Burundi or Bust

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

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Quick Q&A

Q: “Hey Darrell and Becky, what are you up to this weekend?”
A: We are so glad you asked! We fly to Philadelphia on Saturday (with Shiloh) to begin our week long interview with Serge (our hopeful missions sending agency)

Q: “Wow! Who is watching the other 5 monkeys?”
A: My parents and our nanny. Please pray for them!

Q: “What will happen at this loooooooong interview?”
A: The first two days will be hours of interviewing, counseling, and meeting with a psychologist. We took several personality and psychology tests so we will talk through those with the doc. On Wednesday Serge will meet, pray, and decide if we are healthy enough in our marriage and walk with the Lord to take this step. Wednesday afternoon we find out if we are accepted. Thursday and Friday we will have orientation on fundraising and training.

Q: “Soooo, that brings me to my next question, do you get paid by the hospital in Burundi to be there? I mean, that can’t be much money.”
A: In fact, it is zero money. We will spend the next 12 months sharing what we are doing and if people want to contribute and financially support us they will be able to do that through Serge. We will live purely on donations.

Q: “How can we pray for you as you take this HUMUNGOUS step?”
A: We would love for you to pray for Serge to have wisdom in their decision making. For Darrell and I to feel spiritually refreshed after a week away and that we can come home to our kids and be renewed in our efforts to parent them and point them to the Lord. For me, Becky, to not be anxious about leaving the kids but to just entrust them to my parents and the Lord. And lastly, please pray for our kids to have peace while we are gone and to not be anxious about our absence. Thank you for your prayers, they make a difference.

Farewell Facebook, Hello Happiness

For a while now I have been debating dropping out of the Facebook scene, but I kept analyzing the idea and changing my mind. Finally, I realized that it came down to my lack of trust in God. (I know, really?, yes…really) Do I trust God that the friends I need to be in touch with I will be connected to? Do I trust that the people who need to pray for us and our trip to Burundi will know what is going on without Facebook? Yes, I trust God to provide those things without Facebook. All that said, I absolutely think there are valuable aspects to Facebook. For me, I had so little self-control when it came to social media that I felt like I had to give it up. The morning I canceled my account I read Matthew 5:30 “And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Here is a poem I wrote when I was struggling with the decision.

I want to Hear:
I want to hear my children when they call out my name.
I want to hear them cry when they are in pain.
I want to hear their whispers, their giggles and their cries.
I was to see them growing and catching fireflies.
I want to see their little eyes light up with new found joy.
I want to see them running, creating, and inventing a new toy.
I don’t want my texting to take up all my time.
I don’t want my kids thinking they aren’t more important than a chime.
I don’t want Facebook to steal away the years,
for my virtual world to matter more than wiping away real tears.
So off goes the data and shutdown on my phone
to do what really matters and let my love be known.

It has been a week since I pulled the plug and the most shocking aftermath is how happy I am. Seriously, I am multiple point on a happiness chart happier.
If you have been thinking of doing it, then DO IT. It is awesome. You will think of Facebook status updates like this:

This is so great! I feel so free!!!!!!!!!!
Wow, I can’t believe how much I don’t care about my phone now!
I am so happy not knowing what is going on with everybody!!!!