Mission International Teams Blog

Burundi team 2011

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During the period of teams deployment new information will appear on this blog from the teams. Access to and functionality of local internet connections may hamper the upload of images, however we will attempt to show these where possible.

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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Leaving Milles Colline behind!

Those who remember the movie Hotel Rwanda will perhaps recognise the name Milles Colline; the hotel where the movie is based in the centre of Rwanda's bustling capital.   Milles Colline is of course French for 1000 hills and is the other name by which Rwanda is known around the world.   My last visit here was in 2006 as I travelled from Uganda en route to Burundi.   The whole country has changed so much that I am in fact astounded.   Roads are tarmacked, homes are in good order, the place looks clean and tidy in general.   The capital, Kigali, is modern and thriving with new malls and supermarkets like any other city in the world.   One of the most encouraging changes is the traffic speed limits.  Now main roads are limited to around 55mph which makes the whole experience of being here so much less hair raising.

I have spent my time with Rev Nathan Amooti and Bishop Louis Muvunyi (Anglican Bishop of Kigali) being shown some of the projects with which they would like to partner with Mission International to progress.   There are still many needs in Rwanda, however it is encouraging to see, like in no other African country that I have visited, the way in which funding is being used to develop the country from the government down.   I am sure that every penny of international aid is being properly used here, otherwise the progress would not be taking place so quickly ad effectively.

Today (Sunday) I leave Rwanda for Morogoro in Tanzania, I will be strangely sad to leave, I have so much enjoyed my time renewing friendships and seeing the way in which the whole nation is moving on so quickly.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Separated once again.

It was a tough morning, just after 7am when I had to leave the team in their residence in Bujumbura, Burundi as they rested before their return home on 29th.   I made my way towards Kigali in Rwanda (where I am writing this port).   We have had such a good time in Burundi, everyone has worked so hard and selflessly have given of themselves in what they were doing.   The MissionMedics team have treated around 600 people whilst in Nyembuye and the kids ministry team were inundated with kids, at times the venues were so full it was difficult to do anything that involved moving from the spot.   Church leaders have repeatedly requested that we return to give more.

My trip to Kigali was uneventful, we passed a truck on the mountain road which has been sitting on the carriageway for weeks awaiting a spare part to get it mobile again.   We had a wait of about 1 & 1/2 hours for my lift at the border.   He had been stopped 4 times by the enthusiastic Rwandan traffic police on the way to pick me up.   The exit stamp on my passport was dated wrongly and this also caused a slight delay at the Rwandan side as they altered the date.   Soon we were on our way after sad goodbyes to Felibien and Fran├žois at the border post.   We (Nathan, Steven & I) stopped in Butare for lunch and to visit the Anglican Bishop.   Soon we were on our way again, I was so tired I fell asleep in the car, even with all sorts of 'tasty' overtaking manoeuvres.

Tomorrow is going to be a busy day so I am off to get a shower and go to bed.

Friday, 22 July 2011

All Change!

This has been a time of change for the team.   Hannah, who was with the MissionMedics group in Rutana (Nyembuye) and Shannon who was working with the group doing children's work are returning home today (early on 22nd).   They have both worked very hard and will have lots of stories to tell when they get back.   We pray they have a very safe and happy journey together.

The rest of the Mission (kids & adults ministry) team have now moved on from Rumonge and are now in Gitega and are visiting a very rural village called Karoba each day to bring biblical teaching to adults and kids there.

Signs of Life in Karoba!

The mission and Kids team have been serving in the village of Karoba about 40-45 mins drive along a marram road outside the town of Gitega.   The dusty road winds through a valley which reveals a river beside which there is a patchwork of small allotment fields where busy people plant and tend their crops of beans and cabbages.   This is a really rural setting, we climb from the marram road on to a potholed track which climbs up through small dwellings surrounded by plantain trees and we eventually see the church.   It is built on the very top of a hill and the ground all around drops into the valley below.   It has a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.   The people are already waiting, it is about 10am before we arrive, to give time for those who are walking in from some distance from the surrounding villages.  The primary school lies about 1 & 1/2 miles from the church and this is where the kids ministry team are going to be based.   The 'Pied Piper of Hamlyn' style troupe of kids which set of behind the Mzungu team is a sight to behold.   The church is already packed to the door with about 400 adults.  The pastor asks for choirs to sing and they do with great gusto after which I am called upon to preach.   First sermon is to the church, the next after a break of 10-15 mins is the many who have come who are not yet believers.   I preach a message based on 'Legion' the demon possessed man and 'Bartimmaeus' the blind beggar.   After I am through I ask if there is anyone who wants to come to Jesus and repent, fifty or so dear people make their way to the front for prayer.   All very tired with the heat, the dust and the pressing crowds we make our way back to our dwelling but not before we are provided with a huge meal for 'lunch' at about 3.30 - 5pm.

Just another day in the life of a MI mission team.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Moving along the lakeside!

The part of the team which has remained in the Bujumbura (capital city) area since arrival will today set off to the town of Rumonge which lies on the side of Lake Tanganyika, towards the border with Tanzania.   This town has a very high number of refugee returnees in the area and so is in great need.   We will be serving in a local Anglican church there and will spend time training church leaders and working amongst the many children who will come to see the Mzungu (white people).

Good reports are still coming in from Hannah, Nicola, Jackie and Chris who form the Mission Medics (Dental/Medical) part of the team.   They remain in Nyembuye and that area near to Rutana and continue to serve the people there who have little or no access to any medical or dental provision.

Many peoples lives are being [positively impacted by our being here.   Some by the practical skills of those who have come and some spiritually as they hear God's Word and respond to it.

Please continue to pray for us as we deliver what we have come for and pray for those we serve that they too will gain the maximum benefit from our service.

Hannah and Shannon leave to go home on the 22nd since they can not remain for the whole team deployment.   Please pray for them as they go back and for us as we say goodbye to them as this wont be easy for them or us.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A heavy schedule!

Everyone is working very hard here.   The schedule is quite heavy and the temperature is hot.   The team is effectively in three parts, there is a part of the teram doing medical and dental work in Nyembuye near Rutana, reports from them are that they are doing well, pulling teeth, diagnosing health problems and dispensing medicines and they have also been involved in some preaching which by all accounts has been very effective.   Secondly the young folks on the team ably supported by two more mature ladies have been doing a lot of childrens ministry.   This has been so well received.   Those older folks whop remember flannel graphs at Sunday school will have an idea how the Bible stories are being delivered.   That combined with songs and a lot of dancing is what they get up to with the kids.   I am doing a lot of preaching to chuirch leaders, who have had no formal training anfd so are in great need.   In addition to this I have also preached a some outreach events where many have responded to the Gospel.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

We made it - eventually!

The team arrived in Burundi on Sunday afternoon after having an impromptu stop over in Nairobi.   We arrived in Nairobi from Paris unaware that there were events taking place in Nairobi which meant that our flight was cancelled all together.   We were told that we had to make our way to immigration so that we could get visas for Kenya and be taken to a hotel for the night.   We were put up in a £120 a night place about half an hour from the airport and provided with a meal and a beautiful room.   The next morning at 5am the bus was supposed to pick us up but arrived 2 hours late, making us very late for the flight, however due to industrial action or some other as yet unknown issue the flight was held up for a further hour and we all managed to get it.

The mission medics part of the team are now in Rutana (Nyembuye) and the rest of us in Gatumba douing work with kids and church leaders.

Dont hold your breath for long posts since this is a painfully slow connection - I will do my best.