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Never a Dull Moment Down the Red Clay Roads

Written by Bryna Morrow

(See the bottom of this post for a couple of videos!)

There is never a dull moment here. The narrow, red clay roads, full of water from last night’s rain, make the drive from our hotel to ALARM headquarters so very interesting. I don’t think I will ever tire of the drive, even though it feels as though we are “slip, slidin’ away…” The bright smiles of Burundians as they wave to us, the open-air meat markets, the children who gracefully carry eggs, limes, and well… really anything on their heads as we bump along the road. There is simply too much to take in.

Day Three of the conference continued with more teachings. The male pastors attending are warming up to the guys’ teaching, and even though yesterday it felt like pushing the first domino was difficult, by today the momentum is gaining and the men opening up, confessing sins, and telling their stories is creating a ripple effect of dominos falling. We heard stories at dinner tonight. God is doing really big things with this group of men who have gone through more pain and trauma then any of us probably will in our lifetimes combined.

There was a joint teaching to men and women on Family Planning. Stuff most of us learned in 7th grade needed to be shared with these men and women for the first time. We could tell that half-truths, rumors, and flat-out incorrect thinking were coming into the light and being revealed as the lies that they are. What is so sad is that this is how these men and women have lived, all they have known for generations. How absolutely freeing it was to see them ask questions and nod their heads, like…. “Ohhhhhhhh, so that’s how,” or “That’s why.” The women broke off afterwards for another hour and a half of questions that were answered by Dr. Gilbert (Bishop Deo’s brother). It makes me think, What is it that I have lived with for so long that I believed was true? What generational thinking follows me and distorts my perceptions? I’m prayerful that the clarifications that were received today bring freedom and healing and not shame or sadness.

Along those same lines, we did an HIV/AIDS education talk as well that continued to expose wrong thinking. Truth does that, no matter the topic. We brought a tool with us to assist in teaching these principles, called the Hope Cube. Each one was given to the ladies to train them, and then hopefully be used to train others. It was effective and taken with great excitement. This opened the door to further conversations that hopefully will help in breaking the stigma of AIDS, and the lack of knowledge around it. Again, we’re trusting God with the results.

The women’s final teaching was on parenting God’s way which is a HUGE topic to cover in an hour. We were going smoothly until we hit the section on disciplining children. That’s where we were met with quite some resistance regarding methods. It made for a lively and interesting afternoon. With every teaching we leave them with, I am comforted that God knows exactly what they need to hear, regardless of our effectiveness in presenting it. I leave it at His feet.

As a team, we are all well. Sleep and health have been steady for most. We just can’t believe we only have one more day of the conference left. Time has flown, but the red, clay roads are feeling familiar.

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