I have tried many times to write a proper update to you over the past few months, but there have been so many changes and last-second plan alterations on this trip that I constantly find everything I write to be horridly outdated by the time two days have gone by. So my plan for today is write and send this in one sitting – no backing out now!
Me, Waldo (14), Nadia, Francois, Heidi (15), and Franco (16)
A general summary of the past few months:
When I left for Mozambique back in September, I was under the impression that the majority of my time would be spent in, well, Mozambique. Shortly after I arrived, however, the Hattingh family decided to go on a 3-month furlough to visit supporting churches and family in their native country of South Africa – and take their new homeschool tutor along for the ride! As a result, we have been travelling along the southern coastline of Africa since the beginning of January. A week here, a week there, doing school all along they way. It’s been an amazing trip and I am so blessed to get to see such a wide variety of South Africa.
Our original intent was to return to Mozambique at the beginning of April. However, the Lord had a different plan for us and we discovered only a week before we were supposed to leave that Nadia (the mom of the kids I’m teaching) had lost her passport. If you’re wondering if it’s quicker and easier to get a new passport in South Africa than it is in the States, the answer is a definite NO. We were grounded indefinitely, with no idea how long we might have to wait before we could return.
Our delay turned out to be a blessing in disguise. At the very beginning of April, Francois’ elderly father fell and broke his shoulder and Nadia and Francois have been able to fully devote themselves to his care and recovery. We have been staying with them for the past few weeks and, praise the Lord, Grandpa Hattingh is doing much better!
This morning we received the news that Nadia’s passport has arrived! Our working plan at the moment is to leave for Mozambique on Tuesday. We will drive back by way of Zimbabwe, and hopefully be back with the Mwinika people by next weekend. I am incredibly excited to get back to Mozambique. South Africa has been a thrill, but I am more than ready to unpack my suitcase and settle down again – if only for a few more months!
The Road Ahead:
I will stay with the Hattinghs in Mozambique until the end of their second school term in early July. At that point, my plans are a little up in the air. OK… not a little up in the air, a LOT up in the air. I’m floating a few different ideas and exploring some different options, but at this point I’m just really focusing on praying for direction and leading. I have no doubt that the Lord has an exciting plan for me, and I trust that He will reveal that plan to me in His time, not my own. Please be praying for me in this process!
The Hattingh family and me being prayed for at one of our many church stops in South Africa
Though my road ahead is a bit hazy, the Hattingh family’s is a bit more clear and they have some big changes ahead. Over the course of the past few months, they have become aware that they cannot continue to educate and raise their three teenagers in the isolation of Mozambique. As such, they are in the process of planning a 4-year relocation to South Africa. They will still be heavily involved in the Mwinika ministry and make trips back often, but during this season they recognize that their children cannot take the backseat and must be their primary focus. At this point they are tentatively planning on moving back to South Africa later this year. Please keep them and their kids in your prayers as they go through this transition process. They have become so, so dear to me over the past 7 months, and I have a great desire to see all three kids in an environment where they can truly thrive.
Since my arrival, I’ve been a bit of a trainwreck as far as my health is concerned. I’ve had a throat ulcer, malaria, giardia, strep throat, and a horrendously painful back episode that turned out to be a locked joint. Quite a laundry list for only 7 months! I’ve had several doctor trips, a short stint in the hospital, an afternoon in the ER, seen a physical therapist, and been pinched, poked, prodded in every way imaginable. During the period when my back was causing me such distress, I was beginning to seriously consider the possibility that I may have to come home – the thought was devastating, but I did not see the way forward in that condition.
Sorry for the up-the-nose-perspective, but I wanted to show you all this nurse’s cool hair.
But God is good, friends! He did not bring me all the way out to Africa to have the mosquitoes kill me. In every situation where I found myself in need, in pain, or in ailment, He has surrounded me with the best care and resources available. I recovered from the ulcer, from the malaria, from the giardia, from the strep, and from the back pain. As I sit today writing this, I feel perfectly healthy, strong, and fit, as though I’d just stepped off the plane yesterday.
That said, I ask for your prayers for my health entering these last few months of my service back in Mozambique. The Hattinghs have been endlessly gracious and patient with me, and Nadia has been a truly marvelous caretaker over the past months, but I do find in myself the desire to make it through this last leg of my trip sickness free and able to fully commit myself to serving the Hattinghs.
Want Some More Pictures?
Feel free to check out my Instagram for a few pictures of where I’ve been hanging out lately:
(You do not have to have an Instagram account to view this page)
I have been abundantly blessed by the generosity of so many of you and thank the Lord that God has used your gifts to keep me well provided for. I am not in a desperate need, but after all my medical expenses and our extended time in South Africa (which is much more expensive than Mozambique), I do find myself edging somewhat close to the end of my funds. If you feel so led and would like to contribute to my ministry fund, you can do so at the following link: https://usa.ntm.org/missionaries/leanna-burrows
(please note that due to my status as a short term volunteer, donations are not tax deductible).
I love and miss you all so much, Grace family! Obviously I can make no promises, but I expect that my return to the States will be somewhere in mid-September. I pray for you all often and look forward to the day I am able to greet you all in person once again.
God Bless, and my best to you all,