Arrived!

In the process of getting out the door this morning for the hymn-sing at our church (which starts 10 minutes before the actual service), I ran downstairs to get something . . . and noticed several emails from Kevin!!  Needless to say, we did NOT arrive on time for the hymn sing – but I was very happy to have a few more details beyond the text message I had received previously saying that Kevin had arrived.

So . . . a recap of the flight . . . and a few interesting details that I didn’t know:

  • Six of the 11 team members met at the Calgary airport on Thursday evening (this includes Kevin, the interns, and team members from Calgary and Lethbridge, I believe)
  • In Calgary, the airline tagged their luggage . . . then had to go find the luggage in the baggage room to re-tag it to Burundi instead of just to Ethiopia.  They thought it was the same country!
  • The plane was two hours late out of Calgary, so the Calgary crew missed meeting the others to head to downtown London for a few hours as planned (they got to wait at the airport instead 😦 ) – but they did meet the German team member by accident in the waiting lounge a couple hours before the flight (and the others as they boarded).
  • In London, 2 team members were informed that their second carry-on was not allowed and had to be checked.  The whole team was at their maximum of 2 bags each by the end of the trip. (Hope they were picked up with a BIG van!)
  • They met their architect in Addis, as planned.
  • After Addis, they had ANOTHER stop in Kampala, before finally landing in Bujumbura
  • Kevin slept 1 1/2 hours of the last 2 hour flight – I think he needed that!
  • In Bujumbura, they were met by Painito (the ministry representative) and his wife
  • After settling in the guest house and having lunch, they finally picked up the last member of their team, the architect from the Uganda eMi office.
  • After supper they all “crashed” . . . but not before several of them arranged to get up early to run the next morning (there’s apparently a few other runners on the team!).  No word on whether they actually made it up in time to start the day that energetically 😉

Excerpts from Kevin:

It sounds like a great team. It’ll be exciting to see how this very different and eclectic group will be used by God in Burundi . . .

Just listened to a emotional song by Twila Paris. Maybe it was the malaria medication, but it really hit me. I interpreted it as a couple holding each other up, encouraging and praying for each other, through thick and thin. I was wondering how it applied to my relationship with Michele. It was about this point in the flight a year and a half ago to Sudan when I was lacking about the same amount of sleep that I was hit by something else that was had me questioning my motivations for EMI, etc.

I find myself doing too much “winging it” while team leading. It seems to be working, but I need to make sure everyone is included, and is properly initiated into the team and into this mission’s experience. Just because it is becoming second nature to me doesn’t mean others even know how to react to culture shock. We were talking about how Africans think about money, and I had to give my perspective to balance out the discussion. I should inject into the conversation more like this, but it’s so much easier to go along with it and not take it to the next level.

I’m a little worried how I’m going to respond to Painito, since I haven’t had many trips that have had an African ministry host without a western person there also to bridge the culture gap. I need to be sensive to his third culture (he’s a missionary to Burundi from Nigeria), as well as the local Burundi culture, and the team members’ own cultures . . .

We are sleeping in luxury with our own bedrooms in the guesthouse, but there’s no fans in the rooms and it is too blistering hot to go to sleep. But I’ll probably be able to sleep anyway because I’m so tired.

So, please pray.  For the team to be refreshed and ready to go.  For Kevin to lead with sensitivity and wisdom.  For Kevin to be intentional about leading this team.  For cultural issues (though not necessarily cultural differences) to be minimized.  And for the team’s ability to get a good night’s sleep despite the heat!

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