What an incredible summer of missions! Team Berryman, along with many wonderful team members, just completed a 25 day trip to Burundi and Rwanda with E3 Partners. I'll be summarizing the "numbers" in a later post.
For now, let me start with our first Saturday in Burundi by telling you about my first visit to the main marketplace in Bujumbura in January 2008. I'll never forget walking past cars and buses, dodging motorbikes and bicycle taxis while busy shoppers and hawkers brushed past us. In the short distance from the parking lot to the shops, I felt assaulted by a hundred different impressions in as many steps. At the main entrance we came upon a large, white, buggy-like contraption. I looked inside the buggy and, quite honestly, was horrified and frightened at the sight of a child with a grotesquely large, misshapen head lying there covered in a blanket. There was a sign describing the child's condition - hydro-encephalitis - and asking for money. I noticed a small basket with a few coins and bills in it before my eyes filled with tears and I had to look away. I nearly knocked people over in my haste to hurry away from that gut-wrenching sight.
Fast forward 18 months...Today we were asked to pray for a woman's healing from hydro-encephalitis. I instantly felt pangs of guilt and thought of that poor child I had seen before. When we entered the small bedroom, I realized that this was the very same child I had seen in the marketplace. Except she wasn't a child. She was actually a 20-yr old young woman named Adele. Her body size and shape were child-like and out of proportion due to hydro-encephalitis she had contracted at 9 months old.
Surprisingly, I wasn't terrified at seeing her. Instead, I was really glad God allowed me to see her again, this time through His eyes of compassion. We found out that Adele knows and loves Jesus. She sang her favorite songs to us, including "How Great Thou Art." Adele has an incredibly joyful smile and great faith that she will be healed someday. Several of us prayed for her complete healing. While we were inside praying, a crowd of people gathered outside. Steven, Michael and Randy went outside to share the Evangecube with them. Several people prayed to receive Christ. We are very thankful that God was glorified both in Adele's strong faith and in the gift of salvation received by many. Jeremiah 29:11 states that God knows the plans He has for us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us hope and a future. He clearly has a plan for Adele's life. It's not my job to figure out that plan. But today God showed me a glimpse of that plan by replacing my horror with grace and my fear with love as He used Adele to move me one more step toward becoming like Him. Isn't that just the way it should be?