Saturday, November 30, 2013

I am in Mourning.

As a result of Bama's loss today to it's arch-rival, cross-state Auburn Tigers, there will be no blog this weekend.   Nothing more to say.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Special Thanksgiving Post

We will miss being with family and friends in the states this Thanksgiving, but we are so grateful for being here and the bounteous blessings we are enjoying.  We are also genuinely  thankful for each of you and how you have influenced our lives, even if in seemingly small ways.  May your Thanksgiving be one of preaceful and pleasant reflection on the tender mercies received from our loving Heavenly Father and his Son Jesus Christ.
/Pam, never missing an opportunity to serve others invited 35 folks to our Thanksgiving dinner Monday night, 25 Nov.  (We will be on the road to and from Kampala on Thursday).  Attending were the 8  full-time missionaries, acquaintances in the residential compound we live in and many she met on the street while jogging or shopping.  (She’s never met a stranger.)

Our ovens are on the small size so we had to purchase two smaller turkeys…live turkeys.  Can't buy them in stores up here.  They have small frozen ones in Kampala, but they are around 200,000+ shillings or $80+.   So the missionaries ordered from a village the turkeys and dressed them  while Pam and I were conducting classes Saturday morning.  (Dressing…as in killing, dipping in hot water to remove the feathers, removing the innards.)   Glad I had a conflict.  Then the turkeys were chilled til Monday when they were cooked.  Turkeys here are not as meaty as in the statess so we also  cooked chickens.  We had recently dropped by a vet’s shop and purchased the largest syringe and needle we could buy to inject all with marinades.  It worked beautifully

Pam didn't do all the preparations.  Each set of missionaries helped:  peeling the irish and sweet potatoes and carrots, cleaning/snapping the beans, slivering almonds, preparing fruit salad, making two cakes, etc.  They did a tremendous job. (Half of them will be transferring out of our area this week.  We will hate to see them go.)

It may not have been the Hilton spread our Brooks clan will be enjoying on Pensacola Beach, but we had turkey, dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, candied yams, squash casserole, beans with bacon, onion  and almonds, caramel carrots, homemade rolls, fruit salad, pumpkin and apple pie, banana pudding, chocolate cake, and later many aching bellies.

Pictures below of the way to make a cake, turkey from scratch, the elders and friends, some, brand new, at our first and only Ugandan Brooks Family Reunion.  Sorry more of you couldn’t join us.  You would have met some very interesting people.  Some surprises included below.

 Warning,…some scenes below may be too graphic for small children and even for some weak stomached adults.

Our feast arrives on Friday after a 2 hour bus trip.  They are tired, hungry and thirsty.  We fatten them up with millet for Saturday’s sacrifice.

The two turkey’s spent the night outside our home Friday night tied to a tree.  This was the first turkey the missionaries captured.  I had no idea that turkey’s are “birds of prey pray”.   When the elder grabbed this turkey’s tail, the turkey grabbed  the tree trunk with its left wing, holding on for dear life.  You could almost hear it praying as it tried to escape…to no avail.  Even the compound cat became frightened. 

 The missionaries involved in the dressing of our feast…showing no mercy.
 Gang leader above and below.
 To the victor goes the spoils.  Elder Phiri was a pro at preparing chickens in his native country so this was pretty simple stuff for him.
De-feathering after par-boiling the dead turkeys

 Still plucking feathers.  Can you tell how skinny they are? 
 A little souvenir.
 Nearly done.
 Final wash down.
Finished product. 

