Saturday, August 24, 2013

Week 24

 Met with our new mission president the other night.  He had just been in Uganda a couple of weeks and naturally is trying to put all the pieces together.  As mentioned, the largest Church Mission in the world and he says equal to 50% of the size of the US. (I had previously been told 25% of the US)  In the US there are hundreds of mission presidents supervising about the same number of missionaries but in much closer proximity.  There are two Church missions in Dallas-Fort Worth area, for example.  He told us, among other things, that at the end of last year there were 52,000 to 55,000 missionaries serving throughout the world.  Today, 7 months later there are 72,000.  While we were in the Missionary Training Center in Provo early March, we were told the brethren expected over 90,000 by year end.  This is due in part to the age for eligible missionaries being lowered...young men at age 18 and young women at 19.  It's been a little surprise to me just how many of our sisters have wanted to serve a   full-time mission.  There are currently more sisters being called on missions than brethren.  There has also been an increase in couples serving. You can see this work is hastening in anticipation of the Lord's second coming.  No one knows when it will be but clearly a prophesy to be fulfilled that before He comes the Gospel will be taken to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.  We are watching the fullfillment of that prophecy right before our eyes.  It is exciting to be a small part of this marvelous work.

One of our recent houseguests.  Pam thinks he's cute.
Ham and eggs, anyone?
We buy our eggs from a poultry farm to assure they are fresh.  They also raise LOTS pigs.  This is one of their four enclosures full of pigs.  If we were to buy a pig, it would not be from here:  too dirty  stinky.  A lot of people have free range pigs.  That is our preference.  The elders found a good source to get fresh pork.  Occasionally a call is made to the owner, telling him how much pork is wanted.  He kills and butchers the pig early in the morning; they pick it up, still warm, before it gets to any market, and we or they marinate and grill it (usually for a transfer dinner).  It has been very good.   

Pam and a few sisters making water bottle dolls. On the far left is Prossy, counselor in Gulu Young Women's organization, baptized about 2 months ago.   In the forefront is Beatrice, baptized April 6 and a dynamic counselor in the Bardege Young Women's organization.  The one on the left is Nighty, our Gulu Relief Society President, mother of four girls.  Her husband has married two other women and has told her she is no longer his wife because she has only produced girls.  Sylvia, on the end, was baptized same day as Prossy and is President of the Young Women.  Not many years ago she saw her older pregnant sister shot down by the rebels, Lord's Liberation Army (Joseph Kony). She was able to run away.  Two days later they returned and shot and killed her father in front of her.  For some reason they did not kill or abduct her.  The sisters are excited to make the dolls for their children/grandchildren/orphans who generally have no toys. These are virtually no cost -- using scrap material from different seamstresses at the market. They have also made cloth balls, and will learn how to make stuffed dolls, frogs and teddy bears.  The Relief Society is making these for themselves as well as for the very sick children in Lacor (pronounced "law CHO" (long o) Catholic Charity Hospital. 

The Rock Quarry (pictures below):
We'd heard about this place on the Blog the previous senior couple in Gulu, the Wood's, posted before we arrived here  Just happened to stumble across it the other day as we were sight seeing.  It may come in handy for an upcoming Mormon Helping Hands Day of Service.  Backbreaking, muddy, tiring, boring work.  We spoke at length to the owner.  He has an unlimited supply of rocks at this site and others not far away.  He has purchased the land for the quarry but can't afford to hire more people..."no money" he says.  This is manual labor in the true sense of the word.  Pictures below.

The missionary elders held their weekly zone/district training meeting.  Just to give you an idea of how good these young men are and how converted to the Gospel and dedicated to their faith...following are a couple of quotes that one elder offered:

"Obedience (to the commandments) brings blessings.  Exact obedience brings miracles."

"One's obedience is a sign of one's love and faith in Christ."

Pam and I are always blessed when we sit in on their training meetings and teach each other the principles of the Gospel, the blessing of hard work, keeping their missionary rules..."exactly".
President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) admonished each of us to forgive our enemies:
“Consider, for example, this instruction from Christ to his disciples. He said, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you’ (Matthew 5:44).  (I sure struggle with this in respect to the boda drivers in this country.  I don't feel like they hate me or are despitefully using me or even persecuting me...only that they are trying to kill me.)

“Think what this admonition alone would do in your neighborhood and mine, in the communities in which you and your children live, in the nations which make up our great global family. I realize this doctrine poses a significant challenge, but surely it is a more agreeable challenge than the terrible tasks posed for us by the war and poverty and pain the world continues to face, which we see firsthand every day here. 

