I Felt Great But The Natives Pulled Out Their Parkas (10/27/11)
This morning when I got up it was very cool. It was a rainy all morning and we had got a good amount of rain last night. I thought it felt very nice but for those who have never lived in a climate where it gets below freezing the students all had their heavy coats out. Yes, they have those over here as well as mittens, gloves, and scarfs.
It was the children's last day of school before Christmas break so Sam and I ran a game time for them. It was extremely fun watching the children run through the field and splashing water all over as they ran the various relay races we had for them. My wife took many pictures and videos of the event and the children had a great time.
I spent my morning mostly grading projects and papers. I had fallen behind and I wanted to get everything caught up before the test tomorrow. In class we reviewed for the test and I trust the students will do well tomorrow.
After a month or so of the Wrights having nine Iowans invade their home we decided it was time to give them their house back… at least for a day. We did our own cooking and kept the kids out of their house for almost the entire day.
For lunch we ate with the workers and Bible Students. Their meal consisted of cassava, cassava bread, beans, and some greens. To wash this all down we were given some tea made from fresh leaves. My wife doesn't like beans very well but she discovered how wonderful they are compared to cassava and cassava bread. Cassava bread is simply cassava flour mixed with water in a big pot until it becomes like play doe. It is not at all what you think of when you think of bread and with each bite you can feel and taste something grinding in your teeth. I guess if you grow up on the stuff you learn to like it.This evening we ate with the Mosses in their apartment and then fellowshipped with each other.
A Repaired Computer And A Ridiculously Loaded Motorcycle (10/25/11)
Pastor Wright and I took the motorcycle into town today to pick up the computer as well as drop off some materials at the print shop. While in town he also decided to pick up some nails. By the time we were done we had over 50 pounds of nails, a computer, bread, and many other miscellaneous things to take back with us. I managed to fit all of the nails in my backpack as well as some of the other supplies. Pastor Wright had placed many plastic bags full of things on the handle bars. The computer tower was once again on my lap as we rode. Each speed bump was a challenge as the weight on my back pulled me backward. I simply gripped my knee caps very hard and at times reached around the computer to hold on to Pastor Wright. We finally made it home and when I took the nails off my back it was great burden rolled away. It reminded me of the burden of sin that the unsaved have that needs to be rolled away by faith in Christ.
This afternoon while Becca and Nicole worked together sewing some things I headed to Dubai, the nearest town. The tailor there does a fair job at making hats and I wanted to get myself a hat made for about two dollars. Pastor Wright's bicycle was being used by someone else so I headed off on foot. To my surprise a truck loaded with plastic cups for a school stopped and asked if I wanted a lift. I was more than happy to cut my forty-five minute walk down to about 10 minutes. After I reached town I discovered that the tailor was out for lunch but one of the men standing around went to get him for me. The people here are very nice and friendly.
They sure like to make white people happy and they almost always ask what I think about their country. Because they like to please white people it can make ministry very difficult. They will make professions of faith or say things that really make it sound like they understand spiritual truth but they are simply trying to please the white person. Please pray that the Lord would work through this barrier and help the ministry here thrive and grow spiritually.
Today Becca needed to go to town to get material for some of the dresses she is working on for the girl's Christmas gifts.So,Becca, Elizabeth, Andrew, and I joined Brother Wright on his trip to town. In town we went through the market and found fabric as quick as possible. By the way, we saw a man on a motorcycle wearing an old AWANAleaders uniform.Other than the trip to town, today was a normal day.
Becca wanted to make sure I recorded that Andrew sat up on his own today. First, he did it in the bath water and then later on the floor. Elizabeth also for the first time initiated a game of hide and seek. I left her on the bed after her bath to go get a diaper. When I returned I saw that she had covered herself in the towel and when I arrived she pulled back the towel and giggled at me. It was very cute and it's so fun to see our children grow up.
