Last week Darrell and I were officially accepted by Serge to become missionaries in Kibuye, Burundi!!! We are so excited to join the work that several other doctors and their families have begun at Kibuye Hope Hospital and to hopefully be a part of transforming medical care in Burundi through teaching medical students and caring for patients. (http://mccropders.blogspot.com)
We spent all of last week in Philadelphia interviewing with Serge (formerly World Harvest Mission)–it began with an introduction to their organization, and then we had five separate hour-long interviews dispersed over two days. Their goal is to send believers to the field who are fully prepared–spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
When we began the week, our application was for a test year in Burundi and then to return to the US to either continue to raise support in order to return to Burundi or to initiate Plan B (or C, D, or E!). However, by the middle of the week, we both realized that God was asking us to pursue this course in Burundi without the hindrances imposed by a single-year commitment. Certainly, there are certain tangible benefits to a 1-year trial, such as getting to see patients and getting into a new rhythm without the delay that language school would bring or knowing that we would not be away from family for more than 12 months. And finally, I hate to admit this (this is Darrell now), there was a certain appeal that it had for me when I chatted about it with some of my friends in the medical field, it was a way for me to say, you know, if this does turn out to be silly/crazy/epic fail insane, then hey, it’s just for a year, that’s all.
So the upsides to more of a long-term plan are to be found in the difference in approach. Long-termers (by long-term, for us, I mean 4 years in country, followed by 1 year in the US, or something close to that in ratio) will send their belongings over in a container (conex for us military types), heavily invest in language study prior to ministry/eye surgery (10 months in France for us plus 2-3 months of Kirundi study at Kibuye), build a house and buy a vehicle. There are some patently obvious advantages to being able to speak the same language as the millions of people living around oneself (although, since the eye is the window to the soul, I (Darrell again) don’t really need to talk to many of my patients to know what’s going on; uveitis patients excepted). There is also a settling in that occurs when you put down roots, and I think this has a much bigger impact on the psyche than I can imagine at the outset. Finally, we want to be all-in from the get-go, I don’t want to be on a “trial basis” or luke-warm about this, we want to see the Lord move in us and to help Burundians in Jesus’ name. I don’t want to distance myself or to cast a critical eye on the operations as though to weigh the pros and cons of it for a year; we want to embrace these people, this hospital and our team with a great big bear-hug from day one, which is, actually/sort of, today.
So here we are.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
“He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
Amen and Amen.
For more on the team we are joining please look at http://mccropders.blogspot.com, they have great information on what their goals are for the hospital and their work in Burundi.
Our Current Timeline:
July 2014 – June 2015 – Raise prayer (& financial) support & finish our commitment to the Air Force
July 2015 – Attend Missionary Training Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado
Aug 2015 – Leave for France to start French language training for 10 months.
June 2016 – Move to Burundi and begin studying Kirundi