Thursday, September 24, 2015

Intern Graduation

So tie me to a post and block my ears
I can see widows and orphans through my tears
I know my call despite my faults
And despite my growing fears
-Mumford and Sons
Last week was a pivotal week for our family.  Stephanie and I travelled to Philadelphia to the headquarters of Serge, the mission agency we have applied to for support in returning to Burundi.  The first two days were spent being interviewed and assessed. Wednesday morning, we were escorted on a tour of historic Philadelphia while the leadership team from Serge had a conference call with our team leaders in Burundi as well as the East Africa regional leaders to decide our fate.  Wednesday afternoon we were brought back to the office where we were told we had in fact been invited to join the Burundi Serge team as long-term missionaries.  
The lyrics above are from a song called The Cave by Mumford and Sons.  Somehow these lyrics worked their way into my head last week and seemed to summarize with great precision how Steph and I felt.  To be honest, I am not sure exactly what this song is about.  I am pretty sure that Mumford and Sons did not write this song about long term medical mission work.  But nonetheless, this is how we feel.  We feel like we NEED to be tied to a post, because despite the certainty that we feel regarding our calling, this is hard, and our flesh cries out “don’t do it!”.  The tears are shed in part because of our concern for the people of Burundi, but in this moment we are mostly just sad to leave the life we have come to love in Bellingham.  We know our call, we believe that God has prepared a place for our family in Burundi, and He has done this not because of our abilities or our strength, but DESPITE our faults and despite our fears. 
So, now, we move on to the next stage of our journey, support raising.  We cannot return to this work without significant, monthly support from people willing to partner with us to improve healthcare in Burundi.   And so, in the coming weeks and months we will be having conversations with many people asking for help.  Not an easy thing for us to do.  Our hope is that by next summer we will have raised the support we need to begin language training, then return to Burundi, to live, to teach, to learn, and to see how God will use us, despite our faults and fears.  
Our time in Philadelphia was wonderful.  We went through this assessment with 9 other people, applying to work on 4 different continents.  We were greatly blessed to get to know them as well as the team of people working at Serge headquarters and the Serge leadership team.  We left Philly with tremendous confidence in this organization and we truly believe that they will do everything in their power to care for us and to love and serve us well in the coming years.  

As for the title of this blog post, you may remember that during our previous 9 months in Burundi, my official title was “Intern”.  John Cropsey, our team leader, derived great joy from reminding me daily, often hourly, that I was “the intern”.  Well, now that Serge has approved us, I am pleased to report that I am no longer an intern.  I am told that this transition in my position has left John in a state of despair, as he now has no one left to boss around.  So, for anyone interested, the position of intern is now open and seeking the right whipping boy to fill these size 9 shoes.