Guests David and Rachel, a Catholic family leaving in 3 weeks.  He's a student of Notre Dame so we hit it off big. He is working on his masters regarding war conflict.  His wife is from Pensacola and they have lived in Mobile and Gulf Breeze!  Last year he attended every Notre Dame game they played including the National Championship Game against Alabama in Miami...rotated taking one of his children to each game.  As he was leaving he asked me when the "Iron Bowl" was.  Told him Saturday night, 11:30 kickoff.  He said he'd be here.  Pam met Rachel as Pam was crossing an open sewage gutter.  Rachel could tell Pam was a little nervous crossing the delapidated bamboo "bridge" and asked if Pam needed help getting across.
Reverend John Ochola, Anglican Pastor on the left, who has been on the radio more than once saying some pretty harsh things about the Latter-day Saints in general and the missionaries in particular.  He gave the blessing on the food and thanked God for sending the missionaries to Gulu to help his people, the Acholi.  Also took home a copy of our monthly international Church magazine, The Liahona.  I showed him a special section in the issue titled, Africa Southeast Area which includes Uganda.  He was devouring the magazine.  We will be meeting with him, at his request, again on Friday. He's a good man, who was just misinformed about our beliefs.  On the right, our neighbor, Dr. Dragomir S Mirkovic, from Serbia.  Nickname is "Coko" (pronouced soko...close to sucko), given to him by his grandmother.  His father died in the war before Coko was born.  He was breast fed til he was 3 years old and his grandmother gave him that name because as he sucked on his mother's breast, he made a loud sucking noise.  Coko is part of his email address. He has been here two years working at the private hospital.  All his children and wife are doctors, some living in the states.
Vickey and Thomas.  He's from Canada.  They were recently married.  He is a student studying conflict and peace.  He Chose Gulu because of the long civil war centered in Gulu that ended 7-8 years ago.  Very involved in trying to help the people here become more self-reliant.

Three of our eight missionaries and William, studying the maps of Africa and Uganda on our wall.  William's second time in our home.  He's from the USA, Ohio.  Says being here makes him feel like he is home again.  Will join us Christmas eve day for games with the missionaries.  He has a couple of businesses now and is expanding.  Mentioned he is talking to some of our Church members I've referred to him for employment.  His salaried employees will far exceed the average in northern Uganda.  He has been here several years and is dedicated to helping the "Gulugans" get better educational opportunities.  He started educational funds for them while he was in high school, likely 5-6 years ago.  Wonderful young man .
Not near enuf room inside so we moved all three missionary dining room tables outside as well as those eating inside. Children in this picture belong to director of the private hospital and his wife.  They and parents all live at the front of our compound. 

If this link will not open for you please cut and paste into your URL.  We're sure you will enjoy it.  We hope you enjoy this short but inspiring musical that brings to mind the many blessings we should be thankful for this season! 

This video was sent to me by an old fraternity brother at the University of Alabama, Keith Echols.  Keith lives in Vestavia, AL...just outside Birmingham.  I'm thinking I haven't seen Keith since I graduated from Bama in 1972 but we have a mutual friend with whom Keith stays in regular contact...Doug Foster who lives in Salt Lake City.  Doug joined the LDS Church a few years after I did. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.  (11:45 pm here)

Brooks and Pam

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Week 37

Gaining acceptance in Gulu!

We've mentioned in previous blog posts about some of the radio persecution the Church has been receiving in Gulu.  One of those on the radio was a local Anglican Reverand...retired.  "By chance" Pam  ran into him at  local Indian-owned grocery market early last week.  They had a friendly conversation; asked what we were doing, exchanging phone numbers, etc.   Later I walk in the store and Pam introduces us all the while noticing the Reverend’s surprise realizing from  my name tag, that I am one of the Elders and we are members of the Church he has been talking  down on the radio.  Nonetheless, a cordial conversation had already ensued. 
Friday of this past week he called Pam saying he would like to meet.  We were delighted at the opportunity.  We met that afternoon taking him some of Pam's delicious chocolate chip banana bread (Sister Beckle’s recipe).  We had a very nice conversation.  He explained the history of Anglican church, his positions as educator and leader in church, teaching in their schools of theology  and asked about our history.  I explained a little; when  the reverend mentioned the importance of service to his Church I showed him the Church's Southeast Area Uganda Mission newsletter where Ugandan government leaders praised our church.  This included a Ugandan government official by the name of Musa who loves the Church.  His responsibility in the Cabinet is that of Emergency and Disaster Relief so he knows first hand what the LDS Church has done for the people of Uganda.  The reverend said "That's all in Kampala; what have you done here?"  We then showed him a second newletter specifically mentioned the Tippy Taps that our local Church branches have installed in all four corners of the city, told him about previous wheelchair deliveries, as well as service at schools and Lacor Hospital.  We left these newsletters with him along with some reading material that answered some of his spoken and unspoken questions.  Our purpose was simple to become a friend to him.  We did not and would not debate doctrine but he was surprised at how much commonality there is between his Anglican faith and ours.  He said he wanted to meet again and would call us.  If we don't hear from him, we'll give him a buzz.  All in all, it was a great meeting with genuine potential for a developing friendship. 


