I'm learning the importance of keeping a daily journal on my iPhone notepad while on mission. My last trip was to Burundi, Africa with e3 partners. There are typically so many great encounters, divine appointments, details and feelings that might be forgotten or discounted if I waited 'til returning home to write everything down.
I was assigned to a city called Gatumba. David Mitchell was my team member. This was his 2nd trip to Africa - his 1st to Burundi. It was a privilege to watch God work in and through David. We worked with Pastor Joseph (Mother Church pastor), Pastor Moses (Mission Point Pastor), and Aaron (Associate Mission Point Pastor). From what I could tell, Pastor Moses would preach or talk to the people in Kirundi and Aaron would provide Swahili translation. These guys are so smart! And so passionate about God and the work He's called them to do.
David and I went in separate directions every morning. He headed to the Muslim & witch doctor neighborhoods. I headed downtown and into some highly populated neighborhoods. Gatumba is near Lake Tanganyika but not directly on the water. It's also pretty close to DRC (Congo). I'd describe the area as a tan, sandy prairie. Not so many trees or plants. Just homes made of mud and sand and bamboo sticks. Some really tall, narrow trees that didn't provide much shade. Thankfully, in the afternoons we'd catch a stiff, sandy breeze which would cool us off but at the same time would fill my eyes with grit, sending my hair into frizzy spasms and my skirt swirling and flying. Not the best look for me.
Monday was an interesting first day of ministry. I talked to lots of groups of people. Sometimes 30 people at a time would be gathered, listening to the Gospel via the Evangecube. We went inside a few homes. Sat on straw mats in courtyards. Stopped traffic on the main road. Stopped traffic off the beaten path. There were lots of kids following us everywhere, but they were fairly well-behaved. More than once I found myself holding hands with ten kids at a time practically skipping down the road. Yes, practically.
Pastor Moses stopped to pray for a woman who was ill, sitting outside in the shade outside her home. He asked me to lay hands on her. He placed his hand on her head - I followed suit. He prayed for healing for her. Then he asked me to pray for her too. I asked what her illness was...I freaked out just a little bit on the inside when they said she had tuberculosis. As soon as we left there, I used a hand wipe and a pretty big glob of hand sanitizer. She didn't cough at all so I think I'll be ok.
We stopped outside a house to share the Gospel with a Muslim woman and her friend. Both of them said they wanted to accept Jesus. They both started to pray out loud, but stopped when the Muslim woman's husband showed up. He was not cool at all with us being there and definitely not with his wife becoming a Christian. Pastor Moses made an appointment to return on Friday and answer any questions about Christianity that they might have. Turns out that Pastor Moses was born into and raised in a Muslim home. He said he would use the Bible and the Koran to share truths about Jesus. We invited them to attend our afternoon discipleship meeting at the church. They declined.