Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Laughter through Suffering

Burundi has gone through many hard times. That's the unavoidable truth. And their still suffering everyday. Every family has a story of pain and loss. The terrible things that the patients have gone through. The conditions of housing and food and work. If someone only heard these stories, they would expect this country to be a place of darkness and despair. They could never imagine the light that radiates from these people.
Each heartbreaking story, each hard situation, there's always hope. So much hope. Hope fills the trees the air and the ground. And this culture laughs. Everyday they laugh. I would like to say that we laugh with them, but more often they laugh at us. Americans? Hilarious. You would think that I could be a sit down comedian with the laughs I get for my clumsiness or language errors. But that's the point. They find joy in the littlest things. They find joy in the dark rain clouds or the bee flying throughout the flowers. They find joy in each other and in us. And most importantly, they find joy in God and His goodness and grace. All the laughter and hope comes from Him. And they love and worship Him.

"May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace 
as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow 
with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

Sunday, December 24, 2017

T'is it the season?

It has been hard to make it feel like Christmas here. 
It's hard to make it feel like winter when the rains pour down and then the temperature raises back up to 70 degrees almost immediately. It's hard to get in the spirit without lights in every window, or mall shopping, or sweaters instead of tee-shirts. Suddenly we're getting homesick for our usual Christmas time activities like decorating our church, or sledding at Mt. Baker. So, thank goodness for our team who have all worked very hard to make it feel like a holly, jolly Christmas. If any of you have read the recent blogpost on the team's blog, Community (Kibuye Style), you know that we all are very close, and spend a lot of time together. This Christmas season, we have enjoyed getting together to sing and praise God, as well as exchange gifts and eat delicious holiday food. There are a lot of new traditions, but we also keep some of the old ones. It may not be the Christmas that we were used to or expected, but it's a new, community centered Christmas.

One new tradition is the Kibuye Christmas pageant. You can see a video on the team blog, Kibuye Christmas Pageant, and I suggest you take a look. It's amazing what you can do with some eager MKs, a great director, and a hope-filled story. We shared the story of Jesus' birth with around 1000 people altogether at the feeding program, the hospital field, the local school, and the church. The Burundians were all eager and excited to hear this tale in their own language. It was told in Kirundi by Anna Fader, and by me in French. When you watch the video, listen for their reaction when Anna starts talking in Kirundi. It's pretty encouraging.

Noƫli Nziza!(Merry Christmas!)

Our performance at the feeding program

The Kibuye Piano Studio's first recital

Now we're having flashbacks to our 
last Christmas in Burundi...
 We've upgraded it a bit this year

Friday, October 6, 2017

Baby Bunny Photo Shoot

Warning: This post contains extreme cuteness. Read at your own risk.

The old thing was chicks, the new thing is bunnies. Cages full of pet rabbits. Recently, one of the rabbits gave birth to seven babies, the same one that we did 'surgery' on. We removed an abscess from her foot.
They are adorable, and they're growing fast. After a while, we've finally gotten down the names that we chose for them. There's Ash, Sammy, Frisky, Brook, Midnight, Frappuccino and Cappuccino.
We did a bunny photo shoot, and I just had to get these out into the world.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Finally Here

After 3 years of preparing, raising support, and language learning, we are finally here. We arrived in Bujumbura August 31st, and as always, we have been busy settling in to a new home, and a new culture.
Since we've gotten to Burundi, we've started school, done surgery on a rabbit, and found and lost our pet chameleon.

It's amazing how much Kibuye has changed. There is a new schoolhouse, an almost completed new church, and multiple new hospital wards. As for our missionary compound there are a lot of new houses, lots of new families. There are 13 school aged children this year, a couple younger children, and there's always someone out playing. It's a great community.