“We all have significant opportunity to practice Christianity, and we should try it at every opportunity. For example, we can all be a little more forgiving” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 22–23; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 18).

One more baptism in Bardege Branch by one of our newest elders, Elder Erickson...6 weeks on his mission.
 Elder King on bottom/left in the MTC Provo, Ut.  Just arrived here 6 weeks ago.
Our Gulu Zone missionary elders just wrapping up a service project.  They do a service project at least once a week.  Lots of smiles.  It's serving others that brings joy.

 Down in the quarry hole sledge hammering large rock.

 You can see how large this stone is here...maybe 18" x 4'.  Too heavy to lift.  They manage to stand it up on its side in the mud and begin pounding away.  It sinks a good ways back into the mud, eventually stops sinking then their heavy hammering eventually breaks the large stone into pieces that are lifted by two people..must weight 35-50 pounds each after broken up while down in the mud and muck.  The men are very lean but super strong.
The quarry doesn't like the just fills up their quarry mines.  This fellow is hand pumping the water out of the pit where the two guys in the picture above are digging.  There are 3 or 4 other pits filled with water they can't access until they pump out the water.  As I type this, it is pouring down rain as hard as I've ever seen it rain anywhere.  A bad day for the quarry.  Just means more hand pumping of rain before they can start digging for rock.  Life is hard in Uganda!
Pound it and pound it and pound it and eventually.....
Rock brought from the quarry.  Broken up to this size and then smaller below.  "Broken up" means hammered.  I only saw women doing the hammering other than the men in the quarry itself.

Then broken up again even smaller.  These piles of fist-size rock throwing stones cost 15,000 shillings each pile...about $6.50.
And then even smaller...a fine gravel.  This pile may cost 20,000-25,000 shillings due to extensive labor...more hammering.
 The quarry owner's feet., covered in mud.  He's "down in the dust" like the lumberyard owner I mentioned a few weeks ago.
 A lady pounding stone into good rock throwing size.

 There is an unlimited supply of stone to be quarried and a few tons of it out of the ground to be pounded with large and small sledge hammers to break it into the pieces that will sell.

Relief Society President in Bardege Branch, Sister Ricky, and a friend having lunch we had just dropped in on.  Notice they eat with their fingers.  They offer us, as guests, forks.
Pretty nifty contraption here.  One sees a number of tools made out of bikes.  This one is a knife or tool sharpener.  Turn the bike foot pedals and sharpener on top spends around via a cord wrapped around the back wheel rim.  I am constantly amazed at the ingenuity of the African people.  They throw hardly anything away and then figure out a way to make something of value out of it.
 Main street in Gulu on a slow morning.  The pace quickens soon enough and one's eyes are constantly on the road looking for boda drivers and folks in the streets.  I missed an opportunity for a picture today that was very unusual.  A person was walking down the street...more in the street than off it.  He/she had a motorcycle helmet on his head and a long pole in his hand.  The pole had a paint roller brush on the end of it as if he were painting the street.  The person was either mentally disturbed or perhaps he had epilepsy or inner ear problems.  The paint roller was being used to keep his balance and the helmet to protect him if he happened to fall over.  Once again...very ingenious.
This is Si.  (Used to be Simon til he asked me for a nickname and I gave him the name of he insists everyone call him Si.)  He's made bulletin boards for us for a local private school.  Here he is sanding blocks of wood that Pam will distribute to children to play with at Church or an orphanage or hospital.  He's earning money for his mission.  Few toys over here for kids to play with.  Just wooden blocks we picked  up at a planing mill.  Si sands them.  Some may get painted.  The kind of blocks we had as kids to build stuff..remember?
Here is Beatrice.  She's earning school fees by working at our place a couple of times a week.  Making dolls, ironing, cooking, cleaning.  She wants to serve a full time mission too and the sisters are encouraged to get as much schooling done as possible before going on a mission.  Those who are helping us with money in the states have given us permission to assist her with school fees.  Thanks to you, her life will be changed forever;  an education making her self-reliant, a mission taking the Gospel to others somewhere else in the world.  What these kids learn on their missions is nearly incomprehensible.  Knocking on doors, meeting strangers, learning to speak in public.  They come home and become model citizens in their communities.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for continuing to send your blog to me! I felt privileged to be your teacher. My brother returned from Mozambique this summer and I have been learning a lot about his mission experiences. Here is a video you will both love about the work in Mozambique (my brother helped make this video and many of those who are interviewed are families that he baptized):