earth; I pray for the work of their hands.  For as Christ transforms and restores their lives may they be reminded of their duty as stewards on this earth and engage it in a different light.      

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Family First...

I thought I would start off this new era of political comedy with an email that one of my Burundian colleagues emailed me...

"After hearing that he was leading in the Presidential race, Obama's extended family in Kenya decides to move to the USA to live with him in the White House!"

Hey, this is what we do in Africa!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Day After My Birthday...

In 2008, the day after my birthday happens to be Election Day back in the USA.  Thats today, and honestly I am so glad too, because I am sick of it.  All of it.  Plain and simple.  

So people, lets face it.  Mr. Obama is more than likely going to be our next president.  Now, I have no idea what will come with his presidency (I have been assured that it will be quite the CHANGE from that last guy we had), but something that will most certainly have to come about is new political jokes!  Take a break, O ye weary and down trodden conservatives and republicans, and return to your homes and grab a cold Bud and flip to the new Comedy Central!  'Cause I think we will be seeing a CHANGE in our Daily updates with Jon Stewart!

Of course, I am absolutely intrigued as to how the comedy world (i.e. Hollywood) is going to shift its focus of humor and (dare I say sometimes) mockery to Mr. Obama and a more "liberal" government (Yes, I am implying that I feel they will balk at the idea that now they have to make fun of themselves).  I mean, they've had it way to easy for the past 8 years.  Our last president was a white man from texas who couldn't follow a TelePrompTer to save his life...too easy.  So I hope that we are now entering into a new age of comedy, are you ready America?!  Too bad I live in Burundi where I will have no access to cable television or YouTube to watch this new era be birthed...

(Take a look at this pioneering website that has had me in stitches for over a year now.  In many ways I find it refreshing...though a good many of those points I am guilty of myself, so it helps to laugh at one self)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The post I never wanted to write...

At the end of my last post I said, "I should give Rwanda a chance, eh?".  Well, I did give at least Kigali a chance.  I was amazed with its paved roads and orderly traffic.  I was calmed by her soothing climate and exquisite coffee, and I relished the cool weather and fantastic vistas.  In many ways I was happy to let down my guard and be taken away by this new found love.  I had all I needed to feel safe...

...and then the veracity of underlying poverty reared its ugly head through the thin veneer of so-called development and western comfort and jabbed me in the face!  I stumbled.  More stunned by the attack than the pain and lose of sight.  I grasped for some safety net to catch me, but instead came crashing down to where I never wanted to go.  The place of cynicism, doubt, and mistrust.  Will I ever love again?

*End of dramatization*

Simply, I let my guard down.  I had been walking around downtown Kigali, enjoying the cool climate and good coffee.  I felt safe.  This wasn't the crowded, steamy streets of Bujumbura with its pickpockets and mad traffic.  There was order here, it seemed.  We had pulled up to a gas station to quickly fill up the truck before a nice dinner at the Indian restaurant Khazana.  Brandon and I had gone to change some money, and Paul had stayed with the car to change the oil.  In an act of perfect timing, someone opened the back seat door facing the street and grabbed my backpack and Brandon's computer bag.  Brandon's computer, gone. My camera and Ipod, gone.  No one of course saw anything, the language barrier raised frustrations, and the police report that we labored to file took its good ol' African time.  But none of that really bothered me other than the fact that Africa had finally got me.  I have lived on this continent for so long without being robbed in this way.  Yes, the station was well lit, there was a guard on duty, and Paul was right beside the car, but I still forgot to lock my door.  You ALWAYS lock your door.

Brandon's computer is insured and he will be able to get a replacement soon.  My camera and Ipod served me well for over 2 years.  That morning I had made sure to take out my computer and passport which would have been a nightmare to get replaced if stolen.  So overall I am not  sad or put out about these losses.  I give the glory and credit to God for these feelings of peace.  
He gives and takes away.            

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"I see white people!"

Most of the time I like to plan out my blog posts and make sure that things look good, my grammar isn't too atrocious, and that I have good pictures.  Often I spend a good hour making sure that my post's are, well, cool.  It's sad but I will admit that sometimes I get a little wrapped in this whole blog thing.  So I'm a little insecure.  Let's move on.

