It never ceases to amaze me that we as Christians can travel around the world and find ‘family’ there. This week I have turned up to a town called Buhiga in the north east of Burundi to find a group of welcoming smiling people rejoicing in the fact that someone has travelled a long way to spend time with them. They have not been forgotten after all. They are all hungry for what is to be shared with them. It is 8.30am and they are just finishing breakfast, some of them have already cycled 40km to be here and others have walked long distances. This happens every day; they are not staying overnight. We finish the meetings at 3.30pm so that those who have travelled a long distance can get home before it gets dark and be with their families’ overnight.
The group of about 30 men and a couple of women hang on every word. They ask searching questions about all aspects of church leadership and wont be satisfied until their questions have been fully answered. Some appear very shy, however Frederic from Rema Ministries, my interpreter, tells me that these people, predominantly Hutu are ‘cowed’ due to the systematic abuse that they have received from their masters over many years. They are a broken people, but nevertheless are really keen to break free of the shackles and break out once again. It is a real joy to share with them. Unlike on some other occasions I don’t feel at all used, I feel appreciated and made very welcome.
They want to squeeze the last drop of ‘leadership juice’ out of me and they really done mind making it tough either. It is hard work teaching 6 hours a day, but somehow the reward for the hard work and tiredness is a sense of real achievement and fulfilment too. The first week will soon be over, I have to repeat it again in another town next week. I really hope that there will be a similar sense of accomplishment at the end of it.