They Burned a Car on Thursday

With any luck (as Calvin would say), this will be my last post from Africa. The bags are packed, we've settled the bill, and we're sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Dorado waiting for Alain (Flory's assistant) to arrive and take us to the airport.

I will be posting more videos and pictures from Africa in the coming days to be sure. I've tried over and over again to upload a couple of videos and some pictures using the hotel internet, but the power rarely stays on for the hours it takes to compensate for the glacially slow upload speeds.

Last night we said goodbye to Flory. We discussed next year, made a few plans, talked and laughed. He watched us play To Court the King, but we couldn't coax him to play. He did lay hands on my dice, but it didn't help. Liz was the big winner last night.

As we sipped our Coke Lights and relaxed, I discovered why we never left Bujumbura. We had been scheduled to travel 60 km south to a small church in the country on Friday. The trip, however, had been canceled at the last minute. When we asked Flory about it, he stated that most of the church would be working in the fields. So the visit was postponed until Sunday. I was to preach during the worship service, and we would all be visiting with members from the church. But on Saturday, Flory informed me that we would be staying in Bujumbura instead of traveling south. He didn't really say why, but now I know, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.

The last presidential election results were contested by certain elements in Burundi. Evidently only one candidate was on the ballot. I don't pretend to know the intricacies of Burundian politics. But I know enough of Central Africa in general to not be surprised that there are rebel forces in the country very unhappy with the voting in general and the results in particular.

Evidently, and here's where it gets a little fuzzy, the president was traveling to the south last Thursday. At least the President did somethingsomewhere that made the news. To show their displeasure with the election results, the rebels hijacked two cars and burned them—one on Thursday and one of Friday. This act of civil disobedience occured on the same road we would have been traveling. When Flory was informed of the rebel activity Tursday night, he canceled our Friday trip. He didn't want us anywhere near such a potentially dangerous area. As it turns out, this was a wise decision. We would have been traveling that road when the rebels decided to strike. It very easily could have been us.

This is just another example of God's providential care over us. Certainly I'm grateful to Flory for being careful regarding our welfare. But in reality it was God in his mercy who provided a protector for us, a member of his body to watch out for the weaker members—in this case, Bonnie, Liz and me.

As we sit in the lobby and wait for our ride to the airport, I am at ease. While any number of things can go horribly wrong between here and home, I can rest in the knowledge of God's providential care for us.