Week 17 More safari.
Over the last few months, we have met or seen the folowing individuals in Uganda:
Jimmy Carter Okot (stake president of Kampala Stake of the Church)
Opio Bill Clinton (running for student body office at Gulu Central High School)
"Fair and balanced", wouldn't you say?
Driving is the only frigtening part of our mission. We feel very safe wherever we walk.
We don't go out at night, driving or walking. Most of the other cars seem to drive with headlights on "high" so it is hard to see the road ahead. Especially black skinned people who more often than not are wearing dark clothes. We tell our young prospective missionary friends who come to our house for training to wear white clothing and if not, to walk home backwards with a big grin on their faces so cars can at least see their teeth. The full-time missionaries feel no danger walking at night and are not to return home before 9:00 to 9:30 PM anyway.
The boda drivers are the main road hazard. I imagine most don't have a driver's license...just like in the US but unlike in the US where motorcyclists know the rules of the road, many boda drivers fail to yield when necessary or cut in front of cars dangerously or in front of each other. Last Sunday on my way to Church I say two boda boda drivers, taxi's, each with a passenger on the back seat collide with each other. There was an older gentleman on the back of one boda and he took a pretty hard spill to the asphalt...so we are averaging witnessing about 1 boda accident a month.
Last week we were given a GPS. You can't imagine how helpful it is -- not necessarily for driving, but to get the coordinates for all the members, since they don't have physical addresses and there is no kind of person directory anywhere in Uganda. The coordinates can then be transfered to the person's name in the Church's MLS listing. This will be a big help in keeping track of members and creating better records. (Have we mentioned before that each person in the household usually has a different LAST name as well as given name. It is very difficult putting families together. One need not imagine the challenges doing family history/ genealogy!)
We had an amazing manifestation this week of the Lord's tender mercies. The clutch had nearly gone out on the truck. There wasn't anyone up here that could fix it. The tools needed to change it out could not be shipped up here. The mechanics also said the truck could not make the six hour drive to Kampala, which meant the only other option was having a towing company come up here to tow it all that way. We decided to pray for help that somehow we could make it to Kampala - or at least part of the way, so Wed morning we headed that direction. By the time we reached Kampala (same day!)we were literally traveling on a wing and a prayer, BUT we made it! No breaking down and waiting for a tow from Kampala to meet up with us. We know the Lord was watching out for us.
As mentioned in a previous blog we sent two of our young men off on their missions last week.
We have one more leaving in August and another in late fall. Now we will begin working on a new group. We've have found good employment for 6 of our young folks. Four are working on a farm owned by an older member in the Bardege Branch who recently found the chapel after moving here a few years ago from Kampala/Jinja area. Brother Anthony, an elderly man, hobbles to Church about 1 mile each way. The young men works for him and I pay them 10,000 shillings for a full day or pro-rata. One new convert who was baptized in Feb wants to leave on his mission Feb 2014 so he works for me detailing my truck twice a week, 10,000 each. He will also wash the Elder's car once a week. (One cannot imagine how dirty EVERYTHING gets here and how quickly.) A young lady who joined the Church in April also wants to serve a mission and Pam is meeting with her today to interview for domestic work in our apartment. Her pay will go towards school fees and mission.
Thanks to the Church's General Missionary fund that members contribute to from around the world, these Ugandan missionaries and other third world missionaries are able to serve the Lord full time for 2 years on their missions. Our mission president requires each young prospective missionary to raise a minimum of 100,000 shillings ($38) for their mission. Then there are the following costs the young adults must raise money for:
Yellow fever vaccination 80,000
Police Clearance 60,000
TB Test 15,000
Birth Cert 5000
A total of 360,000 shillings is a very large sum in a part of the country where there is really no good work. You can see these young adults sacrifice much in the way of time to earn what they can. The General Missionary Fund pays the rest which is by far the majority of the monthly mission cost.
I awoke Monday with a feeling of elation I hadn't felt since Alabama won it's last national championship. More like 2 in a row and 3 out of the last 4. It was a feeling only exceeded by winning 3 in a row and 4 out of the last 5. One can't put that feeling into words. Even those of the Bama Nation can't quite describe it. You know what it feels like but you can't describe it. What a great day it was going to be. Later that afternoon Pam and I visited one of the branch's Relief Society Presidents. In walks her son and now I knew why I was feeling soooo good! Picture below.