On The Road to Kampala
A busy and long week starting with last Sunday. There were 4 more baptisms at our Bar Dege dependent branch on Sunday. That's 8 in two weeks and these are wonderfully committed new members. That unit will become an official branch a week from this coming Sunday.
Pam and I attended the Gulu Branch Sunday. There were 135 in attendance at Sacrament meeting and 20 of those were investigators. The meetings were as fine as one would find anywhere. Sacrament meeting was conducted perfectly and with great dignity. The Sunday School lesson and priesthood lesson were doctinally sound and powerful. Primary was a challenge as there are 50 little children attending and no teachers other than the Primary President. Pam assisted as best she could but you can only imagine the chaos. She will be working with the Primary President and Branch President to get an add'l teacher or two called.
I met Walter after church. He joined the Church in 1992...one of the very first converts to the Church in Uganda. Taught the priesthood lesson...very powerful testimony.
My auto driving is coming along. Haven't killed anyone yet but have come close. I continue to get into the car on the wrong side and sometimes turn onto a new street on the wrong side of the road...which is really no big deal because travel on the roads here is complete chaos. Not a soul honked at me as I went forwards, then backwards a few times to edge my way between two cars to eventually get into the correct lane.
Big break through on our first Saturday here. We are walking to lunch and come up to a half dozen cute little girls. We are high-fiving, laughing together and I teach them the Alabama Fight song...verse by verse. They are singing at the top of their voices and laughing all along. Then I taught them to say "Roll Tide". They screamed at the top of their lungs. It was a glorious day!
We left Monday for Kampala (6 hour drive) with the Woods who are leaving Thur nite for the states, having completed their mission. Below you will find some pics of the road trip...both to and fro.
While in Kampala we met with Stake President Jimmy Carter Okot...the first stake president in Uganda. It appears another one or two stakes may be created before too long and that number of stakes and members makes the Kampala area large enough to staff a temple. Wouldn't that be great.
As it is, Johannesburg Temple is 2000 miles away.
Had an oil and filter change while in Kampala...$52
A miracle yesterday as we were shopping for groceries in Kampala to bring back home to Gulu. I dropped Pam off at the grocery store, parked the car, paid a security guard to watch it as we already had a ton of groceries in it from a prior stop to the store. I wondered around the strip mall for about 20 minutes, came back to the grocery store and noticed that when Pam pulled some items out of the car to return to the store, she also removed our laptop bag which also contained my ipad. There it was sitting on the curb of the parking lot where anyone could have picked it up. It was as if it was entirely invisible to anyone but me. So fortunate!
Pam was in another grocery later that day. As she was leaving a fellow asked for receipt to verify she had paid for her items. Pam, thinking he said, would you like to have a drink of alcohol (because he's standing next to a free taste table/display, says "no thank you." He explained he had to see her receipt. When she finally understood what he was asking, she apologized and said she thought he was offering her a sip of liquor. He then explained.."Oh no, I see your tag on your blouse (our missionary tag for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). I know you do not drink. I would never offer you people alcohol. Just goes to show that the Church is getting well established here in many ways and people are beginning to understand what we stand for. After 40 years in the Church I still have friends offering me coffee and tea, knowing I don't drink it.
This morning, Fri, Pam and I were walking the neighborhood. We stopped to talk to some local residents who were hoeing their lawns in preparation for okra and g-nuts (peanuts)...g-nuts cause the grow in the g round, if you get it. We have young men preparing to serve missions and need money for clothes, passports, immu, etc. One neighbor agreed to let me have one of our young men to help him till and weed and plant seeds for which I will pay the prospective missionary. We don't give money to these young men but have them earn what they can. Part of changing the culture of our members and teaching them industry, independence and thrift.