Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Uganda Update 3

Christmas Shopping, Court Case, and An Unwanted Critter (10/11/11)

This morning Becca and I went to town with Brother Wright. Becca wanted to do some Christmas shopping for family as well as get some things for our display table when we return. While we were in town Brother Wright was told by a police officer that he recognized that there was a court case for him today. This court case was different than the land dispute and Brother Wright had not even been told about it. About one year ago some of the clan from across the road came and attempted to stone Jewell and they took it to court back then. One person threw a rock but no damage was done. Apparently, today was the defense attorneys turn to defend his case. In the end it was only postponed again.
Tonight after supper the Wrights were getting ready for bed. Soon to their surprise they found a shrew in their bathroom. After a game of cat and mouse or should I say man and shrew we managed to hit the thing enough with the bristles of the broom to disorientate him. We then swept him into a bucket and found one of the kittens to take care of the rest. Before you knew it there were two kittens and a shrew in a bucket. Those kittens sure know what to do J.

Another Rat, Another Rain Storm, and Annoying Bug Bites (10/10/11)

Once again my wife woke me up in the middle of the night to inform me that she thought there was a rat in the kitchen again. So, we armed ourselves with flashlights and brooms and quietly marched our way to the kitchen ready to pounce on the intruder. Sure enough a rat was climbing around in the back of the refrigerator and we managed to scare him back outside. We discovered that although Henry had patched a hole in the bathroom there was another hole in the screen above our door. With the rat outside I considered the mission accomplished and was ready to go back to bed.
During class today a rain storm blew in and once again rained us out for a while. We took an extended break and then I continued teaching. I had handed back the students projects and they had done a fairly good job. I could tell that some of them had worked very hard on their projects.
Elizabeth has had a hard time staying asleep at nights and we notice these little bumps all over her that are like very little water blisters. We have tried covering her crib with a mosquito net, spraying bug spray, and several other things. Tonight we moved her crib and wiped it down with cleaner. There is a large tote of Bibles that was next to her crib and we think if it has gotten musty that it may be harboring spiders that are biting her at night. Please pray that we would be able to figure out what exactly is giving Elizabeth so much trouble.

4thof July on October 9th (10/9/11)

Today was Ugandan Independence Day. Elizabeth just happened to be wearing a red, white, and blue dress even though the Ugandan colors are red, yellow and black. I guess at least she was dressed for Independence Day somewhere. Most of the nationals celebrate their Independence Day by having a larger meal than normal. Since the staple food here is beans, tomatoes, and cassava they might have something special like eggs, rice, or meat for their Independence Day.
We expected to have a lower attendance at church today because of the holiday but from my perspective it looked like a pretty good crowd. For the evening service Brother Wright did something a little different. Each of the Bible students was given an opportunity to preach for 5 minutes and the pick a song. With 11 students it took about one and a half hours. They all did very well and it was good for them to keep their thoughts short and to the point.  Praise the Lord for a good day in His house.

Menards, Lowes, Home Depot, or…. in the deep dark forest itself (10/8/11)

This morning Sam gave a devotional after the church prayer meeting was over and then we started the day with breakfast.  Well… at lest we tried to. Apparently the chickens were late laying the eggs or something because there were no eggs for breakfast. Sam and I decided to shred some potatoes and make some hash browns with onions and cheese. It turned out well and it was a good thing we didn't wait for eggs. The eggs didn't show up until after 10 am.  After breakfast Brother Wright and the Moss family went to town with several students while we managed to clean up our apartment. Henry, one of their faithful workers, had fixed the screen in our bathroom where there was a large hole for our rat friend to come through. In the process he needed to chisel plaster all around the screen to get it out. This left plaster and dirt all over our bathroom.
I gave the devotional for this evening's prayer meeting and after the prayer meeting Brother Wright asked if I wanted to go with him to get wood. I was glad to go and Becca wanted to go as well. Several of us climbed into the truck including Becca and the kids and started down the road. We turned off onto a road that I hadn't been down before. For a short way it was pavement, then dirt, then what some would call it a "Service B" road, then we saw a little trading center after traveling for about 15 minutes. At the trading center we picked up the man who was selling the lumber so he could direct us. After the trading center the road became nothing more than a faint path through the woods. The next 45 minutes or so was quite an adventure to say the least. Once we reached the little cluster of huts where the wood was we piled out.
The man selling the wood had decided to more than double the price. After much discussion we all loaded back up into the truck to drive away. After the truck was started the man decided to lower his price to what Brother Wright was willing to pay. We then loaded the lumber and started back for home. By this time it was getting dark and we managed on the way back to hit a rock that was big enough to stop the entire truck. We had navigated around it on the way there but it was very hard to see with the grass on the way back.
We traveled very slowly because all of the wood was on the top of the truck making it top heavy. The farther along we went the more the rack began to shift back and forth. We hoped and prayed it wouldn't break on us. We were all very glad to arrive back at home and Jewell and Nicole had a good meal waiting for us. It's no wonder things take a lot longer over here. Just getting some wood is a chore. We will look at the truck in the morning to assess the damage. From what we could tell tonight it wasn't that bad. Praise the Lord we made it back all save and sound.

