Day Four: Gitega to Muyinga

Distance Travelled: 96.1 km

Saddle Time: 4 hours, 28 minutes

Total Ascent: 1,315 m

Calories Burned: 3,443

Average Speed: 21.3 km/h

Max Speed: (Haha, just kidding, Mom!)

After having a great day in Gitega visiting the various BYFC projects, and getting to spend time with my wife and spend a night in my own bed (I only have two left in Gitega before our move to Uganda!), we were up and ready this morning to tackle another day. 

I’m not sure if I’m getting repetitive, but this was just such a great ride today! As I’m riding myself into shape, the climbs are getting easier and I’m able to put out more power into my bike. For the others, some are feeling stronger, and some are feeling the toll of 392 kilometres over the last four days. 

It is funny though, a few times today during some of our climbs, I felt as though I was keeping a strong pace, and then all of the sudden a rider would pass me. If I’m being honest, not just pass, but blow by me! I’ve been challenged by the high calibre of riders and athletes we have out here this year. 

Some of those challenges helped me find another gear, one I didn’t think I had, and I was able to keep on climbing. 

That’s the beauty of taking on challenges; sometimes you end up meeting them! It’s also amazing to get exposed to people who push you, stretch you, and make you go “wow!” 

Yet, I never would have been able to take part if I had just sat at home. Some of us desperately want to avoid challenges and stressors in our lives, making most of our decisions out of the context of fear, instead of faith. 

In coming to Burundi I have been blown away by the amazing people I’ve been privileged to encounter. Just when I think “hey, I’m doing pretty good,” I meet someone who humbles and challenges me. 

Last night, we had the privilege of hearing Simon Guillebaud (the tour organizer, and the person God used to call us to Burundi) talk about his life story. If you think Nadine and I were crazy for selling our cars, giving away our furniture and moving to Burundi, well then let me introduce you to the man who I think is nuts! (You can check out, and follow, his blog HERE). 

In the past 15+ years of serving in Burundi, Simon has experienced death threats, he’s had a grenade thrown into his home, driven through roads laden with rebel ambushes, and he even first arrived in Burundi with only $300 USD to his name! Simon lived through it all, went on to fund Great Lakes Outreach, and has helped to support and develop Burundian leaders who are transforming this nation. 

Tonight, we got to speak with two other heroes of mine, Hermes and Passie. An incredible Burundian family, they gave up their lives in the capital to move to the middle of nowhere to work with marginalized people. They spent years of their lives showing love to a people group called the Batwa, to show them that they were worth being loved, and to share life with them. Years later, the Batwa community is farming, constructing and living in their own homes, and have access to medical treatment. 

Echoing our current circumstances, Hermes and Passie were called to leave the work they were passionately doing, and the community they had loved and shared with so much, to move up into northern Burundi, to witness to Muslims living here in Muyinga. 

I’m doing everything I can to live a life based on faith and not fear, yet these two examples of incredible people just seem so crazy to me! They challenge me to my core that I’m not doing enough, I could do better somehow, I could rely on God more. 

If I had stayed home, decided to keep on building my savings up and invest in a retirement plan, and buy a house, and… the list could just go on, I never would have been able to experience these challenges and growth. 

We can always find those who can challenge and blow us away, but only if we step outside of our comfort zone. It is only by stepping into difficult situations that we can be equipped to overcome them. 

How are you challenging yourself? How are you exposing yourself to people who will make you grow, become more like the person God designed you to be? 

You could stay home. Stay inside. Be safe. 

Or you could live by faith. Go for it. Be adventurous. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ll go with option #2. I’m going to get on my bike tomorrow and grind out some more climbs. I’m going to move to Uganda and see what the Lord has in store for Nadine and I there. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for those who can challenge and inspire me to do better. 

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the photos. We’re almost done the tour here, this year it is just six days as regionalized violence has had us alter our route for Days 6 and 7. Day 5 is intact tomorrow, but Day 6 will be a completely new ride for us all as we head back to Bujumbura. 

Please continue to pray for safety as we go on, and for health. 

Lots of love, 

Josh.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Day Four: Gitega to Muyinga

  1. Don’t feel too bad about getting left in the dust. Some of those guys have super fast and swanky bikes that help out a bit 😉

  2. Josh, the latest edition of ECHO News was in our mail box tonight with the article about the garden project that you and Claude started at Shammah. I’m grateful to have met you at TdB 2014. You inspire me with your willingness to just say “YES” and pursue God to where ever you and Nadine are led to go. I hope and pray that our paths will again cross somewhere in this amazing world.

    Rod

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