Tonight we all gathered together to play the board game "Settlers of Catan." We have played it a few times together and have all enjoyed it. Tonight Becca and I managed to pull off a victory. Up until now the Wrights have one every game. The time we spent together was filled with laughter and smiles. It was sure nice to fellowship together after the recent struggle. Please continue to pray about the situation with the students. They have not communicated yet to Brother Wright if they want to stay here or go home while he is gone. We certainly covet your prayers on this matter.
Up until now all of our updates have been on a lighter note. We have enjoyed the mission field but with the mission field comes bitter and sweet days and today was a very bitter sweet day. This morning Jackson came for the service. He isthe man who is from the clan across the street and came last week after Sunday School and left before church. Sam preached about Faith and three came forward to be saved. One had been here for the revival meetings. They talked with Pastor Wright while Jackson asked to talk with Pastor Sam through a translator. To my understanding all four made professions of faith today andit was so sweet to see God working. After the morning service we took pictures of the various families so we could remember them. It was after that that the day began to turn bitter.
What I'm about to share with you is the side of mission work that is not very glamorous and even for me to write about it is difficult. I have only been here for a month and yet I am very burdened and disappointed about the situation at hand. I will do my best to explain what happened but in order to do that I know I will need to explain many things. Please pray much about this situation as you read.
After we finished taking pictures of all of the families we all made our way into the house to prepare lunch except Pastor Wright. We had noticed that the students after getting their pictures taken were lingering around and not going back to their homes. They had gathered in the Church to ask Pastor Wright some questions. They had some problems about the plans he had made for them while he returned to the states.
He had arranged for those who were from Adjumane to go home for two months over Christmas. And he had been working on getting a truck that could take them all at his own expense. Instead of being grateful they complained that when they go home their huts had collapsed and they would have no food. They wanted him to pay for their transportation and give them money for the two months that they would not be working. This led into many other complaints and old offences that Pastor Wright didn't even know about. There was not a good spirit in the meeting they had with Pastor Wright.
Tonight's service was going to be a communion service but after what happened in the afternoon it just couldn't be. Pastor Wright opened with a short challenge and then we had a time of prayer. After that the students were able to share their concerns. It grieved my heart very much as I listened to complains about the food and other things. Pastor Wright had offered for all of them to stay here but they didn't like that option either. He very humbly tried to understand the problem and work through it. It was clear that his decision was going to affect their livelihood but instead of talking about it a couple of months ago when he mentioned it to them they talked among themselves and brought it up one week from the time we leave.
Maybe it would be good for me to explain the situation the students are living in here. They come for three years to live here. While they are here they work for half of the day and take classes the other half. There are other workers who are not students who work a full day and get the same amount of pay. They are able to buy supplies from Pastor Wright which he sells at cost and they are able to eat the food produced off of the land. If they were to walk for their supplies they would pay much more in closest small town. They also are able to go all the way to Aura every Saturday with Pastor Wright for supplies. He is providing their housing, food, Bible education, work, free schooling for the children and even paying them more money than they would consistently make living in the village. They have it much better here than they ever had it in their village and yet they are not content.
After listening to the complaints the Lord burdened my spirit to speak. Pastor Wright asked if anyone else had anything else to say. I raised my hand and then made my way up to the front. I had them turn to Philippians 4:19 where it says,"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." I then began to share with them that as I listened to their problems they were all looking to Pastor Wright as the answer. I told them that they should be looking to God to supply their needs and not Pastor Wright. I shared how Becca and I had brought our family over out of faith and that I had quit my job to come. I also shared that "the Just shall live by faith" and that they needed to be looking to God for all their needs. I made it clear that it was not wrong for them to share their concerns with Pastor Wright, but he was not the ultimate answer to their problems.
After the service I was told by one of the students that what I shared from Scripture was very convicting. There was a victory tonight, in that, the spirit was much better than the spirit that was there in the afternoon. Please pray is all I can ask! There were three students who were very upset who didn't show up tonight. We don't know their motives but we do want things to be resolved.