Where Did The Day Go? (10/7/11)

Last night Elizabeth woke up several times simply because she was coughing and had a runny nose. We gave her a cup but she just didn't seem to what it. Becca was also up more than usual because she was not feeling well. Please pray that they would get well soon.
Today went by so quickly the Wrights left for the hospital to visit Grace. She is one of the student's wives who just had a baby. She has been in the hospital for three weeks and the Wrights suspected that they were simply keeping her there to get money. Mrs. Wright, being a nurse, wanted to see for herself why the hospital was keeping grace. They convinced the doctor to let her go and Grace was able to come home. They had left around mid-morning and expected to be home in time to get lunch ready. They had spent so much time waiting on the doctor that they didn't get home until 1:20.  Becca was very tired and not feeling well so I took the kids so she could get some rest. With much persuasion I managed to get Andrew to go to sleep and Elizabeth at least sat still. I must have dosed off a little bit because when I looked at the time it was 1:00. I decided to start lunch even if I didn't know for sure what was on the menu. I saw green beans and potatoes so I figured the lease I could do was cook lunch so when they come home it would be ready and waiting for them. They arrived home about 20 minutes after I started cooking. Needless to say, we had a late lunch.
After having a late lunch it was fitting to have a late supper. During my class Sam and Brother Wright went to a school where Brother Wright had been asked to speak. The meeting was scheduled to begin at 4:30pm but it didn't start until sometime after 5pm. By the time they got home it was already dark. Praise the Lord four students made professions of faith at the meeting.
Class went well today and almost all the students turned in their projects on time. One of the students yesterday had showed me his work and wanted to know if he needed to correct anything before he wrote his final draft. He was doing a topical study on the Word of God and when I looked at what he had done I realized that he had done everything backwards.  He had started his project by stating what he believed instead of working through the Scripture passages to find what the Bible said. I explained to him the importance of finding what the Bible says and not just starting with what we believe. He reworked his project and today when he turned it in it looked much better.

Please Pray For The Students.

Here are some ways to pray for them
1.       Please pray that they would grow in their understanding of English.

Many of them struggle with English and understanding the Bible. They also have a very small vocabulary and have a hard time understanding what they read.

2.       Please pray that they would grow intellectually.

Although the American school system is not what it once was, the school system in Africa is very poor in comparison. To pass a class here they only need to get a 40%. Can you imagine the doctor working on you only got 40% right on his exams in medical school? They are taught to copy what is on the board and have almost no ability to logically think or work through problems. They believe almost anything they are told so it is very important to teach them to study the Bible for themselves and not trust what some other person has said.

I have been told that what Africans lack in logical ability's they overcome with their ability to memorize. That may be true some places but not here. When I asked the students in the class to memorize one verse, I discovered that even the best student spent about three hours memorizing it.

3.       Please pray that they would remain faithful to what they have learned.

It is easy for them to simply conform to the program here. The work is not as hard as it is in the village and they do a little better than some. Some of the students that have done the best have left and returned either to the Catholic or Anglican Church. It is a sadstory that happens all too often.

4.       Please pray for the students families.

Most of the students have their families here with them. Their wives work keeping house, cooking, washing clothes, and may other tasks while their children have school every day with Mrs. Wright. The culture's view of family is very unbiblical and as a result many of the students have baggage and many difficulties to overcome. It is so important that these students and their wives learn what a Christian home should be like.
The student's struggles and challenges only reinforce the need for children to be trained to serve the Lord. Please pray for wisdom as the Wrights prepare to begin an orphanage here alongside the ministry of the Bible institute.