It’s November, the rainy season which was supposed to have been heaviest in August has far past.  The temps are supposed to warm up but it is cool and rainy.  Bumped into a sister coming to our Friday night Movie Nite in the Bardege Chapel this week...she was all bundled up and shivering telling me, "I'm freezing".  I, of course, felt it was an absolutely perfect night.  It's all a matter of is much of life in general. Has rained almost every day this month so far.  Very bad for our locals who depend on their gardens and farms to survive on.  The crops are rotting in the field. Even the bricks can’t be constructed because the mud bricks are too wet to fire. 

And the more rain, the more the rock quarry fills with pump to move the water out.

Northern Uganda is a place where the old adage, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” seems to apply… literally.

A real blackboard in our Gulu Chapel..haven't seen one of these in a while.  Works better than a whiteboard as for some reason the whiteboard markers seem to run dry very quickly over here.
I'm ALWAYS looking for a marker that writes.
One of your young singles learning to hoola hoop.  Some were very good.  Most had never seen a holla-hoop this one.
Your standand toilet.  Notice no sink to wash hands...not toilet paper.  Thus far I've been fortunate enough not to need one of these.
A Gulu row house, so to speak.  This is right next to the large market where we do most of our outdoor shoppiing the houses remind me of the ones' I've seen in DC and Baltimore.  This is a long alley of houses, one right next to the other.  Morning time.  Folks up washing dishes and clothes.
One of our valiant Young Women presidents, a truly great leader.  Most of the clothing worn by people here are secondhand items originating from the states.  Often they wear clothing that's gender-based (not theirs) or with questionable sayings, particularly for Sunday worship. 
Hadn't seen much of Halloween around Gulu...actually saw nothing.  I asked a few folks about Halloween and they had never heard of it..  A few days later in Kampala I came across this cute sister/brother at the grocery store with Mom...still dressed up in Halloween costumes.  I told her I was not aware Halloween was practiced here.  She said I hadn't been to the right neighborhoods.  Maybe it's just a big city thing where "western" culture has influenced the locals.


  Pam…always studying…taking advantage of every opportunity.  She loves the scriptures and immerses herself in them.  We are waiting on one of her seminary students at Pope John Paul II school to join us.  I think this day she was at “prayers” and we never found her.  Pam just takes whatever might be wasted time and  simply continues to the study the gospel.  The cloth flower she is wearing...she made this and taught many of the sisters in the two Church branches how to do the same.

People make their own coal to cook with or to sell.  This street vendor selling the small buckets in the foreground for 1000 shillings each...40 cents.
These large bags of coal...25,000 shillings...about $9.

  Came across this "doctors" office.  "Traditional Doctor" means witchdoctor.
Hundreds of them here.  They cast spells and require their "patients" to  perform some pretty horrible stuff in order for their promises of better health to be fulfilled.  Most of the people in town no longer follow the witch doctors, but they still have a strong presence up here.


Eating lunch at a nearby restaurant by myself recently, doing a little work, just finishing up and I hear this giant”ROOOLLL Tide”.  I hop up, thinking it is some sort of pep rally or tale gate party.... low and behold, here is a table full of Bama fans  giving me a roll tide cheer and rolling their arms thru the air in the process.

Then I saw this group sitting right next to the Tide table....all Auburn fans and not terribly friendly either... Both groups from the state of Alabama on a church mission building homes, I think it was for homeless children.  Even the Gospel can bring the worst enemies together.  ONE MORE WEEK 'TIL THIS MATCH-UP AND I AM FEELING VERY NERVOUS.

Ps to the Woods.  I'm at the Sankofa tonite working on the blog.  Same place as the restaurant mentioned above.  They've got the pizza down pat now...only takes 10 minutes to get one out of the wood burning oven.  (To all others, when we first arrived in Gulu, we had pizza with the Woods (outbound missionary couple) at the Sankofa.  Elder Woods called in the order and we waited about an hour before we left the apt for the restaurant....then we waited another half hour or so for the pizza after we arrived.)

Photo: READY!

Son-in-law, Jerry and my two special boys living in Utah. Knowing the path we should travel makes life much easier..."Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old..." Uh oh...I just noticed Noah with a Texas Longhorn, "Hook Em Horns" symbol. I've got more training to do.

