rai·son d’être

rai·son d’être noun \ˌrā-ˌzōⁿ-ˈdetrə\ : the thing that is most important to someone or something : the reason for which a person or organization exists On October 21st, I had the privilege of participating in the first national Burundian Christian Healthcare...

Over the Borderline

Last week, I joined veteran missionaries Randy and Alice Matthewson (and Dr. Dave and Carol Crandall) on my first Congo adventure. Even the word “Congo” invokes images of mystery and danger in our culture. We think of Crichton novels and rebel militia...

Transition for Missional Millers

As you may recall, when we first landed in Burundi in January 2012, we immediately went up the mountainous road to the country’s interior. Our destination was Kibuye Hospital, an aging facility with insufficient staff but a long history of compassionate service...

A Beginning in Burenza

Last weekend, I traveled to the interior of Burundi with John and Diana Nally who are visiting from Jackson, Michigan. Bishop Deogratias joined us on our journey to Mweya and Burenza. What a privilege to hear the Nallys’ heart for Burundi and to get a clearer...

Doorbell Thieves and the Burundian Economy

Last week, a person or group made their way along our street stealing all of the doorbells. This practice is well known in Burundi and could perhaps be considered a micro-enterprise. An item is stolen from the house or, more frequently, from a vehicle while it is...

No Ebola in Burundi

Some of you have asked if we are afraid of Ebola or if it is a risk for us these days. Thank you for your concern. We are glad that there are no cases of Ebola virus infection in Burundi or in the surrounding countries. For the geographically challenged, Africa is a...

An Up-Country Review

On Sunday, we traveled up to Bugarama to join a group of Americans and Burundians serving on a Palmetto Medical Initiative team. This is the same organization with which I served in May of this year. Pastor Emmanuel asked me to take some leadership with this team...

A New Church Leader in Burundi

On Sunday, July 13, 2014, Deogratias Nshimiyimana was consecrated as the newly elected bishop of the FM Church in Burundi. This outdoor service on the campus of Hope Africa University was attended by several hundred people including church leaders, government...

Mid-Summer’s Graduation at Hope Africa

On Friday, July 4th, Hope Africa University graduated students whose ceremony had been delayed by a government inspection process in December. There were a number of Masters level graduates (in Theology, Business Administration, and Educational Leadership) as well as...

Independence Days Near and Far

On July 1st, Burundians celebrated 52 years of independence. Today, July 4th, the U.S. celebrates its 238th Independence Day. Here is some of what I saw and thought… Everybody Loves A Parade On Tuesday, Janette, Samuel, and I went downtown to see the...

Surge Soccer in the Stadium

Yesterday, we enjoyed a “friendly” match between the Surge Soccer team and the Burundian Friends of Jesus team (a second tier team in the Burundian league). Surge is a soccer ministry that brings players from the U.S. to play against local teams and share...

Medical Mission to Muramvya

Last month, I (Joel) joined 9 Americans, 3 Burundian doctors, 1 English medical student, and a bunch of Burundian translators and helpers for a 5 day medical mission in the Muramvya District of Burundi. The campaign was organized on the U.S. side by PMI, a charitable...

Remembering a Visionary Leader

On Wednesday, the Hope Africa University family paused to remember its first Rector. Bishop Dr. Elie Buconyori was one of the originators of the idea of a Christian University in central Africa that would train Africans to “face African realities”....

Video Tour of HAU Medical 2014

We hope you enjoy this 5 minute video which highlights some of the people and services offered in the two Hope Africa University clinical sites: Clinic Van Norman and Kibuye Hope Hospital. Janette spent quite a few hours putting this together and persevered through...

Official Recognition and Diplomas on the Way

After months of discussions, inspections and negotiations, the Burundian Ministry of Higher Education has finally approved the HAU medical education program. Various doctors, administrators and government officials have been involved in this process. It is a testimony...

Les Chutes

Some of you may have read my blues confession last week.  I appreciated reading your responses.  Sometimes what we need is a re-newed perspective.  That came in the form of a therapeutic trip upcountry for our  family.  It will be shared with you in parts (since we...

