Things have been truly amazing here in Zambia with only three weeks left in AMT, and just when I thought things couldn't get any crazier, a day like today comes along...
After AMT I will be traveling to Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, to work with Overland and an NGO called Aid for the World. Just a quick run down on Burundi: it's a small country (about the size of Maryland) right next to Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo with about 9 million people. If you've seen the movie Hotel Rwanda you have a good idea of what happened in Burundi too, except Burundi was in civil war until 2005 (don't worry, it's safe now). Because of the genocide and lasting civil war, 46% of the population of Burundi is under 14 years of age. Today we were talking with the head of Overland and found out that from Aug. 1-8 children from the entire country (a LOT of children) will be in Bujumbura for a work project and we are expected to minister to them, possibly (probably?) hosting a conference. And by we I mean three of us lowly AMTers. Needless to say this is one of the most incredible opportunities possible and I am completely unprepared but trusting God all the way. I also know for sure that when God says He'll give us the nations He means it, and maybe even quicker than we think.
What a day right? But it didn't stop there. This afternoon there was a large festival held by Chief Mukuni (the land we're on is in his kingdom and was donated to Overland in 2004) about 30 minutes from the base. The festival attracted Zambians from all over the country who sang, danced, and played for each other according to their own native languages and traditions. More excitingly the Zambian president, Rupiah Banda, appeared and gave a speech at the main stage! Here the M.C., Banda, and other esteemed politicians paid homage to one man. These men, including Banda, described this man as “a true African” and a “role model for all” because of his years of dedicated service to his country. Who was this man? Well, according to Parade Magazine he is the world's #1 dictator; ahead of Kim Jong-Il, China's Hu Jintao, and even Sudan's Omar Al-Bashir. This man was none other than...Robert Gabriel Mugabe! I truly could not believed my eyes when he stepped up to the microphone; ironically enough last year around this time I had a dream that I was in Rwanda and Mugabe came to get me. Today was incident free though. He began his speech by stating twice that he, “knew nothing about Chief Mukuni,” but by the end praised the chief and declared him to be a leader among leaders in order to win the people. It was a very surreal experience to see this man in the flesh, especially knowing the pain and poverty he's needlessly caused his own country in the past.
So overall things have been great here in Africa! We are so excited for the trip to Burundi and the work God is laying before us there. Please pray for wisdom in planning the conference and for the Holy Spirit to be at work in us preparing messages to bring the children. Because of its political history, Burundi is in a fragile state right now, and with the huge percentage of the nation that the children make up, this conference has the potential to lay a strong foundation for future work. I'll post pictures of Fightin' Bob and the conference soon, thank you all for your continued prayers!