President N. Eldon Tanner (1898–1982) of the First Presidency of our Church...
“A young man came to me not long ago and said, ‘I made an agreement with a man that requires me to make certain payments each year. I am in arrears [behind in fulfilling financial obligations], and I can’t make those payments, for if I do, it is going to cause me to lose my home. What shall I do?’
“I looked at him and said, ‘Keep your agreement.’
“‘Even if it costs me my home?’
“I said, ‘I am not talking about your home. I am talking about your agreement; and I think your wife would rather have a husband who would keep his word … and have to rent a home than to have a home with a husband who will not keep his covenants."

Fourth Nephi of the Book of Mormon covers the nearly 200 years of unity and harmony following Jesus Christ’s visit to the Americas. The people “were all converted unto the Lord” (4 Nephi 1:2), resulting in a society that people of all ages have dreamed of.  Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles observed that following Christ’s visit, “His majestic teachings and ennobling spirit led to the happiest of all times, a time in which ‘there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift’ [4 Nephi 1:2–3]. That blessed circumstance was achieved on another occasion of which we know—the city of Enoch, where ‘they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them’ [Moses 7:18]” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 40; or Ensign,‍ May 1996, 30).  The city of Enoch, you'll recall, is mentioned in the Old Testament as being so righteous it was taken up to Heaven.

Tragically, the second half of 4 Nephi reveals how a righteous and happy people allowed pride and apostasy to enter their lives, bringing the eventual destruction of their entire society.  The Book of Mormon was written for each of us today as a reminder of the importance of always keeping our covenants and not letting the similar circumstances destroy true happiness.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Week 36


The Big Event

The young single adults have been planning a large scale activity.  We have a newly formed Institute Council comprised of 5 of our young single adults ages 18-30 who represent the other 25 now attending. Held my second meeting with the Institute council on 15 Nov.  The first one a week or so prior.  They had decided to hold an activity at the Gulu Recreational Center but had no budget, no theme, and had left themselves no time to plan it.  I talked them into postponing it for a couple of weeks.
We met again last night after two of them, Patrick and Stephen, visited the site, saw what there was to see; a zoo, boat ride, free kiddie rides, 10,000 per person pork plate-- planning for maybe 50 people (500,000 shillings), soda, etc.
Their original proposed budget was 250,000 but after deciding to invite less active and turn this into a “rescue” activity, I knew the costs would rise as the number of attendees would rise but it will be hard to get a handle on that.  As we sat down to discuss their latest plans, they proposed a budget of 1,000,000 shilllings.   I almost fell out of my chair but didn’t react too strongly so as to not discourage their efforts.  I listened and then told them that wasn’t going to fly but tell me what they learned about the recreational center:
You can enter the park for free.  There is a see-saw, merry-go round, a concession stand, a boat to paddle in and a zoo.  The boat leaks water and the lake is about 3 feet deep and may runs 50 yards long.  Holds 10 people at a cost of 1500 shillings per person.  The zoo is a set of concrete statutes of animals…zebras, rhinos, giraffe, elephants, etc.  It too cost 1500 shilling per person.  The good news is that FOR ANY OF OUR FRIENDS PLANNING TO COME TO GULU TO VISIT…WE NOW HAVE A SAFARI ZOO WE CAN TAKE YOU ON.  You are guaranteed to always to see the beasts in their natural habitat!  sort of.  (Actually most Ugandans never have a chance to go to an animal reserve, thus the concrete zoo - kind of like us visiting a museum of natural history showing what dinosaurs looked like.) 

The kids also wanted to rent a PA system to play music, 70,000….scratched!
Well, we worked the budget over a few times and got it down to 400,000, something one of the branch presidents said he’d be happy to split the cost on. (Haven’t heard from the other)
They wanted to get out of town a little ways and hold an activity in a new venue so I approved and they plan on buying some sodas at the park, taking some snacks themselves, playing games and having a testimony meeting.  I hoping all goes well for them and they are all drawn closer together, particularly those who are not currently attending meetings who are invited by our active young singles, ages 18-30. (I don't think any of them will be going to the zoo...see one concrete elephant and you've seen it all.)  Sad thing is there just ain't much to do in Gulu.  This isn't Kampala on Lake Victoria or Jinja on the Nile.