I have prefaced this blog entry with the above disclaimer because I am sitting in Bourbon Coffee in downtown Kigali and I just want to share with you a few thoughts that are running through my mind.  So I will try to catch them for you, and we'll see if they make any sense.
I see white people.  Not only are they white people, but they are white people I don't know. Lots of them. Loud American ones.  Not the I know every Muzungu in Buj, but I at least recognize them. I'm a little overwhelmed right now.  

The coffee is really good.  I feel a little guilty as I feel I might be betraying my loyalty to Burundi.

I ordered in English. No pointing to the item on the menu.

I'm sitting in stylish chair. Chic.

The little cookie that came with my coffee was nice.

Nakumat is next door and it has plenty of nice things that I can't get in Burundi, but they are ridiculously expensive.  Do I really need them?

I am reminded of Kenya.  I should give Rwanda a chance, eh? 

Monday, October 20, 2008

On Lake Tanganyika and Cell Phones

Love the lake, love my phone, but they don't mix very well...

On Saturday I made the unfortunate mistake of diving into the lake with my cell phone in my pocket.  

"Oh don't worry, we've all done it.  Just take it apart and dry it out for a day and it should be fine." 

This might have been true if I had merely jumped into the lake and jumped back out.  A quick dip or sprinkling if you will.  But no, this instance just so happened to be a full immersion of a good 15 minutes till I realized with a sinking heart that my cell was in my pocket.  I could have left it in the lake I suppose, acknowledging the power of nature over technology, but I didn't.  I instead will lay it to rest in a box where I will salvage it for parts.

So what will I do now.  Well, I will buy another cell phone, and next time I am lured into the refreshing waters of Lake Tanganyika I will check my pockets.  Lesson learned, for now.

But lets take a moment to reflect on this.  I had a CELL PHONE in AFRICA.  This is not meant to be a condescending statement, but a simple statement of surprise at how Africa has changed in the past 4 years since I have been gone.  Everyone has a cell phone, maybe not credit to make calls, but a phone to receive them for sure.

I guess I'm just glad that I can bring the great American habit of never planning things before hand to Africa. *Sarcasm* 

"Yeah, lets hang out sometime this weekend!  Just call me, ok?!" 

"I missed your text! Sorry! Maybe next weekend?"

"Hey we are going to X place in 10 minutes, you in?!"

"Hey man, where is the party tonight?"

Ah, how communication has changed. 

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cup o' tea please

Every day at the World Relief office at around 10am I am brought a thermos of piping hot tea.  Nido (Blog to come on this powdered milk product) and sugar are also provided.  My inner Kenyan adds a healthy amount of Nido and sugar so that my tea swirls into a creamy, sugary delight.  My thoughts regress to the days of RVA and chai time after chapel. 

"Now if only I had some chai treats to go with this..." 

Tea has been such a integral part of my African experience.  Britain did a great job of bringing this "culture" of tea drinking to Africa. I don't think I remember a single day in Zimbabwe when we didn't have a cup of tea and biscuits at around 4 o'clock!  Kenya never stood a chance, with influences coming from both Britain and India!  The latter we have to thank for masala chai!  In fact, most of the tea that Burundi exports goes to the docks of Mombasa where it is auctioned off weekly.

According to a recent Reuters article Burundi's tea exports have brought in over $11.6 million from January 2008 to September 2008! This is a huge increase from last year.  Tea is Burundi's second largest foreign hard currency earner after coffee and employs 300,000 small holder farmers.  The government would like to increase production and quality over the next year.  

My prayer is that the revenue from these exports will be used in ways that benefit the people of Burundi.  I am not much of an economist, but I think that having a economy that is based in just coffee and tea is not the safest.  Yes, I took two classes in economics, but we never talked about anything practical.  That would have been too easy, right? (note: tones of bitterness from college)
I wonder where my old chai mug went?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A thought on Prayer...

So here is a little observation that I have made in the past month that I have been in Burundi.

Burundians pray very long

Now, I have done absolutely no research on this or even asked why this is.  I simply have my observational skills to draw from, and my observation is all I really want to share.  

In addition to length and longevity, often these Burundian prayers seem also to be linguistically fluid.  I don't speak Kirundi, but it seems that these prayers are just jam packed with every word the prayer might know!  Word after word comes flowing forth in an undulating diction that falls somewhere between a song and a chant.  To my Kirundi-lacking ear, it is mesmerizing. 

"If my people pray..."

