Happy Holidays!!

We hope this update finds you well and enjoying the holiday season! 

We are so thankful for family and friends who have sent some of our first care packages here to Burundi. Many people have asked for our address. If you would like to send a package (or a Christmas card – we would love to hear from you!) here is our address:

Dr. Logan BANKS

c/o Hôpital Espoir de Kibuye

B.P. 73, Gitega


East Africa

Boxes may be stopped in Bujumbura (3 hours away) and steep tariffs at times have to be paid, but the large bubble mailers generally seem to make it all the way to Kibuye. I wish we could share some pictures with you. I have been trying for days to add some to this update and the internet is just too slow right now. Please pray for our internet to improve and for us to have patience as we deal with the situation. I'll try to upload more to Instagram and Facebook, that seems to work a little better. 

"Jewe ndagenda ku'bitaro kuvura abagwayi." We have been intensely studying Kirundi for the past couple months, and while we are no where near fluent, it is encouraging to be able to have small conversations with some of our neighbors. They are quick to laugh when we speak, but they are very gracious and also help us improve our grammar or pronunciation. I have been told that it is also encouraging to them that we care enough to learn their language, which is why we are taking the time to do it. Pray that as we slow down our study time, what we have learned will stick, and that we will find time to continue to work on improving our Kirundi. 

We are doing well as a family, we have settled into the rhythm of life here. Logan has started transitioning more into hospital work and teaching, and will be active full-time by the end of the month. We recently said goodbye to a group of medical students, and there is also a new group of students that have just started. They have been to Kibuye before but this is the first time Logan has gotten to work with them. Please pray he will get to know them quickly, be able to teach them well, and also be a spiritual encouragement to them. 

This season, we are learning a lot about appreciating things we often take for granted – for example, power and water. Water is pumped out of a spring up to the top of the hill to a large tank. If the power is out, or if the water table is low, there may be no water. In fact, we have been on “water-conservation measures” ever since we arrived, which means intermittent (and quick) showers, no wasting water, judicious flushing (yes it comes to that!) in an effort to conserve every bit of water that we have.

We recently went through a 4-day stretch with no running water after the water pump broke! This was a difficult time, but I believe ultimately it was a blessing. We were able to more fully understand how our Burundian neighbors live day to day, and through it all we had “enough” – maybe not as much as we would have liked, but enough. God brought several good rainstorms during this time and we were able to collect water outside in large buckets. 

Christmas came early to Kibuye!

When we packed our things in crates and put them in a container in Texas in the Spring of 2015 we were hopeful, but prepared that if something happened we might not see any of that stuff again. That was a year and a half ago!  Although it took a while, we were finally able to get into the boxes recently, and it felt like an early Christmas! It’s funny how even something small, like a blanket, can invoke warm feelings and special memories of "home". We also unpacked our Christmas decorations from our crates and put up our tree and are now enjoying Christmas carols on the iPod, albeit in 80-degree weather.

We hope your holiday season is filled with love, peace and joy! 

Merry Christmas!

From The Banks’