Dr. Livingston, I Presume?
By Joan Hust
Why is there a trail up to that rock with grass huts and no
people? So I walked up there. It was the famous meeting of Dr.
Livingstone and H. Stanley that took place in 1871. The
inscription on the rock: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”
Burundi is located in Central Africa. The bordering countries are
Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda. It is
about the size of the state of Maryland. Due to the many years of
war it is struggling to survive. Bujumbura, the capital, is on
the west coast of Lake Tanganyika with its many local handmade
canoe-like fishing boats with young men in shorts and no shirts
always available to give you a boat ride.
It is one of the ten poorest countries in the world. This is
largely due to civil wars, corruption, poor access to education,
and the effects of HIV/AIDS. It is densely populated. Their main
exports are coffee, tea, and sugar. I drank tea every day, and
the others on the team drank coffee. The coffee and tea is the
Let me ask you a few questions, Joan. I don’t really know anyone
that has gone to Burundi. You hear of folks that visit many
countries in Africa, but you are the first that I have heard of
that has gone to Burundi. I can’t imagine what enticed you. What
were you doing there?
I joined a Church Partnership Evangelism (CPE) team from Calgary,
Alberta, Canada. Their ministry goal is to make disciple-making
disciples and plant church-planting churches. The strategy is to
equip people in evangelism, discipleship, and cell or church
planting, and then to engage you in the task. It is a short-term
mission’s ministry with a long-term impact. The goal is to
initiate those who make professions of faith in a discipleship
course led by the lay person who brought them to the Lord Jesus.
Tell me more about who you traveled with, how much it cost, good
exchange for your US dollars, how many flights, what did you
actually do, and would you go back?
I traveled with a friend from one of the Life churches in Coeur
d’Alene that I have known not only for a long time but was on a
China mission team with me a couple of years ago. We were most
compatible, and a lot of fun. We both accept the definition of a
missionary by Oswald Chambers “A missionary is someone sent by
Jesus Christ just as He was sent by God. The great controlling
factor is not the needs of people, but the command of Jesus. The
goal is to be true to Him to carry out His plans. Go therefore and
make disciples of all the nations. Matthew 28:19
The exchange rate for the dollar was average. Some of my money
the bank would not accept. The reason being they only accepted
2003 to the present year. Some of my money was before 2003.
Accommodations, food and travel were included in the total cost of
the trip which was under four thousand. Travel was five flights,
48 hours, two days and two nights one way.
Many people doubt that short term missions are a good use of your
money. I hear this all the time. Why don’t you just give the
missionaries that are there the money, and help them? There are
some things in life that you can’t tag a dollar sign on it. Here
are four reasons that support the
need and blessings of short term missions.
Most career missionaries encourage short-term mission trips to
fields where they labor.
There is great encouragement to missionaries and the believers
they serve to have other believers come and join them in labor for
Those who spend time on a mission field become much more aware of
the needs of the career missionary and the mission work and this
results in increased giving, praying, writing encouraging letters,
and other expressions of love and support.
Short-term teams provide good fellowship for the career
missionaries and their families who experience loneliness and
Let me address the issue of just what my schedule was every day.
I got up at six a.m. and was at the breakfast table with the team
at seven thirty am for breakfast, prayer and praise. After
breakfast we were taken by van or car by a driver assigned to us
to take us to the location of the villages. We joined local
church people and walked up muddy, wet trails to villages not seen
from the road. I was introduced and I gave my personal testimony,
plan of salvation, and asked them if they would like to accept
Jesus just as I did when I was a teenager. Many came forward,
return dates were set to disciple them, and connect them with the
local church in one of the villages. We did this every day. We
had a late lunch daily that was prepared by the ladies at one of
the vacant homes. There were many vacant homes due to the war
when so many were killed. It is a difficult existence there as
the local people struggle to get their lives back together. We
were back at the center before dark, dinner was served, praise and
prayers, and off to sleep under a mosquito net that draped down
from the ceiling. Once I hit the “City of Bed Springs” I do not
remember the lights being turned off, people talking, or dogs
barking till my roommate said, “Good morning, Joan. We have
another day to tell the story of Jesus to our brothers and sisters
Would I go back?
Why would anyone ask me that question?
What do you think?