Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My First Couple of Days in Burundi!

So much has happened since I last wrote. I spent three weeks at MTI, a training center in Palmer Lake CO. I had a great time and met awesome people that are headed all over the world. I made some wonderful connections with some great people. It was so nice to be with people that understand everything I am going through especially right before I left the country. It was great, there were even some families that are headed to Kenya that I hope to see. Not only that but I feel that I made some deep life-long connections with relationships that were clearly orchestrated by God!

My flight to Burundi was a little long. I was sick most of the way…sick on a plane with a tiny bathroom. Horrible, seriously. Have you ever puked in an airplane bathroom, not much room in there. But I made friends with this awesome young guy from India who totally helped me and even sat with me in the Brussels airport…

And now, I’m in Burundi!

It is my official 4th full day. The first day I spent resting as I was still getting over being sick and jetlagged. And thereafter, slowly getting to know Burundi!

Pleasant surprises:
* Warm showers
* Enoch (Seth and Trina’s cook) makes awesome Banana Bread!
* Brushing my teeth with the tap water (apparently Bujumbura has some of the cleanest water in Africa, you can also drink the water from the tap, who knew?)
* Coke in a glass bottle is just as wonderful on a hot day as I remembered.
* Huge Thunderstorms; Apparently during the rainy season, storms are HUGE. The dry season is about to finish and soon the storms will roll in. We had one Tuesday night. Trina and I sat out on the porch and watched it, it was great! The thunder and wind were so strong it nearly shook the house. I loved it!
* The path down by the lake: Awesome. There is this path down by Lake Tanginyika (I think the second deepest and longest in the world...). There are hippos down there but I didn’t see any--not that day anyway;)
* The Market: Trina and I went to the market and bought some material, we’re going to get some skirts and bags made!

The Street Kids: Yesterday Trina and I were walking down the street with her friend when a street kid grabbed me as he walked by. It was a little ballsy if you ask me… If I hadn’t stood in a stupor I might have slapped him.

But all is good here in Burundi. I am really enjoying my first week here!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

C'est Fini!

I have left DC. I cant believe that that door is closed. The past two weeks have been such a whirlwind, I havent even had time to process everything.

2 weeks ago I went to Oshkosh WI, where I grew up. Honestly, going home is always hard, but I have to say--going to Oshkosh was such a blessing! I was so blessed by the people that I grew up with. I felt so loved. Its amazing to me that I can be gone for 2 years (and many more years since high school) and I can return and people still love me as they do. Not only was it a really fulfilling, but I felt that God really blessed my obedience in returning home. I shared what I'll be doing in Burundi at my churches 3 services and also had a sharing night. It was absolutely amazing. So many people were interested in hearing more about Burundi, what God's doing there and what I'll be doing. I was truly encouraged by the response I received from people in Oshkosh. I realized that I am truly blessed and that there are lot of people who are close to my heart that want to walk this path with me to Burundi.

I am amazed by how God provides. It is amazing to me how quickly things can change. Even in the past couple of months my friendships have been changing. Some of my closest friends have left the DC area themselves, or have just pulled away as my transition has begin. It's crazy to think that the people that you thought were going to be there for you weren't, but yet God is in control and he already knew, and he raises up others. I have been truly blessed by my supporters. Their friendships, prayers and simply the sacrifices they have made have been heartwarming. I am thankful for all of the new friendships and people God has brought into my life in the past couple of months, or even brought BACK into my life. I am truly blessed by the friends that are walking through this challenging and exciting time in my life.

I have said goodbye to my Burundian family. I spent 4 hours with them on Sunday (1 hour with them on Saturday, 4 hours with them on Friday...I love them;) ....surprisingly there were no tears. Honestly I thought I would cry, and well....not a tear was shed at all during my last 4 days in DC. I think that there was just too much going on, and I just couldn't process it all. My Burundian family had lunch waiting when I showed up on Sunday and the kids knew it was my last day. The little girl kept on asking me to sit by her. And saying things like, "I miss Jillian, Jillian go Burundi. Jillian no go. Me cry with Jillian." It was heart wrenching! I can only pray that God would create such relationships with others Burundians for me in country.

And now I am in training in Colorado. I head straight from here to Burundi. I think that it was good timing after all for me to head here right before I go overseas. I have been so busy, stressed and overwhelmed with closing up my life in DC, that I havent even a second to process much less feel the emotion of moving. I still havent felt any emotion. I am wondering when it will all hit the fan. However I am still blessed, while there are only 3 single girls at this training and ALL the rest are married couples and families...slightly overwhelming. However, I am enjoying getting to know all of these families that are committing their lives to missions and am encouraged. I think I will make some great friendships here. There are some families that will be serving in Kenya. I hope to sometime have the opportunity to visit them....

Two weeks left here in the mountains of Colorado and then onto Burundi!