Thursday, February 10, 2011

"To Be Your Friend and Brother through the Grace of God in the bonds of Love"

We had the opportunity to meet the first church leader in Bujumbura.  Over 16 years ago, Egide was the first Branch President.  They currently live in Canada and the reason is, after fleeing Burundi for their lives, they finally settled there. They shared  harrowing stories of faith and protection and generosity of friends. When they flew back to Burundi this week for a visit with family in Bujumbura, they were surprised to find that the church was organized again and functioning.  It was such a blessing to meet them and feel of their excitement and gratitude that missionaries had once again come to Burundi. They have strong, vibrant testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  They also have a son serving a mission.

Beatrice loved our new little meeting house and she was happy to see the CTR shield on the children from Primary.  She is a CTR teacher in her home ward in Canada!

She immediately bonded with these beautiful, brand new converts.  You can see which sister has not lived in Africa for years.  For you see, the Africans rarely smile for a photo. I am not sure of the reasoning, but right after the picture, they were all immediately smiling.

Later in the week, we were invited to their home for a traditional african meal.  It was delicious. This is the same home they had built just before the war broke out over 16 years ago,which they have never sold.  The home was damaged during the wars, but not destroyed like many of the homes here in Bujumbura because it was large enough to be used as an orphanage for the refugees children of Rwanda and Burundi. After being in Canada for the first seven years, they flew back for the funerals of Beatrices parents.  They have since, slowly restored the home.  It is really very beautifully done.

We had an exceptionally interesting visit with Egide's uncle who was a professor at the University of Burundi.  He shared alot of Burundi's ancient religious history. Craig was taking notes as quickly as he could. There were many correlations between those historic beliefs and the restored gospel. We had a long and memorable discussion wondering about an ancient history of a God, Imana, his Intermediary, Kiranga, who lived on earth as a man then died on a red flowered tree.  We left him with the question, "Is there a record or story where Kiranga returned to teach His people after his death on the tree?"  He promised to search deeper for such a story and accepted hungrily the Book of Mormon as one such story.

Then we had Beatrice's brother and his wife who came with their very special bundle of joy! Desire is a business man and Eveline is a doctor specializing in H.I.V.  They were such delightful people to be with along with their several other children.

Eveline is a very busy mother and doctor.  I was so impressed with her medical knowledge and compassion for people.  She has a great desire to bless the lives of her patients.  She enjoyed learning what a Chiropractor is. She had never heard of Chiropractic. In all of Africa, there are only a very few.  There are none in Burundi. She and Elder Frogley had a very interesting conversation.  She was very open to the ideas of chiropractic. It is very evident that she has strong faith in God.

This is Eveline's little daughter.  I cannot pronounce or spell her name yet but it means, 'Tender mercies of God".
I have not had the chance to hold a two day old baby for months now.  It really made me miss my little grandchildren.  It gave me great memories of holding my own little granddaughter, Siri, when she was two days old.

 "..and (Jesus) took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them." 3 Nephi 17:21

1 comment:

  1. What wonderful people! They sound like an incredible family. I love the clothing they wear in Africa! They all look so beautiful. Ashlyn, loves and misses her Grammy and Papa! What a beautiful little baby. I'm so glad you got to hold her.