We landed in Burundi six months ago today on January 18.

In that time we have celebrated 5 of our 6 birthdays (maybe Hannah’s doesn’t count because it was on Jan 17 in the air and she received no party or presents…we still need to redo that one I think).  We have lived in 2 countries, 4 cities, 5 residences for longer than a week…and have one more move to make.  We have worked on 2 languages, met all new friends, gotten accustomed to driving (okay – only Joel) among pedestrians and bicycles.  We have learned how to buy groceries in French, cook with new spices and less options, and eat plantains, beans, rice, cabbage, marakuga, and japanese plums.  We have experienced working in the hospital, teaching medical students, teaching our own children and learning how to be self taught.  We have learned to live with people working in our home much of the day.  We have cried, laughed, read, played, cried and laughed some more.  We have been bit by wood bees, bed bugs, LOTS of mosquitos, jiggers (they lay eggs by the edge of your toenail) and mango flies (their larvae grow under your skin).  We have slept under mosquito nets and learn to depend on filtered water.  We have learned to wash our clothes by hand and hang them out to dry.  The girls have worn more skirts during this time than in the rest of our entire life.  We have worn through many pairs of flip flops and experienced the joys of chronically dirty feet.  The children have made a thousand craft projects.  We have learned to live with geckos on our walls, windows, ceilings and occasionally in our bathtub.  We have accepted the looks, stares and yells of “muzungu” as part of our life here.  We have drank Burundian tea, eaten MANY bananas, and learned to sit and make time for relationships.  We have enjoyed the beauty of the lush greens of tea plants and banana trees on the hillsides, the radiance of tropical flowers in our yard and the dark majestic Congo mountains over Lake Tanganyika on a clear day.   We have accepted the frustrations of poor internet and the disconnect from friends stateside as part of life.  We have accepted the joys and struggles of no water and no electricity for periods of time.  We have packed and unpacked 12 suitcases too many times.  We have seen hippos playing in the lake, we have fed giraffes from our hand, we have touched the rough hide of  young elephants.  We have mourned family far away, friends and life that goes on without us, and (for Sam) our van that was sold before we left.  We have prayed, memorized scripture and heard stories of God’s plan, His faithfulness and His love for His children.  We have surrendered again and again to God’s call of obedience.

We celebrate six months.  Thank you for still remembering and praying for us after six months.  Six months of JOY, pain, uncertainty, and wonder.  Six months filled with God’s presence, God’s comfort, and God’s love.  Six months.