Saturday, in addition to my 6 hour near-death highway ride, Pam, along with Sister Woods, met with some LDS high school youth to teach seminary (gospel study) for an hour in the morning. Pam and Sister Woods also met with two sisters in the Gulu Branch in the afternoon to teach them how to lead music in church services.
On Sunday, 17 Mar, we attended our first church services. There is one nice size branch in Gulu a few minutes away (100 or so in attendance today) and another group less than a mile away. the Bar-dege group...soon to be a full branch. Elder Woods, who I am replacing here in Gulu, and I went to some leadership meetings in Gulu around 8:00 am where I was introduced and we simply checked in to see that the branch leaders were organized for today's meetings. Takes a little hand holding with inexperienced leaders to get things going as they should. We then drove to the Bar-Dege building, did the same thing. Much stronger leadership there. Our wives walked over to join us for 10:00 am church services where we each spoke by assignment from our Missiom President. About 100 in attendance in Bar-Dege too. Three baptisms after church there and another one in Gulu Branch. Next week we'll all speak in Gulu branch and then Elder and Sis Woods leave for the states having been here 18 months.
We held a missionary preparation meeting this afternoon for prospective missionaries (over 15 of them) and then met with the Gulu Branch Presidency to offer leadership training to them.
The power goes off here without warning. About half of Sunday and all Sun night. Just came on 8:00 am Monday morn. We have a little inverter rigged up that runs off batteries that can keep lights on if it is dark. Not enough juice to run a couple of fans. Fortunately, the rainy season is just beginning (Mar to Dec) so it's a little cooler than otherwise.
For my nonmember friends, Latter-day Saint doctrine includes the following basic principles: Faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, Enduring to the end. So our goal is not baptism or a simple profession in Christ but a total conversion to live the type of life He would have us live. The Gospel makes bad men good and good men better.
A newly called Ugandan missionary receives his missionary call to Zimbabwe...exactly where he was hoping to go.
Our apartment...more of a small garden home. 3 BR/2 bath...so we have room for visitors from the states and are expecting some of you to join us. Looks nice but certainly not to US standards. Even my friend Sam Rogers could have built this home. Water pressure is about nothing so one stands in the shower and allows the water to simply dribble over you. "We have sufficient for our needs."
As the shock of the culture wears off there will be fewer blog posts but we still have a lot of new to see. And we will certainly keep you posted on the growth of the Church and it's wonderful members. They are so loving and humble. Please don't think that our enthusiasm is waning as you hear less from us down the road.