Sunday, September 30, 2012


I can finally post about Matt's trip to Africa!! I was too scared to make it known, on the world wide web, that my husband was out-of-town for 9 days. However, he is now home, and I can post all about his trip...yay!
Two Fridays ago, on September 21st, Matt met up with a team of 11 other people from our church, Watermark, to head out on a mission trip to Africa...Cibitoke (Burundi) to be exact. Our church partners with ALARM to help share the gospel with/bring about heart change in the people and leaders of Africa. The Watermark team had the opportunity to help ALARM head-up a leadership conference in Cibitoke. 6 men and 6 women from Watermark made up the whole team. The men had about 60 African pastors attend their part of the conference (awesome!), and I'm not sure how many women attended the other part of the conference. I know they had great attendance though which was such an answer to prayer. Matt said some of the attendees of the conference would walk 10 miles every morning AND home every night just to be there. They did that for four days straight. Isn't that just incredible and heartbreaking all at the same time?!? 20 miles a day!!!
Here are some pics of Matt's send-off, his trip, and his homecoming celebration. And don't miss the videos in this post...they are amazing!!!
Caroline took a picture of us at the airport. We were just about to say goodbye for 9 days (the longest we've been apart since we've been married insert violin strings here):
 Big kisses and hugs for Daddy:

 Bye bye daddy...we'll miss you!!
 Matt left DFW on Friday at 4 p.m. He then flew 9 hours to Amsterdam, boarded another plane to fly 7 hours to Kenya, then finally boarded another plane to fly 4 hours (I think?) to Bujumbara, Burundi. They spent the night/half of the next day in Bujumbara and then drove a couple of hours to Cibitoke (pronounced chee-bee-tokie). The travel was just grueling! But the team made it to Burundi safe and sound. The conference lasted 4 days in Cibitoke then the team came back to Bujumbara for another day/night, then they headed back home. The loooong travel made up a lot of the trip.
I stole these next pics & videos from Matt's phone!
This is the church Watermark is helping to build in Burundi...Matt and the team spent half a day helping the Africans move bricks:
Matt said this was a typical scene in the middle of the road:
 Precious precious picture of some of the kids in Bujumbara:
 Matt, and a few other guys from his team, had the incredible opportunity of going to one of the "local" schools in Cibitoke to share the gospel. Matt said the kids were SO excited to hear what they had to say. They also LOVED the dum-dums the guys passed out.
Here is a pic of the class Matt spoke to (can you find Matt?...hahaha):
 Picture of the school...made mostly out of mud, straw, and bricks:
Okay, this is my FAVORITE video Matt brought home. Their first day in Bujumbara, before they headed to Cibitoke, Matt and 4-5 other members of the team were out exploring the city. They happened to stumble upon this small church (it was Sunday) and got to listen to praise and worship. The Africans are singing "Here I Am To Worship" in their native language,'s the most beautiful thing I've ever heard, and I can't listen to it without tearing up. I can't imagine what it must have been like to hear it in person:
Another amazing video of the Africans praising God! They are singing "How Great Thou Art". Matt said a group of the conference attendees would praise and worship every night after the conference while dinner was being made. Matt also said the people were so joyful they would burst into song all throughout the day. Love it!!!
Matt returned home (yesterday) on September 29th. We were beyond excited to greet him and pick him up at the airport. Caroline and Matthew made Matt this Welcome Home sign (I wrote the letters, of course :-)

We waited outside customs with the other team members' families for about 30 minutes. The kids and I were SO anxious to see Matt. He couldn't walk through those double doors fast enough! Matthew saw him first and ran to him.

Such a sweet reunion filled with lots of happy tears! 

Matthew immediately wanted to show daddy his sign:

Matt told the kids there were "surprises" in his bag so they couldn't WAIT to get home and see what Matt had brought them.  Matt showing off his African shirt the pastors gave him:
Matthew got a hand carved truck that rolls. He was obsessed with it immediately ;) 

Matt gave Caroline a hand-made pink beaded necklace and three little purses. He knows our children well, ha: 

Admiring her new jewelry...Caroline hasn't taken off the necklace since yesterday:
Matt gave me two necklaces that I love! Sorry for the blurry pics below...a certain 4 year old took them: 

Matt kept a daily journal on his trip so I was able to read about the details of his experience. I'm so glad he did! It was incredible to read! We are so thankful Matt had this life-changing experience. The Lord taught him so much and used him/stretched him in many ways. Matt will never be the same, and we will never stop praying for the people of Burundi. I'll end this post with a quote from Matt's journal:
"It is great to see how ALARM is trying to help change Burundi, the heart of Africa. They say if you heal the heart, the rest will follow."

1 comment:

the bowlin family said...

Love that Matt was able to experience this trip and God in this powerful way. Makes my heart long to be back in Africa. It is a special place for sure. :)