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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).
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.