It's hard to be away from Burundi. For the past eight months, we (the McLaughlin family) have been state-side and our teammates have been mostly in Burundi. This is the first time we have been on separate continents since we formed our team in 2007, and I was a bit unprepared for how it would feel. Our team has really grown together over the years, in a way that only shared experiences can do, and it hurts to be away during this difficult season in Burundi's history. We look forward to being reunited soon.
But in the meantime, our season in the US has also been a tremendous blessing. It's been a chance for us again to remember all the many people, prayers, and support that send us and keep us in Burundi. It's a reminder that the work we do at Kibuye as a small community is only possible because of the help and sacrifice of a huge community back here. And it's been our privilege to live amongst that huge community these past months. Our family, our friends, and our church have welcomed us with open arms, supported us, and have asked us probing and informed questions that have helped us to share and process our time. It's been refreshing to return to a community that KNOWS us, that understands what we are doing and why we are doing it, and follows along with all the news and stories we share.
It's been a reminder and beautiful demonstration of how the body of Christ is supposed to work. Not all are called to leave home and move to Africa. Not all are called to be doctors or teachers. Not all are called to learn new languages and cultures. But we are all called to bring God's kingdom, and that happens most beautifully when we work together. Part of God's work of bringing redemption to a broken world is healing the sick and sharing the Gospel. And part of God's redemptive work is growing and strengthening relationships, loving each other, praying for each other, supporting one another, sharing joys and sorrows, sacrificially giving.
We were welcomed into this community in the US so well, bringing greetings and stories from our team in Burundi. And now, this same community is sending us out in love and prayer to return to our team and hopefully be a blessing to them. One body, one work, all around the world. Thank you, friends.
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" --Psalm 133:1
"By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." -- John 13:35