By Jeanette Winfield
Throughout Burundi, we saw extreme poverty. It was clear so many subsist on what they can grow, plus a little they can sell if the crop is good. National income is about $100 per person per year. Yet they shared a lesson for us in their contentment, in their peace in the love of Jesus Christ.
So many people we met touched our hearts. So beautiful, sweet, gentle, open eager, ready to attentively learn whatever they were offered. What a lesson for our western hearts.
Some folks tried to discourage me from going to Burundi. It is not the safest place in the world. It is not the healthiest. It is not the least expensive. But if the Holy Spirit calls you to go, you go. Irrespective of anything anyone says, irrespective of one’s age, or any other worldly impediment. And when you obey the call, He rewards you with experiences like no others.
Like Sunday worship. Church in Burundi is commonly more than three hours, much longer than we are used to. But when it is filled with full congregational singing, with multiple choirs of different ages and genders, with children’s’ presentations, and with enthusiastic preaching, the time simply flies.
Like teaching scores of pastors. Even without teaching experience, I was speaking to a fully attentive audience about forgiveness both from a Biblical perspective and a personal one.
Like meeting Bosco, Freddy, Janvier, Acher, Dieudonne, and others, whose stories could each make a thrilling movie about hardship and fear, followed by grace and redemption.
And like riding a motorcycle, side saddle, my first time. But that is a story for another day.