Today is an unscheduled day of rest. We had intended to travel to one of the country churches here in Burundi. But the pastor informed us that few people would be there as today was the day to work in the fields.
So instead of hanging out in the cramped hotel, we took a taxi to one of the better resorts on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. The admission to the beach is free. But we all ordered a drink (two cokes and a bottled water) and split a pizza, just to give us a little bit of legitimacy.
This is evidently where the mzungu (white people) hang out. There is a family from France enjoying the swimming pool and a man from Italy watching the news. There are some Africans here as well, but they are evidently the wealthier members of the populace.
I confess it's nice to sit here by the beach, enjoying the breeze, listening to the surf. We have several hours before we go see the famous Burundian Drummers rehearse. This is the one experience that I specifically requested, and I'm really looking forward to it.
There is free Internet here and it's reasonably fast. Thus, I'm taking the opportunity to update my blog. You can't imagine the frustration of trying to stay in touch with wireless Internet that is only marginally faster that dial-up. I thought that was just the Internet of Burundi, but evidently I was mistaken. At any rate, I have my iPhone and portable keyboard with me, so I'm taking advantage of the situation.
Last night Bonnie, Liz and I had dinner at Flory's house. While we were there, Flory spoke of the events of the previous day, when my teaching of the brothers officially ended. The teaching ended just a bit early as there was some church business to discuss. Since this didn't concern us, we went back to the hotel. Evidently, before they discussed the business of REMAC, they took some time to provide feedback.
I suspected that the teaching went well. I could see the men taking copious notes, nodding their heads as they wrote. But I had no idea of how God used our time together. Here are some of the comments Flory relayed to me:
"I knew that we couldn't lose our salvation, but I had no idea that the indwelling of the Spirit was also permanent."
"For the first time, I feel I can talk to the Pentecostal pastors and show them their errors."
"The illustration of walking in the Spirit opened my eyes. This is the key to living godly."
"Now I understand what tongues are for and why we don't have them today."
To be honest, I don't remember all the comments he shared because after the first few I was completely overwhelmed. Plus, the number of topics we discussed were many and varied. For while I had an outline to guide my teaching, whenever anyone asked a question, we stopped to discuss it. I figured that these men knew what needed to be discussed better than I did.
For example, one pastor asked about a man having more than one wife. While that isn't even on the radar of people from North America, it is a problem here, especially when you head into the deeper parts off the rainforest. I found it interesting that no one was really sure if bigamy was actually against the law in Burundi or Congo DR.
It took a little bit to sort that question out. The answer isn't as simple as some would make it. But when we were done tossing it around, the men were satisfied that they could handle that topic with confidence.
I also taught on the dispensations: what they are, what are their characteristics, what are their purpose. As I showed them how each of the dispensations enhanced the glory of God. You could almost see the light bulbs going off over their heads. When I asked if they had ever been taught this before, to a man they said no. Usually when I asked that question, there would be at least one or two men who knew of the topic at hand. But this was brand new material to them all. When I asked them if they understood, they all responded with an enthusiastic "yes" and began talking excitedly among themselves.
Forgive me for rambling a bit, but the last several days have been intense and overwhelming. It's hard at the moment to put my thoughts together in an organized stream. As I sit here by the shore, enjoying God's creation, they just seem to be tumbling out willy-nilly. But I trust you can sense the magnitude of what God accomplished here in Bujumbura this last week.
Thank you so much for your prayers, your financial support, and your encouraging words. As you partnered with us for the furtherance of the Gospel, the Lord has seen fit to honor all our efforts.
The only regret I have is that you can't be here on the beach with me.