Confessions of a Blue Missionary

A personal update has been missing from this site for too long.  I have been waiting for the right feeling.  You know, the God is amazing, life is amazing, I am amazing feeling.  Well, it’s not happening.  Pretty much since we returned in August,  I have felt...

Praying With And For The Other

In 1995, Burundi was at war. In that context, the International Bible Society (IBS) published a tract in Burundi that asked a challenging question: Where have God’s People Gone? The large majority of Burundians claim to be Christians. This is true regardless of...

Life on my farm. (A post by Hannah)

Hi this is Hannah, Guess what, my guinea pig, Twix, just had a baby! Half of him is dark brown and black like his dad, Speedy Gonzales and the other half light brown and caramel like his mother, Twix. I am so happy! I named him Zeus, after the greek god. Zeus (the...

Making Space in My Mind

The Annual Ritual With the new year upon us, there is a tendency to want to add a healthy habit or subtract an unhealthy one. The options run from the secular (I will exercise more, I will eat more vegetables, I will stop checking my iPhone so often) to the spiritual...

Advent Resources To Help Us Wait Well

This is the season when our culture begins speeding rapidly toward Christmas. People are frantically chasing sales at stores or spending hours online looking for that perfect gift. We struggle to resist that commercial current that has become so entwined with...

The End of The Year

Reign of Christ Did you realize that this Sunday is the last Sunday of the year in the church calendar? It is called the Reign of Christ Sunday and precedes the first Sunday in Advent. (It used to be called the Sunday of Doom by one Swedish denomination. That one...

How To Develop A Doctor in Burundi

The title of this post poses a challenging question. How do you help develop a doctor in Burundi? When I have questions like: How do you prune a mango tree? or How do you execute a hammer throw with a frisbee?, I can count on Google or YouTube to help me out. But when...

Sabbathing

We were chatting with our Rwandan friend who stays very active in helping the local church.  VERY active.  I knew Joel had been reading a book about Sabbath and so I asked our friend if he was observing the Sabbath in some way.  He laughed.  We laughed.  “It is...

New Church Plant and Transitions

New Church Plant and Transitions New Church Plant We are pleased to announce our newest church planting project. The Elienai Community Church is located on the island of Fuerteventura, Canary Islands.  The recently rented a facility and also run cultural and social...

“…My Hoping Is Keeping Me Sane”

One of our favorite musicians is Steve Bell, a Canadian singer/songwriter/storyteller. I find that I come back to his music regularly for simple yet profound lyrics and musical excellence that inspires and comforts. You can check out more of Steve’s music here....

Summer to Fall 2013

Summer to Fall 2013 As many of you know we traveled for most of the summer in the USA visiting our supporting churches. We traveled from Madrid to New Jersey at the beginning of June to meet Josh who had traveled to America  two weeks earlier. During the months of...

You Lost Me At Hello

“You Lost Me At Hello” -Burundi T-shirt sighting It is always a fun distraction as I drive in Bujumbura to pay attention to the T-shirts going by on pedestrians or bike taxis or motorcycles. Many of them are jerseys for American or European sports teams or...

New Hope, New Rhythms

Finally a chance to take a breath and tell you what has been happening with the Missional Millers and Hope Africa University Medical School. After a fun and busy summer in the United States, we returned to Burundi where the second semester at HAU had already begun. We...

The Foreign Place Called Home

After a 7 week whirlwind visit to Michigan and Indiana, we are back home again in Burundi.  It has been a week of rest and catching our breath, it has been a week of piano lessons and cinnamon rolls, and it has been a week of preparing for what is to come. Our first...

Summer in USA

I am writing to you from a cabin room at the Penn –York campground. We are in the USA for partnership building like we do every summer since 2007. As most of you know we spend every summer visiting our major supporting conferences, many churches, and individuals to...

The Revolving Door

In 24 hours our family will return to the USA. We will be spending 7 weeks in Michigan and Indiana. We are excited and a bit overwhelmed by this upcoming trip. There are so many things we want to do in such a short time and we want to try to come back rested.  We look...

Comrades Running in Africa

Running In Burundi I have been an occasional runner most of my life. I enjoy the health benefits and the incredible feeling when a goal is reached (and the run is over!). When we lived in Indianapolis during our med school and residency years, we participated in the...