AMAT VICTORIA CURAM and the Providence of God

Total Depravity is a theological term used to describe the fallenness of man. Simply defined it states that every part of every person has been corrupted by sin. It doesn't mean that every person is as bad as they could be or that every person has committed every kind of sin. Rather it states that the corruption of mankind is total in that it touches every person as well as every part of every person.

I was reminded of this again today. Today was spent relaxing and site-seeing. Working through the jet-lag is vital if we are going to be ministering every day for the rest of our stay. So our afternoon naps were more important than others might imagine. The morning, however, was spent moving about Bujumbura, seeing the sites.

Monument Rock where Stanley met Livingstone

To be completely honest, there isn't a lot to see in Bujumbura. There are few grand monuments. The spot where Stanley met Livingstone is commemorated by a rock. The shore of Lake Tanganyika is conducive to relaxation, but like the Great Lakes in the United States, the endless water of the world's second largest fresh-water lake is somewhat featureless.

I have always found people more interesting than scenery. And there is no shortage of people in Bujumbura.

The three of us sat by the open window of a small coffee shop this afternoon, enjoyed our beverages and watched the people go by. Typically, all those who passed watched us as well. Getting stared at is just something you get used to in Africa. You get used to it or you are terribly uncomfortable all the time.

We chose the coffee shop as our perch, not because we were thirsty or tired, but because it was safe. Earlier in the day we were reminded how important it is to be on our guard all the time. Liz wanted to walk through the market. She didn't want to buy anything. She just wanted to experience the culture and possibly snap some interesting pictures.

When we arrived at one of the numerous markets in the capital, as expected there was a crush of people. We all struggled out of the cab with our backpacks, dodging the traffic and the bicycles and the general flow of humanity. We had no more than exited the cab and stood up straight, when Bonnie wheeled around suddenly. Liz was watching someone intently and Flory was ordering us back into the vehicle. Only after we quickly climbed back in and were moving again, did I find out what happened.

Children are everywhere in Burundi

One of the myriad of boys that immediately surrounded us had tried to steal from Bonnie's backpack. "I felt a tug," Bonnie explained, "and so I turned around. But I know they didn't get anything because these zippers are just too hard to open." It was only then that she saw how terribly mistaken she was. The zipper that she must wrestle with before it gives way, was undone.

A quick inventory proved that nothing had been stolen. But the first item that would have been pulled from that pocket was her passport. Bonnie began to heap abuse upon her (alleged) lack of judgment. "How could I have been so stupid? I know better than that…" and so forth and so on.

I tried to tell her that God had protected us from those who would do us harm. Our judgment, whether good or bad, had nothing to do with it. While the Latin AMAT VICTORIA CURAM (victory loves preparation) is true, that truth only goes so far. No amount of preparation adequately defends against the wickedness of people in this world. Only in the overweening providence of God is protection to be found.

Tomorrow starts the first full day of ministry. I'll be teaching the pastors in the morning and Bonnie will be teaching the pastor's wives and other women from the churches. Then I will be preaching at the opening of the conference. 

Just as the only protection from evil and power for ministry originates with God our Father, so it is also true that prayer moves his hand. So thank you for praying for us.