Kibuye Hope Academy 2014-2015
Mekdes' 9th Birthday
Mekdes' 12th Birthday
And yes, in this picture she is holding her 
pet baby guinea pig, Brownie
Our Old Schoolhouse
Our New Schoolhouse
The Burundian school before
And Now (It's still dry season)
The local church before

 We're glad to be back and getting into the groove of things. Thank you for all of your prayers and support!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Good Goodbyes

"How lucky I am to 
have something that 
makes saying goodbye
 so hard."
-Winnie the Pooh

At Mission Training we learned about saying good goodbyes. And this last week here in Washington that has been what we were focusing on. Not just saying goodbye to family and friends, but also to places and things that we are going to miss. Ice cream, the beach, apples, etc. And no matter how many times we do it, it never gets any easier. Even though it's hard to say goodbye, 
"The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained." - Unknown

This is a very last minute blog post. Tonight we leave for Burundi, hopefully to arrive Thursday afternoon. Please pray that all of our many, many bags containing important medical supplies and most of our family's belongings makes it there safely, and for good transition into the Burundian culture. 

There are so many people that we didn't have time to say goodbye to. So, until next time. Thank you for your support!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Au revoir France!

As I write this I am sitting in our mess of a living room, among seven suitcases worth of books, clothes, and quite a few legos. We are working our way through our last days in Albertville, planning to leave on Sunday, and after an overnight layover in Reykjavik, Iceland, returning to Bellingham for the summer.
France has grown on me. I'm going to miss the mountains outside my window and the smells wafting out of the Boulangerie on the walk home from school, but I'm afraid that I can't say the same about classes themselves. I'm probably going to miss that small leap of pride when I can understand the lesson or translate the song word for word. And I'm definitely going to miss all the friends that we have made at The Center this year.

I have to admit that I've gone back and forth between ideas for this post. It's not possible to sum up our year in France in a couple paragraphs, but time's running out, and this will have to do.

As a family we put together a list of weird, shocking things that we've noticed about France:

  • Erasable Pens, the French don't use pencils
  • Roundabouts, almost every time streets intersects
  • Dog poop on the sidewalk-such a clean city, but they don't pick up after their dogs
  • Writing on graph paper for everything
  • Everyone writes super well in cursive, even 2nd graders
  • Not everyone is on their phones all the time
  • Small refrigerators
  • Butter, pickle and ham sandwiches-they don't eat Peanut butter and Jelly
  • Lack of air-conditioning 
  • The French week starts on Monday
  • The French don't make small talk
  • They don't carry drinks on the go
  • Handball-we thought that Albertville would be big on soccer, but they're bigger on a game which is a mix between basketball and soccer
  • Woman sunbathing with their tops off
  • And they wear the same outfit multiple days in a row, even fashionable outfits
So now everyone be prepared when you visit France. It is in many ways the same as American culture, but also very different. We have learned everything we needed to know, after a lot of awkward moments. Another year down, next stop...Bellingham WA!

Au revoir France!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Adventure Update

Before I get in to this, I want to let everyone know that we are not skipping school to go on these trips. The french schooling system has a 2 week break every 6 weeks, and we are currently in our final stretch of school before the end of the year.

Time slipped away from me, and I didn't get the chance to write about our February break in Spain, or our April break in Paris/Normandy, but a picture is worth a thousand words.




 Mont Saint Michel
 Normandy Beaches

In France, there is an ancient castle, an old fort, or an amazing view around every corner. We have had the privilege to explore around Albertville, and have enjoyed many wonderful hikes. 
A couple of weeks ago, we hiked La Belle Etoile ( The beautiful star ), which we have been meaning to do before we leave. It was all uphill, until you get to the top, and it has a spectacular view.
We endured it with another family from The Center ( Mom and Dad's school ), whose boys are in Biniyam's class, which made it much more enjoyable for everyone.

It's the highest point that you can see.

One more thing that we recently checked off our list is zip-lining. Fort de Tamie is an old fort up in the mountains, which has been turned into a zip lining/parkour park. We spent an afternoon up there, ending in a zip-line across a cliff looking out over the mountains. Definitely recommended.

 I'm out in the middle of the gorge.

The time spent exploring Europe makes up for all the time spent sitting in school.