All Things Work Together For Good To Them That Love God (10/6/11)

This morning Becca wanted to go to town so Brother Wright took Becca, Nicole, Elizabeth, Andrew and I to town. I was dropped off at the cell phone store to buy some minutes for the phones and then I would catch up with everyone else at the market. I wandered through the market and could not believe how hard it was to find five white faces wondering through the market. I eventually gave up looking and resorting to staying by the truck. I had found the truck very quickly because I don't think there is any other truck just like it. It has a rack that starts at the tailgate and extends to the front bumper going over the cab of the truck. I'm just thankful that there was somewhere where I knew they would all return to.
Sam had intended on going to town instead of sending Nicole but he was very sick. He has had stomach problems since about the time they arrived and last night his problems climaxed, or so we think. He thought some extra rest would take care of it. Unfortunately, when we returned a little after noon we found that he was still very sick. Mrs. Wright had given him some medicine but he was still very sick. I know that any English teacher would tell me not to use the same phrase "he was still very sick" twice in a row but I think this way you can get the idea that "he was still very sick" without me going into the details.
The students have been doing fairly well on their quizzes but I felt they needed some more time to prepare their projects that are due on Friday. They are to turn in a topical Bible study and many of them are still very confused about how to do it. It is also challenging because the concordances they have to use cannot leave the church for fear they would disappear. I decided that I would let them work on their projects in class after the quiz and then I would be available to help and answer questions. I was still wondering if that would be enough time for them to finish their projects but the Lord had things all figured out.
Let me explain…. Brother Wright was going to need to take a trip to Kampala next week to pick up supplies. Kampala has many supplies that cannot be found here in Arua. I thought it would be nice to go with him but it would require me to miss one of my class sessions. Since Sam was sick it worked out that I taught during his class time today as well as mine. This also gave the students twice the time to work on their projects where they had concordances and I could help them. They were very happy for the extra time and Sam was more than happy to let me teach. Next Friday he will take both class sessions while Brother Wright and I travel to Kampala by bus.
"Delight they self also in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart." I can truly say that is exactly what God did. It wasn't a necessity for me to go to Kampala but I wanted to. I wanted to experience as much as possible what the Wrights go through here. I also figured that I could help him carry supplies once we got there. I didn't need to pull any strings or plan and figure everything out. God simply adjusted circumstances and made it possible for me to go. I'm so thankful for the clear leading of the Lord.

Honey, Wake Up There's Something In The Kitchen (10/5/11)

Early this morning before the sun was up and before I was awake enough to know what time it was my wife began shaking me saying, "Honey, wake up there's something making noise in the kitchen." Two nights ago the Moss' had a rat in their apartment and last night the Wrights had a Rat in theirs so I guess tonight was our night. There was a rat running back and forth in the cabinets below the sink in our kitchen. After trying to strike the thing a few times he ran up into the refrigerator and hid somewhere under there. I figured as long as he was content to stay there I would go back to bed and then deal with it in the morning. He must have left because we haven't seen him all day.
In the morning, much later than rat hunt, I was up in the attic trying to figure out why a few of the ceiling lights were not working. The electrical work was terrible and after patching a broken wire and poking around for any other problems I simply determined that if it didn't work there was nothing I could do. There are many junction boxes that are open and bare wires in the attic that any lizard or rat could create a multitude of problems. While I was up there I found a dead rat that was very well decayed and needed to be disposed of. I may not have fixed any electrical problems but at least I got rid of a rat.

Teacher… I Can't Hear You (10/4/11)

It was an absolutely beautiful day here today. There was more cloud cover than normal and yes a little rain here and there. When it was time for my class we started everything just as normal but when I was teaching the rain began to come. The rain pounded on the tin roof and echoed through the church building making a terrible amount of noise. We were forced to stop class for about ten minutes simply because it was too loud to continue. When the rain died down we were able to continue but in order for the students to hear me I was yelling from the whiteboard to them. I told them before I started yelling over the rain that I thought the only way to communicate at that point was to yell. They all laughed and I could tell by the responses on their faces that they were ready to continue. Our lesson today was focused on teaching them how to use a concordance. They seemed very excited to learn how to use this Bible study tool. We shall see how well they learned to use it when their first project comes due on Friday.
Please pray that the Lord would give me clarity in teaching to these students. English is not their first language and I have a lot of material to cover. Please also pray that the Lord would give me wisdom about what parts of the material are most necessary for these students. I realize that I may not complete the class notes but I want to make sure that they leave equipped with some tools for studying the Bible.
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