Handing a Batwa women her identity card – now she’s a citizen of her country, she’s visible!
Addie Zierman invited me to contribute to her One Small Change Series months ago. I knew right away what mine was – it’s been that formative in my thinking and living.
But first a few words about Addie. She’s a talented writer with lush words and sharp insights. Her first book, When We Were on Fire: A Memoir of Consuming Faith, Tangled Love and Starting Over is brilliant. By that I mean to say it is hauntingly honest, descriptive of a life many evangelicals know and rich with wisdom learned the hard way. I read the book from cover to cover in one sitting while in Burundi this past summer. It’s no wonder that Publisher’s Weekly named her book one of the best books in the religion category for 2013! You’ll love her book, her blog and her – she’s a keeper.
My husband and I do community development work in Burundi. We work to see people move from the margins of society toward viable and vibrant communities where they can live well and encounter God’s goodness.
Our hands are dirty with the work of agriculture, literacy training, advocating for basic rights like identity cards and birth certificates, access to clean water and medical care. We started a bank for the working poor because we wanted to see business leaders expand services to their communities and employ their neighbors. We just opened a first-class school in a rural region among forgotten families because we know God remembers them; He has dreams for their children.
You might say we’re deeply committed to the daily practice of justice. You might assume we’re hard-wired for it. Well, yes and no.
My husband grew up in the Burundian trenches of extreme poverty. The underside of the economy and pressing ugliness of injustice shaped him into a man who hungers for God’s justice.
For me, growing up in a middle-class family in sunny California meant I never thought about justice. My vocabulary, even though largely shaped by youth group and Maranatha praise songs, lacked words like equity, injustice, oppression, liberation, jubilee, abundance and freedom.
That would all begin to change in my early thirties.
I met my husband; I visited Burundi and witnessed poverty up close. I felt the weight of my own privilege. I wanted to act – but had no idea how.
So I returned home and thought about it – a lot.
Somewhere along the way… Now you’ll need to jump over to Addie’s site to read the rest!