These Burundian prayers seem to fall in sharp contrast to the prayers I have observed that we Westerners pray.  We seem to pray shorter, more precise, and less fluid prayers.  Praises and requests are formulated in our minds before uttered in voice.  Aside from those who are indeed eloquent with words, often it seems our prayers can sometimes be less polished.

So there. Voila! My observation.  I would be interested in knowing the reasons for these differences, but honestly I don't think it really matters.  I don't think the Lord is concerned with longevity or preciseness of word.  He looks at the heart.  A sincere heart that desires to be in His presence and worship Him.  I think He delights both in our fragments of supplication or our well crafted psalms of praise! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Burundi is considered the "heart of Africa".  I am assuming this name has been given to Burundi due to the fact that its borders seem to trace the outline of an actual human heart.

As warm and fuzzy as that makes me feel, that I am living in the "heart"of Africa, I can't help but think, "Dang.  Thats a REALLY small heart for such a BIG continent". 

But if we continue in this allegorical way of thinking, I think its also rather ironic that this little heart-shaped country should also be world renowned for its drum troupes. A heart is only useful if it has beat. 

Since my arrival in Burundi a month ago, I was informed of the Royal Drummers of Burundi.  I am guessing they would be the elite percussion troupe, but around the city of Bujumbura I have seen various troupes practicing with much vigor and abandonment.  I was assured that I would see many performances before I left the country.  They were right.

I was invited to a dinner that was preceded by a drumming performance, and apparently the performances all tend to follow the same pattern.  The drummers entered with the large wood and hide drums balanced on their heads as they sang a vibrant song.  The baritone voices complimenting the deep throbbing of the drums.  The drum beats were so thunderous that I felt they might derail and reconfigure the rhythm of my own heart.  The drummers laid their drums down in a wide semi-circle with the main solo drum in the middle of the opening.  A series of dances, songs, and drum solos were played out to a continuous and  almost trance like drum beat.  I was hypnotized. 

A fellow missionary leaned over and translated a few of the words that they were singing...

"Glory be to God" 

"The Lord is strong and mighty"

We were worshiping the King of Kings!  Here was a tradition that was in the past meant to praise men and their achievements now restoring praise to the One who deserves ALL praise!  I could not help but praise the Lord for his gift of rhythm and song.  My anticipation for heaven was intensified and rejuvenated.  

"How beautiful is your creation oh Lord, and how even more beautiful when Your creation praises You, the Creator!"  

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Would you like a Fanta?

If I ever get the chance to meet the CEO or the marketing manager of The Coca-Cola Company

 I will probably say, “Wow, well done.”


In Burundi, when one visits another it has now become customary for the host to offer the visitor a “Fanta”. A “Fanta” simply refers to a carbonated bottled beverage of some type.  Your selection is usually between a Coke, Fanta Orange, or Fanta Citron.  All these products are created and delivered all over Burundi by the Coca-Cola Company in the capital Bujumbura. 

It blows my mind that the Coca Cola Company has managed to ingrain itself such into Burundian culture that it is now considered rude if you do not have Coca Cola products on hand to offer a guest at all times. A tall cold glass of good ‘ol H2O just doesn’t cut anymore.  Gimme a Coke! And please, if its warm, all the better!

I asked what was a customary guest beverage before the Coca Cola Company and the onset of Christianity.  A blank stare of confusion broke into a shy smile, "beer, I think" was the answer. 


(In other Burundian beverage news, I found out that the East African beer Primus is regionally owned by the Belgian beer giant, InBev.  The same company the bought out Budweiser earlier this year for some astronomical amount of money. They’re everywhere!)  

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bujumbura, Burundi

What a beautiful city.

The streets are riddled with pot holes and the traffic is a death march of every vehicles.  Humanity flows in and around the trucks, cars, motorbikes, and bicycles.  Every sense must be on alert or else…

“The man ran into me at full stride.  Through my front shirt pocket I barely felt my wallet be every so stealthily plucked.  I reacted instantly and grabbed at the man who had run into me (He had been following Jillian and I for a little while and I had already suspected he was up to no good).  He immediately began yelling at me as he passed my wallet to the next guy behind him on which I turned immediately, trying to formulate a sentence in French that would let them know of my intention to get my wallet back everyone else around me that I was getting robed. The crowd around us just stared at us.  My wallet was passed to a third boy and I turned on him, this time screaming as loud as I could.  He dropped my wallet behind himself onto the sidewalk.  They ran away into the crowd toward the marketplace.  I had my wallet.  The whole incident may have lasted 30 seconds. I laughed out loud as the realization of what had just happened and my very rash actions to fight the thieves for my wallet dawned on me.  Ah, Africa.”

