First Term Reflections

As I write this, we are just four weeks from departing on our first furlough. It is impossible to condense everything that has happened to us, and within us, into one small article. Here are a few things that stand out to me right now.

Three Things I Have Learned About the Congo:

  1. There will always be more need than I can meet. Always. For every person I feed, clothe or give money to, every street kid I buy Kleenex from, every orphan I hold, there are always many more; all equally hurting and needy.
  2. Even though my life here is much simpler than the life I lived in the states and I have fewer material possessions, I am wealthy compared to 90% of the rest of the people here. Even though my life here is much more difficult than the life I lived in the states, I have it easier than 90% of the rest of the people here.
  3. This is a spiritually dark place, even in some of the churches. People are in captivity to fear and to their beliefs in magic and witchcraft. Even many who profess Christianity are still not living in freedom.

Three Lessons I Have Learned Personally:

  1. I cannot serve here or even just live here in my own strength. I just can’t. And I am not supposed to.
  2. God is here and He is active. When my heart breaks for someone or my circumstances have broken down my pride or when I am weary, He is there. He raises me up, restores my strength, and reminds me of his sovereignty and mercy.
  3. Having God’s Word in my hands is no substitute for hiding it in my heart. In an age where one can literally carry a Bible in a cell phone and have access to it at any time, I took that easy access for granted before I came here. My best defense against the lies of the enemy is knowing and speaking God’s Truth, and somehow internalizing it is far more effective than having a copy at hand to look it up, just like having a plate full of food does nothing to nourish and strengthen you unless you actually eat it.

The Burton Family:


  • Raymond S. Miller says:

    Your brief observations are so profound. I spent the first 17 years of my life in the Belgian Congo (DRC) and have returned many times since. I have been a follower of Christ for 65 years (since age 7) and have learned that just as it is impossible for me to save myself, so it is impossible for me to live as God would have me live, without the power of Jesus Christ. I also agree that only after I have internalized Scripture and had God apply it to my life, does it become truly mine and worthy to give to others, again and again. Thank you again for your awesome insights. Please consider writing more of them down for others. The insights God has given you can be useful to those you will never meet. Ray Miller

    • Nancy Burton says:

      Thank you, Mr. Miller, for your kind and encouraging comments!

      • Fiona Koch says:

        Hi Nancy
        Please can you tell me which areayou are living in? I am in South Africa and looking for info on various areas of the DRC..have sent you a mail too..many thanks and wishing you strength in your work there.
        Fiona Koch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *