Monday, October 17, 2011

Uganda Update 4

Town, Trials, And The Tailor (10/17/11)
This morning Becca wanted to go to town again. We had a few things to get as well as we wanted to get Levi Moss something for his birthday today. We picked up the hat that the tailor had made for us and it was supposed to be for Becca but when she tried it on it was too small. He had not yet finished the second hat so we were told to come back in the afternoon. While we were in town we bought little mirrors for the ladies who work here. On Sunday Becca saw one or two of the ladies trying to see how they looked in the mirrors of the truck. The mirrors were very cheap in fact we paid less than a quarter a piece for them but they will be greatly appreciated Jewell said. We plan on giving them as Christmas presents just before we leave. The simple things that we take for granted can be a great blessing here. It sure teaches you to be thankful for the things God gives.
My students underwent a major trial today. It was the midterm. It took most of them a full hour to take it but after looking at some of them I think they did a pretty good job. Obviously, some did better than others but I have not yet graded the verses portion of the test.
After class Becca and I took the kids to go back to the tailor. The tailor is in Dubai which is the closest town to us. We walked for about 45 minutes to get to the tailor. He had finished the second hat and this hat fit Becca. Elizabeth had already latched on to the first hat as if it was hers so I guess she gets it. It is a little big for her but she should grow into it.

The Lord's Day (10/16/11)

It's hard to believe that Sunday is here already. I was scheduled to preach this morning and I decided since we had just walked through a topical Bible study in class about the Gospel I would preach through the results of our study. The Lord gave grace during the preaching and I think it was helpful for the students to see the results of a Bible study being transferred directly into preaching. One of the men who had promised to come showed up late for Sunday School and then left before the morning service. I guess that he had a funeral or something to attend so he could not stay.
Becca taught a Bible lesson for Sunday School through an interrupter, or should I say interpreter. Antony was her interpreter and Becca said he was very lively and expressed the story well. This was her second time speaking with an interpreter and I think she is starting to get used to it. 
After lunch we went to one of the preaching points where a group of people gathered to listen. We had a good time of singing and preaching there and then returned back for the evening service. The day just seemed to fly by. Please pray for the church here. It is Brother Wright's desire to turn it over to a national when it is God's time. There was also some trouble with one of the families today that Brother Wright needed to assist with. Please pray that the church and Bible students would grow in the Lord.

Recovery (10/15/11)

Rolling out of bed today was a challenge. The 7:00 prayer meeting seemed to be very early. My wife told me that I had fallen asleep last night before she finished reading the update that I wrote yesterday. After prayer meeting Brother Wright had a swarm of students around him waiting to be paid for their work and Mrs. Wright had a ladies Bible study to attend to. Becca was with the ladies and gave her testimonies at the study. This was Becca's first time to speak through an interpreter. She actually had two interpreters who would listen to her and then both talk at the same time in two different languages.
The Moss family has been trying to do their own cooking sothis left me to do the cooking for the Writes and our family. Thank the Lord that the kids were still in bed and I didn't need to hold them and cook at the same time. I know my wife does it but I guess she must have a third hand that I haven't figured out how to use.
After breakfast and cleanup it was time for me to go back to bed. I needed some sleep so I went to bed and didn't wake up until Becca woke me at 1:00.  It was time for lunch, or at least time to prepare a late lunch. During lunch two men from the clan across the road came over and wanted to talk. Brother Wright, Sam, and I went out to talk with them. They told us that they wanted to meet Sam and I and then they proceeded to tell us their side of the land dispute. They even wanted their picture taken so that we could go back and show Americans that they are friendly. They promised to come to church tomorrow so we will look for them.
I spent my afternoon preparing to preach tomorrow and Becca took care of the kids. Right now Becca and I are lying in bed under our mosquito net as I am composing this update. I am using the light from the computer screen to attract bugs so I can kill them and Becca is beginning to fall asleep. I think I'm recovered from the trip and ready to start a new week but we shall see.
Before I stop writing tonight I must tell what our darling daughter decided to do tonight. After we had given her a bath, dried her off, and put on her dipper and pajamas she snuck into the bathroom and got back into the tub of water with all of her clothes on. She was not just standing in the water she was sitting in it with her pajamas and little fleece sweatshirt splashing about. What crazy thing will she do next?

With The First Jehu I Meet ZacchaeusAnd With The Second I Almost Met My Jesus (10/14/11)

As expected the bus came late. We waited in the dark as the rain showered on us for about 30-45 minutes. Each large vehicle that approached coming from Aura we signaled to with our lights hoping it was our bus. When it finally arrived we boarded and found our seats. I thought plane seats were small but these were much smaller. There are two rows of seats in the bus with three seats on one side and two on the other. The bus drivers are known for driving fast but this driver was not just fast he was crazy. Remembering that in 2 Kings 9:20 Jehu drove furiously, I thought this man went to Jehu's driving school. There would be long stretches of time where tree limbs would be hitting the bus. At one point I seriously think he was driving in the ditch and I'm not sure what happened but there was also a flash and bang like an explosion next to the bus while we were driving along the Nile. I don't want to exaggerate it but it was quite strange to see a flash of light and here something that sounded like a tire blowing up. I guess it wasn't important because we continued to barrel along.  This furious Jehu stopped the bus for a military checkpoint around 1am. We all got off of the bus walked through the checkpoint and then preceded to get back on the bus. It was then that we met Zacchaeus. That was not his real name but remember how Zacchaeus had used his position with the roman government to make money off of the people. The Roman tax collectors of Christ's day are much like the Ugandan police of today.
Here is what happened at the checkpoint. One of the police officers decided that there was something wrong with one of the bags. We peered out our window watching as he was attempting to get a bribe out of either the owner of the bag or the driver. Eventually, we were permitted to go on but not until half of the bus went and stood around this police officer waiting to see what would happen. Many people were very upset and peering from a window seemed much safer than being outside. I wouldn't have been surprised if a riot broke out. The richest people over here are the police officers. They will stop a car with or without a violation and then the driver will need to bribe them so there is no ticket. With all this extra income it is no wonder they live in the fancy houses and drive the nice cars.
We finally arrived in Kampala around 6am. I stepped off of the bus and immediately there were people calling me their friend and offering me a good price for a taxi ride. I can remember the smell when I first stepped off of the bus. It smelled like a cross between human waste and exhaust. I rolled up my pant legs to keep my cuffs from dragging in the filth of the city streets. We couldn't start shopping yet because many of the stores were not yet opened. We snacked on some Wal-Mart Trail Mix and I don't think it has ever tasted so good. We began making our way around town on foot and then by taxi. You are most likely thinking of a yellow car that carries 2-3 people. That is not at all what these taxies are like. They are a little larger than a minivan and they can hold a little over 12 passengers. They are so compact that after the back row fills up with people there is a seat that folds down and blocks them all in the back. It is very awkward getting in and out of but the price is very good. We paid about $1 per ride.
Brother Wright needed to go to the immigration office to inquire about his work permit that he submitted in May. They had forced him to get a special permit to stay in the country until he got his work permit. That special permit costs $100 and now that his special permit has expired he needs to get another one. All this time they have not processed his work permit. It's pretty clear they are just trying to get money but there is nothing you can do to stop them. The government workers sit in their office reading the paper and playing on the computers while there are stacks of papers literally 2-3 feet high on the desk. The Immigration office took up so much of our time that as soon as we left there we hurried to the super market to pick up groceries that we can't get in Arua. It was after the super market that I meet my second Jehu. Unlike the first Jehu that drove the bus the second drove a motorcycle.
Because time was of the essence Pastor Wright and I split up to divide and conquer. He was going to get the meat at the meat market and I was going to store the bags at the bus station. I got on a motorcycle taxi with a box of groceries and a large duffle bag on my lap as well as my hiking backpack on my back. It was still raining at this point and I don't think my driver had any idea that the roads were slick. I lost count of how many red lights he went through as well as I had to make sure I kept my elbows close to the bike because we were weaving in and out of traffic so fast we were practically rubbing the dirt off of the other cars. I just prayed and held on for dear life. It didn't help that every time he hit a bump or accelerated quickly I would progressively slip toward the back of the bike. I know that life is short and that if I die I will see Jesus all the sooner but I just wasn't convinced this was the best way to go. We finally arrived at the bus station and I was so glad to get rid of the excess weight.
Now the same driver would drive me to the shopping center where I was to meet Brother Wright. Once again I prayed for safety the whole way. After we grabbed a bite to eat at an Indian restaurant it was time to make our way back to the bus station. This time both Brother Wright and I climbed onto a motorcycle with a driver and rode to the station. We arrived at the bus station around 12:30pm to catch the 1:00pm bus. We waited and waited and finally around 1:10 a bus showed up. As we picked up our bags and walked toward the bus one of the attendants informed us that this was not our bus. This was the 12:30 bus.  Go figure, the 12:30 bus leaves at 1:00 and the 1:00 bus leaves around 1:30-2:00 or later. After most of the passengers got on the bus the conductor said to me, "Sir, would you pray for our trip." It kind of surprised me. I was glad to pray for safety after the last bus trip I had experienced. The conductor got everyone quiet so I could pray. To my surprise our last bus driver drove very fast like all of the others but he was defiantly not as crazy as the first bus driver.
We arrived home around 9:00 and unpacked our stuff. Elizabeth was excited to see me and ran up and gave me a big hug. She even said daddy. That was a big improvement for her because she always seems to call me mommy. Becca said that while I was gone she said daddy quite a bit.
I was looking forward to taking a hot shower and cleaning the filth off from the city. When I got into the shower I realized that there was no hot water. Then I realized that there was no cold water either. Apparently, all the water had been used and the pump needed to be ran for a while to take care of it. Praise the Lord that it had been raining all day and there was plenty of rain water from the roof in containers outside. Like a good Ugandan, I sent Becca outside to the large water containers to get some of the cold rain water in a tub for me to take a shower with.
The whole experience was lots of fun, exciting, and a wonderful experience that deepened my prayer life for obvious reasons. Praise the Lord for safety! That is not something that can be taken for granted especially here.

One Spider Down… A Million To Go (10/13/11)

This morning on the way to breakfast I killed a large spider that had been outside of our kitchen window for a few days. Becca had been asking me to kill it and I just never got around to it. After breakfast I spent my morning grading quizzes and writing the midterm for my class. Today's class was spent reviewing for their midterm on Monday. I will be traveling with Brother Wright to Kampala tonight and spending tomorrow picking up supplies. Sam will be taking my class hours to catch up for the time he missed while he was sick. Please pray for safety as we ride the bus there and back.

 What Does That Have To Do With The Price Of Lumber In Uganda? (10/12/11)
We had a good church service today. The service is at 7:30 am. Last week we missed it because we didn't realize that it was in the morning. They have the midweek service in the morning because that is the best time with all their workers and students. If they try to do it in the evening it is very difficult to get all the people from their jobs to the service and then back to work.
This morning after Church I went with Brother Wright to get some more lumber and visit one of the local officials to talk about the land issue. We found the official and had a good chat with him and then we went to get the wood. Well,… the man who was selling the wood was not there but we were told that is uncle was selling wood. We drove and drove and drove to find this place. Then we were directed down a very rough dirt road. We went for maybe a mile or two down the road and finally Brother Wright turned around because the road was so rough that if we had a load of lumber we would not be able to get back without the rack breaking on the truck.
As we rode along Brother Wright was talking about the farming techniques here and how bad they are. The land was once rich with forest and jungle but now because they have cut so many trees to make charcoal there is very little lumber. The problem is compounded because the neglect to plant new trees for future generations. They also like to burn a lot and during the dry season and the fires often get out of control.  Because they have been so careless with the resources it will only be a matter of time before they will be forced to import all of their wood from other countries. This will drive the price of lumber sky high and it will be very expensive to expand the ministry here.
After class today I was trying to learn how to play the adungu (I don't know if this is spelled correctly). The Adungu is a local instrument that they play in their church services. It would be similar to a form of a harp and is played by plucking strings. I don't feel that I would be able to properly explain it so when I am able I will add a picture so you can see for yourself what an adungu looks like.
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