rotating header

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Visitors, partners, blessing, hope

One of the delights of RVA is connecting to a community of incredibly interesting, committed, diverse, creative, godly people, and pulling some of them into Bundibugyo as we go back and forth to Kenya. Last term as Luke and Caleb returned from RVA they brought a handful of senior boys with them to visit. This term they came with a whole family, one of their teachers. Alex H took a sabbatical from his job as a professor of computational biology at Duke (yes, he's pretty brilliant) . . . and because he and his wife Melissa (a teacher) attend the same church in Durham that sent us the Barts more than a decade ago, they corresponded briefly in their pre-sabbatical time with us about working at CSB. In God's providence it wasn't the best time in head-teacher transition to host short term missionaries, but they ended up, of all places, at RVA. God had many plans and we are only a small sideline in their life, but from our perspective this was a huge out-of-the-blue unexpected gift. Alex coached Caleb's JV soccer team, and taught Luke to love AP Biology. Melissa invited them over for meals. They were a huge factor in making this a great year for our boys. So before they returned to the US to complete their sabbatical with family visits, they decided to bring their kids out here and see CSB for themselves and as representatives of Blacknall, the church that funded a solid proportion of the dorm construction there.
We had a delightful few days, the kind of kindred spirit connection that comes through common friends (the Barts) and common experience (living in Africa) and common vision for the Kingdom and education and family. A whirlwind tour of a few Bundibugyo beauty-biology spots (Ngite and the Hot Springs/Ituri rainforest), as well as our work and life. But the culmination was a celebration at CSB of the partnership the Barts forged between the church and school over all those years. The students threw together a program of song and dance and worship, speeches and welcomes. We splurged for a special meal of meat for all (!). There was much laughter and enthusiasm as a group of about a dozen students very capably danced the muledu, a traditional dance for circumcision ceremonies. We believe it is so important for CSB, as the place where kids are being exposed to the wider world, to affirm their cultural roots as valid and honorable. Alex thanked the school for their welcome and affirmed the joy of seeing in bricks and cement the fruits of their fundraising years ago. At nearly the end of the evening, a massive driving-rain cold-front storm moved in. The rain on the tin roof of our assembly area made speeches impossible to hear. After a few minutes, some students spontaneously began to beat drums and sing worship songs. And what followed was a solid hour of pouring rain and pouring praise, of dimming light and raising voices, as the world turned to wet darkness the students danced and sang and sang, with all of us joining in.
Dinner was about two hours late, but that's all part of the Africa experience, right? As we left the school about 9 pm, the full moon's rays seeped through the clouds towards more rain in the west, and we saw the only moonlit rainbow I've ever seen. The promise that God will build and not destroy, that hope remains, that life will go one, was poignant in the silver light of night.


KevinandJD said...

Absolutely wonderful. Thank you.

Blueprints said...

hi guys. jenn irvine here. i can feel the smiles/joy from your note... and meeting these friends/having them there with u in bundi. almost feels tangible the joy and thankfulness wishing you all well. xx

Craig and Lisa said...

What a beautiful image! God's promises shining even in the dark of night after a driving storm. May you feel his presence and joy in this most precious season of Easter. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always. With love and thanksgiving for all of you, Craig and Lisa

wendyallison said...

what joy in my heart to read of the rain, the worship, the moonlight. Thank you Jennifer for sharing the pain, and the joy