Keeping alert is hard in a city that thrills the senses in every way.  The rainy season is coming and soon the air will be clear of haze and smoke from burning fields.  The lake will be clearly visible along with the Congolese mountains to the west and the Burundian hills to the east.  No wonder Burundi is called the heart of Africa.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 2 in Bujumbura...

Tons of God sightings...

Meeting Susie in line after our flight from BWI to NY was canceled.  Making it to Dullus in time to catch our rescheduled flight to Brussels (there was little/no traffic, seriously!).

Getting my visa with no problems and getting both my bags.

Having a bed to sleep in and a shower!

Being guided around Bujumbura and having 'my hand held' by the World Relief staff.

Feeling the presence of God and experiencing how great it is to be a part of the body of Christ.  I have brothers and sisters in Burundi.  I love meeting family.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A thought before I leave this country...

World Relief is such a blessed organization.  I feel blessed to be a part of it.  I feel completely and totally unqualified, but they brought me on, so jokes on them! Everyone I met yesterday were genuine and seemed excited for me.  I don't really know where I fit in yet, and I realize that the organization will feel different once I get to Bujumbura....

Baltimore...many homeless people wandering meticulously restored streets and parks.  This world is so broken, our Savior is needed everywhere.

Bujumbura...I will be there tomorrow afternoon.  Crazy to think about.  BRING IT!!


Monday, September 1, 2008

So little time...

In a week I will be at the World Relief headquarters in Baltimore.  Probably sweating nervously as I am introduced to people in the office and the reality of my internship begins to set in.  This is my first real 'job' ever, and I am very much intimidated.

I have less than a week in Blacksburg, Va.  A place that has been 'home' for the past 3 and a half years.  How does one go about saying good-bye to that.  Its the people.  Burruss Hall, the drill field, and Bollo's will all be here when I get back, but some of the people won't. If there is one thing that I have been trying so hard to do, is to say heartfelt goodbyes.  In essence to be vulnerable.

For the longest time I have been able to skirt a true goodbye with excuses.  The best of them completely absolves me of any blame.  I simply tell myself that whomever it is that I want to say goodbye to didn't care about our relationship the way that I did, and therefore would not care if I said a heartfelt goodbye or not.  Messed up, I know.  

I have realized the error of my ways, and now I am taking this leaving opportunity to say good bye. I love you. You mean the world to me. No matter where I am on this globe, I remember you, I pray for you, and miss you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

When Nehemiah and the the Lord's people returned to the land of Judea they brought out the Book of the Law.  It was read to them and they wept.  They had fallen away from His word.

Today I am little grieved. I finally forced myself to get up early this morning and read His Word.  It has been too long.  I am grieved, feeling guilty for not spending time with Him.  But just like in the book of Nehemiah, the priests told the people, "This is the Lord's day, do not grieve"

I will rejoice in His words.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Burundi Bound September 9th!

It seems that every post I write is rack with some heavy overtone.  It would seem from this blog that my life is always on the brink of chaos or spiritual depression.  Well, I need to disclaimer that and say that it's just not true.  But in those many times of joy and completion, I don't feel the need to write about it. I simply enjoy them. 

Its when I am feeling down, confused, or spiritually down that I feel the need to write my thoughts.  I guess its kind of like when I am happy, I am quick to forget the Giver of all blessings and true joy.  Yet when I am oppressed I am so quick to run to Him.

So since I am writing, I am sure you can guess that I am feelin' a little down.  Yes fri
ends, this spiritual battle that is going on in my soul right now is raging more than ever.  Yet, I am still trying to remember that He is in control and that with Him on my side I have won.  

I am 66% supported. Praise the Lord! My vacation with family down at the Outer Banks, NC was such a blessings.  I am now back in Blacksburg, trying to raise the last bit of my support. I fly to Bujumbura on September 9th!  

I haven't even landed in Burundi and I am already plagued with insecurity in myself and my calling to serve Him.  Its tiring. I am so tired of it. 

He rose on the 3rd day and conquered sin.  His love for me is unconditional. I rest my ever wiry head in this.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

To hear the words, "Well done..."

Today Ben Entwistle passed away at the age of 20.

Some people take more than 70 years before they get to go home, but Ben got to go home earlier than most.  I am shocked, surprised, grieved.  

