I'm sitting here in the café at the Hotel Dorado in muggy Bujumbura, Burundi, reflecting on the events of the previous day and the events of the day before us. Amy will be taken to the clinic today for some initial orientation. I'm traveling to Rugombo tomorrow to start the conference.
The highlight of yesterday was the extended witnessing I did on the plane. The first flight (from Washington to Addis Ababa) was 12 hours long. Me being me, I roamed the plane and struck up a number of conversations. I had the joy of speaking to a number of individual missionaries and at least one missions group.
But it was on the flight from Addis Ababa to Bujumbura that I had the opportunity to share the Gospel. I was seated next to a pretty young woman from Austria. She was about my daughter's age. Me being me, we quickly struck up a conversation.
The Gospel came up when, after a wide-ranging discussion of Icelandic horses, mules (of course), language, and so forth, I asked her if she had a young man. She said no. "Men don't want to act like men anymore. They are all metrosexual and in touch with their feelings." I asked her what she wanted in a man. She mentioned the fidelity of her father to her mother, a marriage of 40+ years. I told her that Bonnie and I had been married almost 33. Then I told her that the only way to achieve such fidelity was to have a sense of permanent and unchanging right and wrong. And from there we went into the good news of Jesus Christ.
We talked about that for a long time. When I was finished, I asked her if she had ever heard this before, she said, "no—never." It was like nothing she and ever heard from the churches in Austria. They were places of fear. She said my story of forgiveness was beautiful. I asked her what was stopping her from trusting Christ right now. The problem was, she just couldn't wrap her mind around the concept of faith, of trust, of reliance on the work of Christ.
We ended the conversation as the plane landed. I gave her Washington County Bible Church's web site and told her to start with the sermons on Mark. I told her if she wrote me (I didn't give her my email address on purpose so she would have to go to the web site to get it), I would send her a copy of my book. She seemed genuinely interested in that and even excited. We'll see what happens. Her name is Christine if you want to pray for her.
Other than conversation, not much has gone right. I fell pretty hard the day I left and wrenched my neck and back. I've fallen twice since I've been here and banged up my left hand pretty badly. We have one lost bag from the trip with ALL of Amy's clothes. ("I know I should have divided them between the suitcases…I just forgot") The money we wired down here for expenses won't be ready when we thought it would be.
Still, I got to give the Gospel to an open heart yesterday. So that made it a good day, all things considered.
Oh yeah, Flory thinks I've lost weight from last year and that my Swahili is much improved. That's good too! :-)