Friday, July 26, 2013

Week 20

Communication is still a problem:

Before we took our truck to Kampala for clutch repair, I was concerned we wouldn't make it so I took the truck to the only Toyota shop probably in all of northern Uganda...right here in Gulu and just a half mile or less from our apartment.  The mission has had the vehicle serviced at Motor Care Toyota Dealership in Kampala a couple of times. I didn't buy the truck to begin with so I'm not really paying attention to what it is I'm driving..nor do I care so long as it gets me from point A to point B.
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 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 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 Ensign, May 1994, 7). 

(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 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.

 All he wanted was to have his picture taken...and then to look at it on the camera.

Bad pic but these 3 helped us at the lumber yard cutting and planing wood for the easels we paid our prospective missionaries to make for each of our branches.  The fellow in the middle owns the shop.  We had a nice conversation and I kiddingly suggested to him that he ought to build a 3 story office building on the premises so he could sit up there like a big shot and oversea his employees.  He responded, "I need to be here in the dust with my workers not in an office."  What a great management philosophy...get down in the trenches, get in the dust, get dirty, get close to your people.  Help them succeed because if they don't succeed you won't either.

 The hustler...and I don't mean that in a negative way.  This little fellow and his younger brother we see on the streets of Gulu almost everytime we go to town.  Selling G-Nuts here (peanuts), no doubt his family has grown in a family garden.  They are salted and quite tasty.  500 shillings a bag. (19 cents).  I give them away to store owners I'm trying to get a better price  than mzungi price for something...copy paper, hardware, whatever.  They children likely aren't able to attend school because the fees are to high for their families. 
 Pam's new beadspread made from native material.  The reverse side can also be used for a different effect without the sheen.  How is your's coming along Buddy?

 You've seen this before.  Nothing unusual about this except they are passing in front of our Gulu Branch church building...surrounding my truck which is parked on the side of the street.
 Doing a little grilling Monday nite.  This is the oven/grill we used before but a better shot.  Belongs to the landlord.  The elders bought the pork and chicken (we paid for it, the pork was still warm from being slaughtered), brought it home and we cooked as they went out again on appointments.  Got back for dinner around 9:30.  Too late, yes we know.  But it was what we call "transfer night", when Pam holds a special dinner for the missionaries.  Wednesday Pam and I sadly took Elder Agesa (Kenya) and Elder Thabethe (Durbin South Africa) to Kampala.  Elder Thabethe was an Assistant to the mission president but he requested to be back in the field his last six weeks before going home.    Man o man...would that all young men were as good as Elder Thabethe (pronouced Tabetee).  We brought back two more elders, who will be great, but sadly neither of which is Elder Voracek who flew in Thursday (they had some strange route that made it a 44 hour flight!) from my home ward (congregation) in Dallas. 
 The end product of our grilling.

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?

Our elders cooking the ants.  Rats and ants to begin our fast Sunday?  We decided to begin our fast before we ate!  (Not really, we weren't eating any of this but some of the elders did.)

Elder Thabethe on the left with our new elder, Elder King standing next to him.  Three of new baptisms last Sunday.

Sisters from the Church over to the house Tuesday making the little dolls Pam invented from empty plastic water/soda bottles.  Pam prepared lunch for them...posho and beans, banana and some of my birthday present choc chip cookies and they all sang happy birthday to me.

 My birthday present from elephant plaque, naturally.  This is about 16" in diameter.  She was so thoughful.  I think I got her a curling iron for her birthday in March.
 The plaque came from the same pottery shop as the four bowls and little elephants Pam and I made.  This plaque was on the shelf for sale and she couldn't help herself.
Pam has hired a single adult to help with all the baking and misc things at the house.  She doesn't "get" the money, but it goes for her school tuition (again thanks to an American benefactor).  Beatrice made this cake for me,  "ElMor" and Joshu (Joshua, one of Pam's seminary students).  The latter was supposed to come for bday cake and to skype call his favorite people, the former missionary couple, the Wood's, now living in Idaho, but he never showed up... He said last week how much he wanted cake for his bday (24th) and to talk to the Woods.  Just 3 hours earlier he confirmed he'd be here.  We called the Woods an hour late to tell them Joshua had not come.  No explanation or notification.  That is one of the frustrations working with these good people.

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