Sunday, May 12, 2013

Week 10
Friends and family, We would love to hear from you,  what's happening in your life/family.  Drop us an email and let us know what's going on in your life. We are grateful for each of you.

Sunday, Pam and I drove about 100 KM or 60 miles, 2 hours north, all dirt road naturally, to Kitgum to show a small group of Saints the Sunday morning session of General Conference held last month in SLC. We used our laptop, DVD, speakers and a projector. There were 13 in attendance.  It's rainy season and others have returned to their villages , some 30 miles away, to grow crops.    We left at 7:00 am and returned around 3:00 pm. This is the small group headed by Nixon who you may recall was kidnapped by Joseph Kony when a teenager. Boys and girls were taken from their homes in Northern Uganda, largely in the Gulu area. The boys were made to join Kony's rebel army. The girls were used as sex slaves and both boys and girls were often forced to kill their parents before the children were taken away, forced to march into south Sudan, where many more starved to death.  Nixon eventually escaped from the Kony rebels but was shot in the hip by incoming air force fire while escaping.  There are small billboard signs scattered in the area reminding the people not to touch or pick up unfamiliar objects  on the ground as the objects could be mines Kony and his soldiers planted.  Many people in North Uganda have been killed or severely mutilated by these mines.  The war ended about 7 years ago.

As we pulled up to their meetinghouse  30 minutes early (a hotel lobby we rent), we could already hear them singing the songs of Zion before the meeting was to begin.  A very sweet spirit and they all enjoyed and understood the messages from the Gen Conf speakers.

On the way home, about 10 miles outside Kitgum, we stopped to ask a fellow pushing a bicycle if we were on the right road back to Gulu.  He saids yes and as we were pulling away he asked us, "Are you Mormon?"  We told him yes and asked how he knew.  He said he has attended the Kitgum group and was asking if they were going to "open the area" (for missionaries and official branch organization). We told him we were in hopes that would happen soon.    He was very excited.   More than just coincidence that of all the  hundreds of people walking or biking down the road we stopped to ask this good man.

Some of our friends wonder and have asked us why we would come all the way to Africa to share the Gospel.  Certainly, there is a need to share with our next door neighbor or those down the street or those across town.  As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we take Christ's words literally when he told his 11 apostles  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."  (Matt 28: 19).

Daniel prophesied regarding God's Kingdom that it would roll forth in the latter days to cover the entire Earth..."Thou sawest that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, that break in pieces the iron, the brass, the silver, the gold..."(Daniel 2:45).

We commend those who serve wherever they may be.  A living apostle counsels "Lift where you stand".  But for those who have the time and means to serve in other parts of the Lord's vast vineyard, what a blessing it is, both to those who serve and who are being served.  In spite of all the challenges and hardships, the people who understand what Jesus Christ has done for all mankind -- generally and individually -- are very happy.  We experience great joy in being a small part of this marvelous work.

 On our way to Kitgum we came across a couple of tractor-trailer rigs and a bus bogged down in deep mud on the highway.  The pictures don't do the scene justice.  We realized from all the stuck trucks, bus and vans in the middle of the road we might not be able to go further.  I carefully got out of my car, spoke to one of the truck drivers, assessed the situation.  The driver told me he had been stuck there since 8:00 pm night before.  Pam said a prayer and then we decided to try to boogie our way through the ditch on the side of the road.  Even in 4 wheel drive it was dicey and when we made it through, the truck drivers cheered us on.  We encountered the same mess another mile or so up the road. Odd thing is when we returned back down the road 4 hours later all the vehicles were cleared out and you could not see where there had been any problems at all.  It was so surreal.

So what else do Senior Couple get to do on their mission.  Monday morning I drove our missionary zone leaders about 1 1/2 south to Kamdini to be picked up by other ZL's heading to Kampala for training.  Tuesday nite I spent another 45 minutes or so with the plumber at Bardege building working on kitchen sink water leak...under the sink.  I get to meet him there today too!  How exciting is that?  Mid-morning I drive back to Kamdini to pick up the Zone Leaders who I dropped off on Monday...all because the ZL here lost is driver's license and is unable to drive.  Friday morning Pam and I drive about 3 hours south to a missionary zone conference meeting for all missionaries in the city of Lira. We return Saturday morning and then Sunday we head to Chobe where I saw the elephant, wart hogs, Kobe to spend the rest of the weekend with the Mission President...further training.  So you can see our life can be quite mundane at times.

Pam and I also drove out to our friends Dickson and Agnes (he owns the large farm he now calls Paradise...and has put up a gate at the entrance that says   Paradise Farms".  They lost 2 children to malaria sometime back.  You'll remember Dickson contracted it to,m the worst strain...went to his brain.

He is relasping somewhat so I sat down with him, introduced myself as Dr. Moore and got a complete medical history.  Pam was able to get a list of his meds from his wife.  I will call our mission medical doctor in Kampala Friday, tell him of our findings and he will begin consulting with a local malaria expert in Kampala to determine what course of treatment they will have Dickson pursue to make him whole.  His farm is more beautiful than ever and his bakery under construction is moving along.  I fear that without proper medical care, he won't see it finished.  He has no money to to speak of so the Church will assist through the use of our Fast Offering funds I've mentioned to you in an earlier blog.  I have 6 or more prospective missionaries working for Dickson.  He works for them and I pay them from funds friends have sent us from the states so these young men can serve on full-time missions.  I give them nothing.  They have to earn every shilling.
The road to Kitgum.  There were buses and tractor trailer truck rigs stuck in the mud.  One driver told me he had been there since 8:00 pm the night before.  Pam said a prayer, I slipped the truck into 4 wheel drive "Lo" gear and we managed out way through.  Those stuck cheered us on as we made our way through.  We ra n into a similar situation a mile or so up the road.  Off into the mud we went again, this time with more confidence.

 Great idea for Innisfree, (oldest son's place of employ).  Perhaps they would increase occupancy if not all rooms were self contained, especially during your busiest time.  Might do wonders for your sales revenue.
Some of the Kitgum group who meet every Sunday.  Since there is no officially organized branch in Kitgum it would be so easy for these good people to just stop coming, to wait for when the Church can send missionaries and create an organized branch.  Not these faithful Saints.  They love the Lord and His Church.  Monthly rent for hotel lobby is 25,000 UGX...$9.42 US.  Notice this is not the same LA hotel that offers self-contained rooms.  Our hotel, as you can see in the sign, is the one with the Executive Guest Wing.  Speaking of wings, they are adding on...see below pic.
This is a new wing being added to the LA Hotel.  The manager suggested this could possibly be for our group to meet in.  Notice the "strong" braces supporting the roof while under construction.  Reminds me of the tragedy in Bangladesh where the death toll now equals 1100.  With no building code, not at all difficult to understand why a such a building would collapse.

 I guess this is what we call "fast food" in the states.'d need a lot of trust in God to survive the night here.
 Here is the Trust God Hotel.  (Sometimes small restaurants are called hotels.)  In either case, my faith is not that fully developed.
Don't try walking stepping on this crosswalk in high heels.

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