When we lived in SLC I managed the commercial underwriting department which covered UT, AZ and ID for what used to be a pretty good company; USF&G Insurance.  Like a lot of “pretty good” companies, it is long  gone; first purchased by The St Paul who was later purchased by Travelers.  Being "pretty good" doesn't cut it in the real world today.  Avoiding unnecessary debt is the only sure fire way to  stay strong in a teetering economy...personally or business-wise.  Borrow at the peril of your business or personal lifestyle.  Modern day prophets have warnd the Saints, "Get out of debt and stay out of debt."
I was fortunate enough to have a good enough relationship with the Church that for the years I was in SLC we wrote the property coverage on the Church’s commercial property; apartment complexes, malls, tenant occupied office buildings.  Most all the other Church owned property was self-insured…I know the chapels were.  Don't recall about our large temples.

I don’t recall who wrote the Church’s auto fleet, though I knew the fleet manager.  I think I know why I never pursued that line of coverage now that I’ve been on my mission.  I imagine the physical damage on the fleet is currently self-insured.  But there is still the liability line that poses a large portion of the Church’s assets to loss.  Can you imagine the underwriter who has this account?  I’m guessing over 90% of the fleet is driven by carefree teenagers (young men just out of high school and now on their mission who hardly knowhow to drive) or a bunch of old fogies (senior missionary couples like Pam and me who are now falling back into that same category) coupled with driving UK style on the wrong side of the road!  
 Pam and I just a few years down the road....maybe on our 4th or 5th mission for the Church

This week I began teaching English to some of our Acholi members.  There are two free English courses the Church makes available to it's members.  I will be teaching the basic course while a new convert to the Church, Walter Nyeko, a police detective, will be teaching the more advanced class.  (He is a former English teacher. ) Each class held twice a week.  Right now on Sunday during Sunday School and on Saturday morning.  They are great courses and really important in a nation where English is the official language of the country.  There are dozens and dozens of tribes and languages spoken here.  Those in the "village", the country, have never learned English.  They move into town and there is no hope of a job, the economy is bad enough as it is, but if you can't read or write English, there is no way out of poverty.  It's back to a basic tenant of the Gospel..."self-reliance".

Par for the course...I had one student show up and she belonged in Walter's advanced class.  Walter was absent due to a death in his family.  Just as we were hour later, the other advanced student showed up.  No one for my basic class showed up.  I am out of town Sunday, so it will be next Saturday before I try again.  People have to make up their minds if they want to be helped or not.  We cannot force our ourselves on them.  But it was a delight teaching them and seeing what little progress we made in one hour and the confidence each student seemed to exude.  You could tell they were proud of themselves.
Ran into these Alabama Football Fan Rednecks in Kampala recently.  My kind of people!  Not really...this is an Auburn fan!  Not really, haven't seen this guy anywhere over here.
but he looks like he'd make a great Bama fan...he and his sweetheart behind him.

Our compound guard chomping away on some sugar cane...bringing back childhood memories of Camilla, GA where Grandma Brooks lived...the only place I remember getting this stuff from.  It is grown all over Uganda.
 Some flower pedals some of young Church girls picked after Chruch
And then rolled up the pedals to make this case, a "heart" with the word "I"and "Jesus" spelled out in the center.
 Here they are, hard at work.

Thought you'd like this one, maybe not..kinda gross actually.  We have a 3 filter water filter system.  We change filter 1 monthly.  The second filter every other month and then once a quarter all 3 filters.  The above pic shows the difference in what a new filter #1 on the left  looks like before it is inserted into place and what a filter #1 looks like about 30 days later on the right..  This first filter obviously is capturing the large impurites...what I call plain and simple dirt from the city water system. The other two filters catch the smaller stuff...the stuff that might get into your digestive system and wreak havoc for a while...if you know what I mean.  Pretty obvious why we don't drink the water here...unless it is filtered.

