We postponed this weekends blog until Monday in honor of Nick Chase who passed away Tuesday and whose funeral was Saturday.
Nick was one of the finest young men I knew and I got to know him very well as Priest in the Young Men's organization of which I served as President before our mission call. Nick, who had just graduated from high school and I had lunch one on one on a couple of occasions before we left for our mission. We talked about the weaker members of his Priests Quorum and what he and his quorum members could do to strengthen them. Nick loved his fellow Priests and wanted to serve them in every way he could.
Thurs night I taught Institute because our local Ugandan teacher had a conflict. As I began the lesson, I looked out over the 15 or so college age kids in attendance and thought about how difficult life is for them in Uganda. I wanted to tell them that life is difficult for all people, no matter where they live. I then began to tell them of the loss of my good young Nick. I began to cry and was unable to gain my composure for a number of minutes. I cried as hard as I've cried in a long time. I then told them that no matter where one lives, no matter how healthy or wealthy one may be, everyone has trials, troubles, afflictions...that they are not to feel sorry for themselves but know that God loves them and will sustain them when life is difficult to bear. I reminded them of President Thomas S Monson's words..."just give more". No matter how downtrodden they may feel, just give more, serve more, study the scriptures more, pay their tithing faithfully, keep the commandments as best they can...then comes the Peace which the Savior promised his disciples...not the peace of the world, but His peace, that peace which surpasses all understanding.
I visited Kitgum 100 kilometers away Sunday morning and talked about Nick.
I cried again. As Pam and I knelt in prayer this morning, tears filled my eyes once again.
Perhaps it is because I know the unspeakable pain of losing a child or because I could not be at his service Saturday and feel some sort of closure. I watched the clock here all day Saturday and anticipated it's 10:00 am start.
Life is difficult no matter where one is.
I love you Nick.
You've heard us mention Simon (Si) and we've posted pics of him working around the house for mission money. It is Simon who watched as his father was shot and killed by Joseph Kony's rebels when Si was age 6.
Simon joined the Church in March and has time to earn money and prepare spiritually for his mission. He is making great headway. This blog post is dedicated to our day in "the village" Monday, 5 Aug.
His mom lives in "the village". "The village" is really any place outside of the city a ways. We would call it "in the country" back home. He wanted us to visit her and teach her a gospel message. Because she doesn't speak English Simon did all the teaching in Acholi and then translated some of our thoughts and well wishes to her and her family. We also met Si's grandma, a sister, some nephews and nieces.
A pictures tells a thousands words as we say so here you go.
This concludes our day in the village. It was one of the nicest days we've had in Gulu. A beautiful 25 drive into the village, cool temps, wonderful people, slipping and sliding our way back and forth down a road that at times looked like a shallow river we were riding in. Took a picture of the riverbed we traveled through for 4-5 miles but couldn't download it for some reason.
p.s. Si was very excited this weekend because his "brother" (a cousin he lives with in Gulu area) was baptized. Si was able to baptize him. They were both elated.