Rutana to Gitega

Top Speed: 83.9 km/h (booyah!)

Distance Traveled 69.0 km

Calories Burned: 2083

Honey, I’m home!

Today was a good day. Hard, but good. It was a bit harder to get out of bed this morning than yesterday, but get up and out we did, all 10 of us! Simon, Dean, and the rest of the team were all ready to go this morning. Painkillers optional at this point.

It was a tough slog for Dean and Simon, but they made it, the whole 69 km. Praise be to God. Again, they were an inspiration to the rest of us.

My mind’s a bit of a train-wreck right now, so bear with me. Here’s some point-form thoughts on the day.

  • We have begun to stop and preach the name of Jesus to the crowds that gather around us. At one point today we were surrounded by over 100 people, many of them children, that heard the good news.
  • We are an absolute spectacle out here. People normally laugh when they see abazungu (white people) anywhere on their own, and here there are 10 of us. Riding bikes. In skin tight, outrageously colored outfits. With bare thighs. We look ridiculous according to most westerners, so here, we might be the highlight of someone’s month. “Did you see that crazy muzungu (white person) riding that crazy bike with those crazy clothes?” We definitely can’t escape the attention.
  • The team is really gelling together in terms of support, attitude and grace towards one another. A tough day for me with my back and shoulders bothering me, and Dean’s tough right knee, but we always had at least one or two of the others keeping us company. It means a lot.
  • Every kilometer for your glory Jesus. Prayed it almost every time today.
  • We had a wicked downhill stretch, where I clocked my solid 83.9 km/h. That was awesome. Think of how much faster I’d be able to go if I hadn’t lost over 40 lbs since getting here! I think I prefer the lost weight, next to the lost speed however.
  • I’ve eaten more food in the past 3 days than I have in the past 3 weeks. Flatulence is the name of the game.
  • Approximately 5,000 people saw the Jesus film last night. Over 200 came to first-time decisions about their belief in Jesus Christ!

I’m home, and got to see Nadine. Her and Melissa have been organizing and cleaning the clinic like madwomen getting ready for the inspection today. I got home in time to actually participate and be present! I just had to work really hard not to let some bottom-gas go in front of the Provincial Chief Physician.

The inspection went incredibly well! Thank you to all who have been praying. We’ll be getting a report from the physician in two weeks, and we expect good things. Another obstacle to opening vanquished by the Guenthers (and God, mostly God)! Pictures to come later when I’m not biking around the country like a crazy person!

So, a bit about Gitega that maybe you haven’t heard yet. I’ll talk a bit about how BYFC got the land that is now used for Homes of Hope, Future Hope School, and the Shammah Medical Clinic.

Land here is at a premium. It’s estimated that Burundi only has enough land to sustain a population of 3 million people. Currently it is at 10.3, and is projected to go upwards of 18 million in the next 15 or so years. 90% of all ongoing legal matters pertain to land disputes. What makes things more difficult is that you actually don’t own the land you have until you build on it.

So, many years ago, Freddy, the national director of Burundi Youth for Christ, went to the governor of Gitega, a muslim man, and asked for land. He was asked do you have money to build? Freddy said, perhaps with a bit of faith or a bit of misleading, “yes I do.” So he got the land, without bribery of any kind, that was to become Homes of Hope. Without a penny to do build anything on it.

It wasn’t until after when a British guy named Geoff (who was the mastermind behind last year’s Bike for Burundi across the United States) organized a 1000+ mile ride across Great Britain that ended up raising $85,000 that BYFC was able to use to start Homes of Hope. God’s timing and provision is perfect in every way!

We hope this bike tour has similar life-changing results. Not just this year, but in the years to come. We are the first of many. This will become the annual Tour du Burundi, and it will give men and women across the globe the opportunity to participate in something special, to raise money for world-changing causes, and to have their lives changed for the better.

You’re interested? I hope so!

God bless you and keep you, and as always, keep us in your prayers. It was truly amazing that Dean and Simon completed the day’s journey, and we want to say the same thing tomorrow, a 93 km ride!

Share, re-post, and pray. Talk to you tomorrow, Lord willing!

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