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HEATHER & JASON FADER
To say I don’t like driving, or rather being a passenger, in cars in Burundi is an understatement. It terrifies me. During my first African driving experience, many years ago, I was listening to the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I distinctly remember listening to the part of the book quoted above and thinking, “The fact that I could die at any moment is at the forefront of my mind, this driving is insane and if we make it to our destination it will be a miracle." The majority of the roads in Burundi (approx. 92%) are not paved. They are red dirt roads, rocky and rutted and slippery when wet. They are not heavily traveled by vehicles, which makes me feel safer, but driving on them leaves me feeling nauseous and tense as we bump, and bounce and I try to brace myself from hitting my head on the ceiling.
Last month our family decided to go to Bujumbura for the medical school graduation and a little R&R. We left Kibuye as soon as the sun was up, and it was still morning when we began our decent towards the capital. The road was wet from recent rain and as we rounded a sloped curve of the road our car began to swerve. I heard my husband say, “I don’t have control” as he tried his best to straighten us, but we slid into oncoming traffic. Our car slammed into the side of a smaller car and scraped along its side until we came to a stop, in the wrong lane, facing a blind curve. We quickly shuffled our kids out of the car and across the street, afraid that another car would come around the curve and strike ours. By God’s provision three of our national partners were driving in a car behind us, they pulled over and came to our aid, helping Greg communicate with the other driver, who only spoke Kirundi. They stuck with Greg throughout the entire, complicated, multi hour process of negotiations and paperwork. Other teammates in another vehicle were also heading to the capital for graduation and soon arrived to help. Our youngest was a bit shaken, as expected, but as we helped him retell the story of what happened we couldn’t help but highlight the wonder of the situation. Never before have we had teammates and national partners traveling behind us and available to help. We lost control before coming to the steep drop offs. The car in the other lane was a small one, not a tractor trailer or a bicycle, and it was not a head on collision. No one was injured. No one was walking along that side of the road to be struck. And there was an area across the road where it was safe for us to stand and for other vehicles to pull over. We do not know why we were in an accident, but, for being in an accident the situation could not have been better, and we see God’s provision over the situation, and on the peace that we all felt as we climbed back into cars and finished our trek to the capital. The car, which has been named the Black Mamba, is now all fixed up and sporting 4 new tires with good tread.
ERIC & BRITTANY PEDERSEN
"This month we returned from our sabbatical. This was such a vital and refreshing time for us! We transitioned to Madison and are finally finding our place in this new environment. Last week we started back on campus and we are excited and full of vision for the future. God has really paved the way for us! All the students seem so grateful to have staff come alongside them in leading their chapter. They have been open to our leadership and mentoring right from the start! Please pray for wisdom and direction from God as we make decisions in the next weeks about who will lead small groups in the fall. Pray for God to provide new leaders because as Jesus said, "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few!"
JULIO & KATIE ISAZA
A prayer request for April: Pray for the National Covenant Youth Association and their new national project, "Be Peace, Make Peace," which will equip 30 youth and over 150 children to be agents of peace in the town of El Bagre. Pray for protection for the leaders, for wisdom. Many Blessings and greetings to Zion
NILS & ERIKA CLAUSON
A belated Feliz Navidad from the Clauson’s posted on Facebook after the Zion Messenger deadline. Their message: We give thanks to God for His amazing gift of Christ with us! We pray Christ's presence will be evident to all of you and will fill you with hope, peace, joy and love this Christmas. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this." Isaiah 9:6-7
We in Athletes in Action have launched our new program, SixFit, accompanying women in search of optimal health. We have spent the last months developing powerful material and a program that helps push women towards health and excellence in ALL areas of life: combining physical, emotional, and spiritual exercises. Pray for us as we begin this transformational journey with women. Pray for wisdom as we point them to Jesus as the ultimate source of real, optimal health. We as a team really sense that God is on the verge of something new that will radically transform Spain.