This whole situation was very hard on the Wrights and they didn't see it coming. I felt very disappointed in my own spirit because after teaching these men for three weeks I felt like I was really getting to know them. It was quite strange because between the Wrights, Mosses, and us we had been gathering things to give them all for Christmas to make it special for them and their families.
How can you pray and continue to pray about this?
1. How to pray for the students
a. Pray that the students would not just learn lessons academically but also spiritually.
b. Pray that the students would be content with the blessings God has given them.
c. Pray that the students that were very upset will have a change of heart.
2. How to pray forthe Wrights
a. Pray that they would be able to work through these issues with wisdom.
b. Pray that they can continue to show the Love of Christ.
c. Pray that they would not become discouraged
3. How to pray for us
a. Pray that God would give me liberty teaching this week after this incident.
b. Pray that God would use us to encourage the Wrights.
c. Pray that our testimony would be a challenge to the students.
Today the Becca and I stayed here while everyone else went to town. They day went very smoothly except for the computer because it would not boot up. I took a look at it but I didn't have any of the recovery disks or tools to do anything about it so after the evening prayer meeting Pastor Wright took me and the Computer to town on the motorcycle. The technician knew about as much about the problem as I did but he had a leg up on me. He had some cds with the necessary tools to do the job. In the end he would need to wipe their computer clean and reinstall everything. I pulled out my jump drive so he could back up the Wright's files before wiping it clean and then we left. He was only going to charge about $8 for his work so I felt it was very reasonable. By the time we left it was dark and I was praying all the way home. Driving on the motorcycle in the dark is very dangerous and we had to stop suddenly and swerve constantly to avoid other people. There was also a storm brewing and as I was watching the lightning I was praying that it wouldn't rain until we were home. Praise the Lord we made it home safe and sound without any rain.
I think we have been here long enough that we know what normal is, at least for here. Last night was a rough one for Becca. Elizabeth woke up around 3am screaming and very scared about something. She woke up Andrew and before long it was a merry-go-round of crying kids. I sleep right through these things but Becca is the only one who can help Andrew so she slept in this morning. While Becca and the kids were sleeping in I finished grading projects and got a good start preparing the final exam.
Becca copied down some of the Wright's recipes because we have enjoyed their cooking so much. While she was working on that I worked through some of the notes for my class. While I was sitting outside working on my notes a truck came to deliver sand. It got stuck and almost all the workers had to come to push it out.
Just before lunch Brother Wright came back from town. He had some good news and bad news. The phone was fixed but the guy who fixed it was not in town today. He would need to stop by again later. It seems strange that the other technician couldn't take the payment and return the phone but if you were here a while it would make sense. The two technicians don't even trust each other and if they had a chance they would take a little from the other one. The ladies who also work there asked where "Angel" was. They were referring to Elizabeth and we figure it is because of her blonde hair. All the nationals think she is cute and want to hold or play with her.
Brother Wright had also stopped by the post office and we received a letter from the Jr. Girls Class at Adelphi. It was very good to hear from them and we enjoyed reading the notes from Maci and Kayle. After lunch Becca and Nicole used pins and needles to mark some dresses that needed to be taken in for some of the girls.
As I was about to go to class I saw the rain coming. It seems like whenever I have class it rains. When I started class I prayed and asked the Lord to push the rain on so that we could complete our textual Bible study without interruption. Soon after I prayed the rain died down and it was clear for the rest of the class. Praise the Lord for His answer to our prayer.
Today flew by so fast. In the morning we went to get supplies with Brother Wright. Two nights ago just as I was getting out of the shower Elizabeth came into the bathroom with a small ball in one hand and the cell phone in the other. Because I didn't have my glasses and it was dark I didn't realize she had the cell phone. Before I knew it she had thrown the ball and the cell phone into a tub of water. I pulled the phone out as quickly as possible and took out the battery. It was still working when I pulled out of the water. But we left it tore apart to dry for a day or so. This morning we tried to use it and it was completely dead so we took it to town to see what could be done. They think they can fix it but we will see.