Often we are shocked when the Lord chooses to take His best servants, but maybe He just wants better company.  He gives and takes away...but those of us who are left behind can't help but feel the loss.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

May I decrease, and He increase...

With every draw back and set back that I have gone through in the past few days, I have rejoiced because my understanding of God has become just a bit bigger. His comforting embrace has become just a bit more tighter, and His faithfulness to me has been proved a little more.

12%-my support level right now.

As we diminish, He increases. May I continue to diminish.

Friday, July 4, 2008

'Tis the eat!

HAPPY 4th of July!!!

I'm not a very good American, but here's the deal.  I LOVE apple pie!  

There is nothing more satisfying than a slice nice, warm, spiced apple pie with a scoop of premium vanilla bean ice cream on top.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

He chose 12...

Being forced to raise support head-on this week is probably the hardest hit my pride has ever taken...

Encouragement though has come from unexpected places and at unexpected times. He is indeed Jehovah provider, He restores me soul.

As I have reflected on Christ's model of discipleship I have realized many things, but one that has stuck with me is who His disciples were. They were not the highly educated, not the cream of the crop, and probably not the most refined of society. They were rough fishermen. Christ looked past ALL that, and saw obedient hearts. He sees my heart. He sees my desire to serve Him, and as I continue to feel completely inadequate to serve Him, He reminds me. "Obey me. I am all you need. I will provide. Trust me."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Things that I have been telling myself this week...
"Isaac, He will get you to Burundi when He wants you there"
"The kitchen doesn't have to be clean, just kinda clean"
"Yes you're leaving, but you can still continue to build relationships"
"It's only money"
"Thank goodness for YouTube"
"22, what a WIERD age"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


MTI is almost over, weird.  Who would of thought that 3 weeks of intense missions training would go SO fast!  I have been ripped open, poked, twisted, and sewn up again.  I feel that in 3 weeks I have gone from college graduate to somewhat of an adult.  So you know what, BRING IT!
Real life, I'm comin' for you, and I'm ready.

Next up, Kansas City for the Weller-Dejong wedding.  I have made no plans of where I am going to stay or anything at all yet...

Still in process, RAISING SUPPORT!  Lord, help me be patient and loving as I seek partners in ministry.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Forced Reflection

"I'm fun Isaac!"

He is right.  I have spent the last month limiting God to being a God that only wants to test me and stretch me.  Yes, he wants me to grow in Him, and that often requires that I be tested and stretched, but He is SO much more!

I took a forced walk today as part of our Rest and Relaxation module at MTI.  I hate being alone.  

Often times when I think of alone time, I forget that I am never alone.  He is right there with me, longing for me to just listen, so that He can reveal beautiful things to me.  I can so easily listen to my own voice as I tell God about all my requests and complaints, but when He gets ready to respond to me, I have often turned away and gone about doing my own thing as if an answer is not forthcoming.  Of course He is going to answer me. I'm His son! He loves me!

Today was not a day of deep convictions, but of a simple message from my Father that He loves me.  In these times while I feel stressed He has reminded me that He is fun!  There is so much joy to be had in Him.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Palmer Lake, Colorado...

This place is beautiful!  Who knew that would be here for an entire 3 weeks?

I am currently at Missions Training International for a 3 week training course.  I was called by World Relief who asked me to strongly consider going to this a week.  So last monday I hopped on a plane and made it out here with no hitches at all.  Clearly a God thing.

I cannot tell you the emotional roller coast it has been.  I sent out prayer letters literally hours before I left Blacksburg to come out here.  Many emotions and feelings have crossed my mind as I have for the past few days been in community with some amazing men and women of God who are following His calling to the far reaches of the earth.  I am humbled and honored.

Much of our time so far has been spent on community building and learning to love one another as one the most important things to establish wherever we go on the mission field.  There has been a lot of self reflecting...which has been rough, but so rewarding...

God is so cool!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Summer Thoughts...


So I have a blog.  I am not sure how this works, but as suggested by my blog title I am doing this in anticipation of my year internship in Burundi.  I will be working with World Relief as a HIV/AIDS programs developer.  I am excited. I am extremely intimidated. I'm praying lots.

BUT, before I make it back to the African continent, I have to raise support!

I think this is going to be the largest test of my faith...ever.

I have my own website!  You can donate to my own personal Burundi fund or to World Relief in general.