Pam found another beetle...a really big one, of course.  Probably close to 2 1/2 to 3 inches long.  Pam loves all the creatures, no matter how strange they may be.  I guess that's why she married me.
 A small...10x10 brick building.  Didn't go inside...was in a hurry.  But not too much of a hurry to stop and talk to a lady and an unrelated fellow who wanted to know who I was, what I was doing in Gulu, why I was taking the picture, etc.   They were very interested in the Church.  I left them some reading material, invited them to Church the next day and both came...each to one of the separate branches we have here.  Andrew is late 20's and Susan in mid-50's.  The members did a good job of fellowshipping them...I ran into both of them because I was running back and forth between the two branches conducting business..  Susan wanted to know when she was going to be baptized.  I told her she must first be taught by the missionries.  She then asked me when that was going to happen.  Took me all of 30 seconds to find the missionaries, introduce them and have them set a teaching appointment.  She came to Church the following Sunday too to watch the Church's Worldwide Broadcast of General Conference via DVD's and brought two friends with her.  A couple of days later I received an email from Andrew wanting to maintain contact.   Get a phone call every other day or so from him.

On our way to Kampala two weeks ago...a scene we drive upon too often. This one looked bad.
Front and rear view. Our previous mission president owns a number of Peterbuilt Truck dealerships in the west. Knows his trucks. He says these local trucks flip so frequently because, for same strange reason, the trailer or tanker is built high off the center of gravity, making them top heavy and very unstable. They hit one of our highway shoulders and go right over. Sometimes don't see one of these on a trip. Sometimes see 2 or 3 badly wrecked vehicles. The two lane asphalt can become one lane very quickly here as the asphalt on the sides of the road has crumbled or washed away in the rains. A truck may try to avoid an oncoming vehicle or a large pothole and catch the edge of the road.


You'll want to double click this pic.  Pam stumbled across this scene just down the street as she was out jogging on Ugandan Independence Day.  Someone had just slaughtered a cow and was selling the meat to eat.  And when I say meat, I mean all of it.  People were buying anything that could be chewed.  They offered Pam the head but she wasn't sure if that was because they didn't want it or because they thought she wanted to buy it.  She was told, "people eat it all."  Like Independence Day in the USA, people cookout and eat here...except they "eat it all".  We're thinking the head was offered to Pam to buy and eat.  Nothing thrown out to the dogs.
His presence looms over Title-Town (Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the uneducated) 30 years after his passing. 
One of the real hard parts of our mission for me has been missing some of the Bama football games.  This is something I haven't done since I was 11 years old when we won our first title under the Bear.
Saturday is such a long day here.  At 8:00 PM I want to check on a few scores around the country only to realize that none of them have even kicked-off yet.  And some of the games are still going when I awake Sunday morning...makes for a very long day, believe me.
"Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature.  There seems to be an unending supply of challeges for one and all.  Our problem is that we often expect instantaneeous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virture of patience is required."
President Thomas S Monson, President of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints.
Patience, a heavenly virture we should pursue
"...but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearets by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."  Romans 8:3-5
Patience is defined as "the capacity to endure delay, trouble, oppostion, or suffering witout becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious.  It is the ability to to do God's will and accept His timing.  When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully.  Patience is related to hope and faith-you must wait for the Lord's promised blessing to be fulfilled.  You need patience in your everyday experiences and relationships, especially with your companion.  You must be patient with all people, youself included, as you work to overcome faults and weaknesses"  (Preach My Gospel, p. 120)


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Week 35

A portion of this poem was quoted by Thomas S Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Monson was speaking of trials and the strength God gives us to see them through. His wife died last May after experiencing a terrible fall a few weeks before.

Good Timber

by Douglas Malloch

The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

An update on the air conditioner duct. The duct tape covered over by the package tape held in place by thumb tacks gave way after a couple of weeks. So we reinforced the duct tape covered by the wrapping tape which is held in place by tacks with 3 small thin pieces of plywood screwed through all of the above into the original plywood that the duct was being fed through to begin with. I think this will get us through the hot season...winter time back in the states.

Where I had my blood drawn for my physical....the "Bleeding Room"  Actually, one of the best sticks of a needle I've pain whatsoever...maybe because I was anticipating the worst stick of my life.

 To all you lying turkey hunters in the states to like to tell your tales of how hard it st to find and shoot a turkey...does it look like this turkey is having any problem hanging around me?  Actually came up to check me out. 

  Pam with a newly found flower  placed in her hair.

One of our new friends at the hospital...Julius mentioned in previous post.. A few months ago he was in such agony. Now is out and about in a wheel chair. 