Discipleship In Morning, Discipleship at 2:00, Fellowship In The Evening, To Keep Us Going Through (10/19/11)
Brother Wright and I climbed onto the motorcycle and headed to make a visit. He had been contacted by a national who had some questions for him about being married. We made our trip there and went back and forth trying to find the place. The dirt road was covered with deep ruts, puddles of water, and terrible mud which made it very slippery. Going down the road once was bad enough but after several people gave us inaccurate directions we had gone down the same road two to three times. We finally found the place we were looking for. We were greeted by Tony and Albert. They had been in contact with a Southern Baptist missionary who hadn't done much to train them. They wanted to know what the Bible said about marriage. Tony has been, for all practical purposes, pastoring a small group of people and yet he was living with a girl named Grace. It is quite a mess over here when it comes to marriages. As I listened to the conversation and talked to Brother Wright I learned many things.
Here in Uganda many people never get married in any form. They simply begin living together and having children. As long as the man has not paid the bride price the clan or family still have authority over the daughter. If they decide to they can take the daughter and even the children at any time. This goes against Genesis where the Bible talks about, "leaving and cleaving." Many of the parents want a very high bride price because the daughters are the workers. The women do more work here than the men by far.
After sharing several verses with Tony, Albert, and Grace, they were all very happy to receive the Biblical teaching. Grace told us that from the time she moved in with Tony she felt conviction. They have decided that they want to make things right so they can be right with God even if the clan or family does not like their decision. Although it took a long time to find the place it was a very good visit. One day Tony and Grace may be students here at the Bible Institute.
Jewel had a discipleship class with some of the ladies at 2:00pm. Several children decided to play near the class so I went out with Andrew and did my best to keep the children happy, out of sight, and out of mind. I was quietly chasing them around with Andrew in the stroller and running over their feet. It became quite a fun game for the children but it wasn't long until they were making more noise than they should have been. I guess I defeated my own purpose.
I was asked after the discipleship class if I would teach some of the children how to play UNO. It was a good chance for me to learn the names of some of the children as well as keep them occupied during the afternoon. They all seemed to enjoy themselves.
We all gathered together after supper to spend some time playing a board game together. It was a good time to enjoy the pumpkin pie Becca had made and fellowship with each other. The days here seem to fly by and although we all live so close to each other we don't spend a lot of time together where we just talk and fellowship. Tonight was very enjoyable for all.
Thank you so much to those of you who are praying for us over here. If you remember Elizabeth's trouble with bug bites we seem to have fixed that problem. The bites she has now still need to heal but it doesn't look like she is getting more. Please pray that as I teach the students would be able to absorb as much as possible. Their poor grammar skills really impact their Bible study. Notice I said grammar and not English. Many of the students don't understand their native language very well. They could not tell you the difference between a verb, noun, adverb, adjective, or any other parts of speech in their own language.
In summary, please pray for…
1. Continued growth for Tony and Grace
2. Elizabeth's bites to continue healing.
3. Wisdom as I Teach
4. Understanding as the Students study
In the morning Sam and I took a walk around the property here with Brother Wright. He showed us all of the boundary lines as well as the water source, chicken house, pig house, and crops. He also pointed out where he would like to start a fish farm and a few other things. It was very exciting to see the vision he has for the property here.
After lunch Brother Wright and I took the motorcycle to town. I needed to get some things for my wife and he had a shopping list as well. We got our things and back home we went. I forgot to mention we also picked up 5 gallons of gas that rode on my lap on the way home.
I arrived back just in time to teach my class. I handed back the midterms and it appeared that the students were pleased with their grades.During class it began to rain once again. This time it rained very hard for a long time. I gave up teaching and handed out song books and we all spent 20-25 minutes singing. There was no use trying to teach over the rain.
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.