This has been my attitude towards cars all my life. I will never buy a new car because we're paying too much for the new smell and the day its driven it off the car lot one has just lost a ton of money. One of the top 10 bad investments anyone can make...but I digress.
I pull into the dealership and park. The security guard...everybody has a security guard...we have one at the apt, each of our churches has one, the grocery store has one, every bank, of course...I mean almost every place of half value has a guard...so the guard tells me to park the car "over there" instead of where I stopped. I obey as he, too, carries a rifle over his shoulder like all the other guards. (Our Church guards don't have guns...just batons.)
I walked into the shop and spoke to the shop manager. "I have a clutch problem, I think. Could someone drive it for me and let me know what you think?" The very couteous shop manager looks out his window at the truck and says, "Itsinthesun." (say that as fast as you can outloud before reading any further...go ahead, say it fast, faster.). Hmmm, I think to myself, "it probably is parked in the sun" and look outside myself. Sure it enough, it's in the sun and I tell him, "yes, that's where I was told to park it." The manager looks outside the window again and once again tells me, "Itsinthesun". (Say that as fast as you can!) "Well, yea, I think to myself. I wasn't told to bring it into the shop yet so it's in the sun!" So I ask him again..."can someone test drive it to see if the clutch is going bad?" "Itsinthesun", he tells me again. I'm getting frustrated at this point...is he not willing to get into the car as long as it is parked in the sun? Where does he want me to move it and is he going to tell the fellow with the rifle slung over his shoulder?
We are obviously not communicating so he says "Let's walk outside together to look at it." We are just about to reach the truck and he tells me again, "Itsinthesun"! THEN, THEN, I look at the back of the truck, the name on the truck...I realize what he's telling me..."It's a Nissan (itsinthesun)....Not a Toyota, [you dumb mzungu!] We don't work on Nissans." So I say to myself, after both of us laughed outloud. "Nissan, Toyota...what difference does it make...just fix the clutch.", which, of course, he can't do. So we shake hands, laugh together again and I drive away feeling like a complete idiot. Obvioulsy, I'm not yet used to the Acholi English.
Pam will tell her own English translation story next week.
We had 5 baptisms last Sunday between the two branches. Two were brothers 22-24...just as fine a people as you will meet. One of the brothers was his class president at Pope John Paul School last year...the school we've metioned where we are mentoring one of our young women. A third was a friend of the former Relief Society President who is into politics and knows some significant opinion leaders. Two more were the Mom and brother of one of our sisters who is about 23. It was an overcast chilly day in Gulu Sunday, believe it or not. The water was cold. The Spirit was warm.
The mission has scheduled a senior couples conference in Paraa mid-December. (It will be the dry season and I'm told rather warm.) Same spot we went on Safari a few weeks back.
Pam's brother from Wyoming will be joining us around Christmas time. We are glad to share some sights and sounds of Uganda with him when he arrives. Anybody else interested?
We held a very successful Family Home Evening tonite with the young single adults. We averaged only around 8 over the last 3 weeks since we began. I moved the site to a community based club and field where they played "dodge ball" for the first time in their lives. We played on an unused tennis court where we had natural boundaries stripped on the ground. These kids love to play games. They are natual atheletes...the guys and the gals. Very competitive! After the game I took them into the club and bought all 15 of them a soda. It may be the soda they are coming for and not the game but it doesn't make any difference. They are fellowshipping with each other, becoming friends and getting a short lesson or spiritual message delivered from one of them. They all are excited to come back next Monday night and play it again. We always gather the interest of some standing by to see what all the laughter and commotion is about. We invite them into the game and they get a soda too.
Tuesday morning we met at a lady's house at 6:00 am (her request). (This after laying awake all nite thinking I'd miss the alarm clock.) She is not a member of the Church but one of her chldren is serving a mission in UK. Pam and I have other commitments but the guys worked helping her harvest her crops out in a village 3 or 4 miles further out. Took about 2 days. We are able to pay them which goes directly into their mission funds ... thanks to the generosity of some folks back home.
We love serving the people, but one of the serious problems is that some of them, particularly those 30+ come to expect you to do everything for them. They lose the motivation to do what they can for themselves and never learn to be self-reliant. One of our great blessings is working so closely with the younger generation who sincerely WANT improve their lives through their own efforts. They understand the principle of the law of the harvest. The opposite example is a woman, not a member, asking for help from some of our men in carrying jerry cans of water to her place every few days. Pam made arrangements for one of the prospective missionaries to do that. When Pam asked how that was going the young man said he hadn't been able to do it because the woman was demanding that he pay for the water. (The bore hole in her area is broken; to use a neighboring communities bore hole, she pays100 shillings (4 cents) per jerry can, or about 400 shillings for a few days water. The prospective missionary truthfully told her he didn't have the money. She told him "then the Moores would need to pay." (The worman actually has the money to buy the water). We said we would not do that. She told the young men, "then you will need to walk to Elder and Sister Moore's (close to an hour walk), get the water from their place and bring it back each time. They told her they would not do that. Another young man who was involved told us, "I see that his mother is only thinking of what she can get for nothing." This gave Pam an opportunity to discuss with them the importance of self-reliance when they return from their misswion. She also suggested they tell the woman if she will not pay for her water (like she was doing before her request for help), she would need to personally bring the jerry cans to our house. Then the young men will bring them back filled. Of course she won't want to walk 3-4 miles to bring us the cans every few days. Finding the right balance in service so that it truly empowers the people is often tricky. Unless the recipient comes to recognize the Lord's tender mercies, regardless how small they may seem, and has heartfelt gratitude for them, our service is often of naught.
Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke of the need for the healing effects of the Atonement—not just for forgiveness of transgressions, but for all of life's hard:
“[The Savior] has risen from the dead ‘with healing in his wings.’ “Oh, how we all need the healing the Redeemer can provide. Mine is a message of hope for you who yearn for relief from heavy burdens that have come through no conscious act of your own while you have lived a worthy life. It is based on principles embodied in the teachings of the Savior. Your challenge may be a serious physical disability, a struggle with lingering illness, or a daily wrestle with a life-threatening disease. It may have roots in the death of a loved one, the anguish caused by another bound by sin, or abuse in any of its evil forms. Whatever the cause, I testify that lasting relief is available on conditions established by the Lord” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1994, 7; or
(Some of my fondest memories as a new member of the Church, while serving as a District Clerk in Birmingham was to sit at the feet of Elder Richard G. Scott - now an apostle - who was serving as a Regional Representative at the time. As I recall he was from Wash DC area. I truely grew to love this man and looked forward to his visits to Birmingham to train us in our callings. Even then he radiated a strong spirit of love and priesthood power. I bumped into him a few years back in Hattiesburg, MS. When I went to talk to him after a meeting, he didn't recall my name as I suspected, but he said as he looked out over the congregation he saw me and knew we had met somewhere in the past. Reid...those were great days, weren't they? My fondest in the Church.)
I'm having lunch by myself at nearby cafe with free wireless...walk in and a couple of women say "Hello Elder." I asked them what they know about elders. They say they are from BYU on a work study project. (Pam is excited to tell you more about that in the next blog.) Then we bump into these gals later in the afternoon at a friends house (!) with a couple more BYU sudents...one of which is married to the girl he's standing next to in the middle. The Church makes the world a very small place to live.
[PICTURE OF PEOPLE]
No matter what you may think, of eating Ugandan pork, I think you'll agree it tops eating rat, relatively common food up here as well as in Kenya. Here is roasted rat. Not bad looking?