And this need to buy an expensive turkey caller...just say, "here turkey, turkey, turkey" and they come right over to you.   All the tales of you hunters and fishermen..."the one that just got away", "turkey's are the smartest animal in the forest...patience, gotta know how to call one, blah, blah, blah...I always doubted you. Now I have proof.;

Shortly after this, as Pam was climbing into the front seat of the truck the turkey came over to her and butted her with his head.

 Love this shot of a a bag of jerycans being perfectly balanced on her head.
 Aunt on the left and grand-mama on the right, to Martin, our hospital friend.

We recently visited our young friend Martin in the hospital…had been going 3 times a week. One of the nurses, Sister Dorcus, told me that Martin had been leaving most nights after dark and not returning until mid-night or later. I learned from our other patient friend, Julius, that Martin had asked Julias to hide some betting/gambling receipts Martin had brought back to the hospital on Fri and Sat nites. Bottom-line, we had told Martin we would provide food for him and a hospital bed so long as he obeyed hospital rules and our rules. It was sneaking out at night that got him dismissed from the same hospital months ago and kater landed him on our front porch close to death. When we admitted him to the hospital we told him if he pulled any stunt like that we would no longer support him with food or clothing or medicine.  Having been given many witnesses that he had been lying to us, we devised a plan to take him to his grand-mama’s in the village.  We found them as sweet as they come, good Christians.  They said he had done the same thing to them when they had taken him to Gulu Referral Hospital, the government hospital.  He would not follow the rules and kept sneaking out.  They appreciated our efforts and also acknowledged that there are natural consequences for our behavior...good and bad. Some people only learn the hard way. Martin is one of those people. We hope he learns from this. His leg had been miracously healed…he only needed a place to have the bandage changed once a day.


For all my American friends who are worried about coming over here and not knowing what to do with your hair...I found this place for you....saloon, salon...what's the difference?
How to whack a tire from a tire rim.  Just keep whacking it til they separate.  No special tools required. I see them them do this regularly as I've been at the service station so many times as they put plugs into my flat tires. (Ps. Had another flat repaired on 31 Oct while in Kampala...think that is number 7.  While getting the jack out for the mechanic, I discovered someone had stolen the tire tools needs to loosen the lug nuts and crank the, that would have been great traveling home 6+ hours, getting my 8th flat and no way to change the tire..  Got a replacement the next day at the Nissan dealership we bought the truck from originally.)
Here's another one I liked. Don't forget to enter for Bama-LSU tickets! Details were posted earlier.
Yesterday we visited an eleven year old boy in intensive care.  Several weeks ago he and his brother were badly burned when their hut caught on fire in the middle of the night.  His brother died a few days after the incident.  He, his  mom and grandma were grateful for our visit, but we were more grateful for what we learned about patiently enduring from them.  The people here suffer from many hardships, but they are so resilient and faithful during their trials. 
President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency taught that  when we follow the Savior’s example during hardships, it helps us endure our personal “bitter cups”: “Many members, in drinking of the bitter cup that has come to them, wrongfully think that this cup passes by others. In His first words to the people of the Western continent, Jesus of Nazareth poignantly spoke of the bitter cup the Father had given Him (see 3 Ne. 11:11). Every soul has some bitterness to swallow. Parents having a child who loses his way come to know a sorrow that defies description. A woman whose husband is cruel or insensitive can have her heart broken every day. Members who do not marry may suffer sorrow and disappointment. Having drunk the bitter cup, however, there comes a time when one must accept the situation as it is and reach upward and outward. President Harold B. Lee said, ‘Do not let self-pity or despair beckon you from the course you know is right.’ The Savior set the compass: we must be born again in spirit and heart” (“A Second Birth,” Ensign, June 1998, 2).
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught that Jesus Christ’s mortal wounds are tokens of His sacrifice:
“However dim our days may seem, they have been a lot darker for the Savior of the world. As a reminder of those days, Jesus has chosen, even in a resurrected, otherwise perfected body, to retain for the benefit of His disciples the wounds in His hands and in His feet and in His side—signs, if you will, that painful things happen even to the pure and the perfect; signs, if you will, that pain in this world is not evidence that God doesn’t love you; signs, if you will, that problems pass and happiness can be ours. Remind others that it is the wounded Christ who is the Captain of our souls, He who yet bears the scars of our forgiveness, the lesions of His love and humility, the torn flesh of obedience and sacrifice.
Last trip to  Kampala we felt we needed  to stay over the weekend to complete some of our unfinished business.  Not only was it enlightening to see how well the branch we attended was functioning, but most significant was a wonderful Sunday evening with all the Senior couples residing in Kampala and special guest Dr. Drew Cahoon, an LDS Canadian dentist  who also resides part-time in St. George Utah.  Dr. Cahoon has been coming to Uganda and Rwanda for 10 years, this being his 21st trip!  The wonderful service he is doing here to provide equipment and training for dental clinics is truly phenomenal.   
Dr Cahoon to Pam's left.
He mentioned coming to Gulu later in the week, so we asked if we could assist him in any way.  We were delighted to have him stay with us for his short visit, which included attending the Gulu Rotary Club.  Rotary is very big and significant here in Uganda.  Dr. Cahoon was invited to share his work in Uganda.  He explained the unique qualities of these clinics and the outreach programs in the schools that are benefiting tens of thousands of children.  He also pointed to Pam and explained that our Church ships all the equipment, thus paying tens of thousands of dollars in just this shipment alone. The gratitude expressed by some of Gulu’s distinguished business leaders regarding the Church’s service here certainly negated much the disturbing radio messages against us in previous weeks. 
Dr. Cahoon had to travel to western Uganda early the following morning and was unable to meet with the head dental surgeon at the hospital receiving the new dental equipment.  We volunteered to do this for him.  Initially the head surgeon was confused thinking the equipment came from Uganda’s  Ministry of  Public Health.  He thought the government had purchased and provided the equipment.  As he came to understand how the equipment was made available to Gulu, he became warmer and commented on Pam’s nametag.  He told her that the missionaries had begun teaching his family and although his son was very interested in our church, the father was doubtful about “our Bible”.  After we explained that we have the same Bible as they do and that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, he became became more receptive.  He had not yet received a copy of the Book of Mormon, but said he would like one and would begin reading it.  There was a wonderful spirit as we closed our meeting with this good surgeon.  Once again, we left marveling about how the Lord opens doors to forward His work.


