Twice a week, over 150 chronically malnourished children, along with their mothers, and perhaps a couple of brothers and sisters, make the long walk to Kibuye to receive a cup of warm, nutrient-rich porridge called Busoma, a hard-boiled egg, and a small sack of flour to take back home with them.
But this time, they also received something else – a special performance of the Christmas story by the kids of Kibuye Hope Academy.
The children have been working very hard on this Christmas pageant for several weeks now — rehearsing during music class, as well as in French and Kirundi classes, and even working on their singing, dancing, or speaking lines after school let out.
In the Western world, it is very common for children to dress up and do a Nativity Play. But that is not the case here in Burundi.
This is a new experience for our Burundian neighbors.
For many who saw our kids’ Christmas production, it might be their first time watching the Bible come alive in this way.
They smile, they laugh, they whisper to each other each time a new character comes on, which really adds a fun dynamic to the performance.
This year, we even added a set, or backdrop, to the production. The kids, working with our teammate Lauren Chudnovsky, who is an artist, painted 4 different scenes, and Jonah Watts built a moveable stand for it. Each scene looked amazing!
Under Julie’s direction, and with the added musical talents of Serge Missionary, Michelle Wendler, the kids sang songs, danced, and Ella Sund told the story in French, and Anna Fader spoke in Kirundi.
Altogether, they shared the message of the hope of Christmas with over 500 people at the hospital that Friday.
I was rounding in the Pediatrics ward at the time that they were setting up for the second performance at the hospital, and there was a rustle of excitement all around.
Everyone that was healthy enough went outside to see what was going on.
Most of the patients on my ward (and therefore, my rounding team as well) decided to take a break from rounding and went outside so we could all watch the show.
As the performance ended, Julie asked one of the chaplains to translate for her as she shared the good news of the Gospel with the children and their mothers.
Christmas is not just a story – it happened! And it happened for a reason. God sent his son as a gift to us so we could be forgiven, and all we have to do is receive the gift.
As the pastor translated what she was saying, we noticed a majority of the group stood up.
The pastor leaned over and whispered to Julie that he had asked who would like to respond to this good news, and who needs prayer.
There were so many standing!
Kibuye Hope Hospital is filled with people in need, not only for physical healing but also for spiritual healing.
And that right there made it all worth it. All the rehearsals and costumes and sets. It wasn’t just a performance. We shared Jesus’s story. A story of grace, love, and forgiveness.
We are so proud of the work that the kids and teachers put into sharing the love and hope of Jesus’ coming with the hospital community
Logan said he was surprised to also find himself impacted emotionally as he watched first the angels, then the shepherds, and then the wise men, all bowing down before the newborn king of kings. Especially as they sang “Noel, Noel” in three different languages. He said he imagined how we will one day bow before the throne, along with people from every tongue, tribe, and nation.
Please continue to pray, not only for our team here at Kibuye but also for the three chaplains who have a huge job at the hospital. The needs are massive. Physically and spiritually.
We pray that everything we do is wrapped in truth and grace. Even a performance like this, that is new to their culture and can be a bit of a spectacle, we pray that the light of the Gospel would shine through all we do here.
And here’s a video of the nativity play for you to enjoy –
This post was originally published on mccropders.blogspot.com. Logan and Julie Banks have given us permission to share.