President Thomas S. Monson explained the value of anonymous service:
President Thomas S. Monson
“I approached the reception desk of a large hospital to learn the room number of a patient I had come to visit. This hospital, like almost every other in the land, was undergoing a massive expansion. Behind the desk where the receptionist sat was a magnificent plaque which bore an inscription of thanks to donors who had made possible the expansion. The name of each donor who had contributed $100,000 appeared in a flowing script, etched on an individual brass placard suspended from the main plaque by a glittering chain.
“The names of the benefactors were well known. Captains of commerce, giants of industry, professors of learning—all were there. I felt gratitude for their charitable benevolence. Then my eyes rested on a brass placard which was different—it contained no name. One word, and one word only, was inscribed: ‘Anonymous.’ I smiled and wondered who the unnamed contributor could have been. Surely he or she experienced a quiet joy unknown to any other. …
“A year ago last winter [1981], a modern jetliner faltered after takeoff and plunged into the icy Potomac River. Acts of bravery and feats of heroism were in evidence that day, the most dramatic of which was one witnessed by the pilot of a rescue helicopter. The rescue rope was lowered to a struggling survivor. Rather than grasping the lifeline to safety, the man tied the line to another, who was then lifted to safety. The rope was lowered again, and yet another was saved. Five were rescued from the icy waters. Among them was not found the anonymous hero. Unknown by name, ‘he left the vivid air signed with his honor’ (Stephen Spender, ‘I think continually of those—’ in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, ed. James Dalton Morrison [New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers], p. 291.) …
“May this truth [service] guide our lives. May we look upward as we press forward in the service of our God and our fellowmen. And may we incline an ear toward Galilee, that we might hear perhaps an echo of the Savior’s teachings: ‘Do not your alms before men, to be seen of them’ (Matthew 6:1). ‘Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth’ (Matthew 6:3). And of our good deeds: ‘See thou tell no man’ (Matthew 8:4). Our hearts will then be lighter, our lives brighter, and our souls richer.
“Loving service anonymously given may be unknown to man—but the gift and the giver are known to God” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1983, 73–74, 76; or Ensign, May 1983, 55–57).