Friday, November 1, 2013

Week 34

Went to Kampala again this week.  Anyone planning on a senior mission needs to read the fine print…how many hours a couple is expected to be on the road each month.  You might want to reconsider the mission …just kidding!   This trip was actually optional: one of our senior couples was going home and a special dinner was held in their honor.
There is always stuff to buy and things to do in Kampala that we can’t buy or do in Gulu.  We were heading back to Gulu Saturday, but Pam wasn't feeling well, too many undone things, mailing Christmas packages, getting the equipment for the Cerebral Palsy baby, etc., so we'll stay a few more days.  Will be our first Sunday outside our area. 
Speaking of Praise, our Cerebral Palsy child: within a day of our blog request, we received a response that ATMIT had been obtained!  Thank you, thank you to our dear Bountiful friends, D and D.  Still working on details, but another set of angels have come to the rescue of one of Heavenly Father's children.  

Many of you have heard of the very successful and long running Broadway play titled The Book of Mormon.  Written by the same characters who did the TV show, Southpark.  Even Ms Hillary Clinton went to see it.  It's been a big hit around the world, but it is not accurate and certainly does  not portray a favorable picture of the Church.  A lot of profanity, falsehoods, crude humor, etc.  The Church's response was simply to take out an add in the playbill, which I haven't seen personally but reads something like, "Now that you've seen the play,  why not read the book." and then gives contact information for viewers to telephone or go on-line to order the Book of Mormon to read for themselves.  That is typically how the Church responds to negative publicity, if we respond at all.  That said....   
We have encountered quite a bit of radio persecution in Gulu .  Different political and religious leaders have been warning the people to stay away from the Mormons: the missionaries just after your money; they have multiple wives; the missionaries are gay and trying to get all the men in Gulu to act likewise, etc.  While those of us here from the states are used to such tripe, this has been very disconcerting to many of our local members so new in the church.  The mission is continuously taking steps to befriend other ministers and to help political and media leaders understand what we teach and do, but there are always weak areas that take more time and effort.  We frequently remind the members of all the persecution the Savior when through as well as what Joseph Smith affirmed nearly two hundred years ago during the resstored church's darkesst days of unrelentant mobbings,  pillaging, persecution  and murder:   
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done." (Joseph Smith - History of the Church, 4:540).
About thirty years ago Brooks and I were invited as guests of another religious group to spend two weeks in Japan and Korea. It was a wonderful trip with no problem, but one day when we turned on the tv in our luxury hotel, CNN was reporting massive riots in Seoul. Since that was where we were, we were quite surprised and a little nervous. The media made it out to be a major threat to the country's stability when in reality there were only a handful of students protesting individual rights on a college campus.  It wasn't even newsworthy, but CNN was making it into a major event.
If you have a missionary out in the field, don't be concerned.  The experiences here and in most places are nothing like the early days of the church.  Fearmongering is one of Satan's most effective tools to create unnecessary anxiety and worry to slow down the work.  Everything really is fine.  We are continuing to grow at a phenomenal pace. Attendance has never been higher at our institute classes and Family Home Evening.  Those seeking the truth are not diswayed by false accusations

A couple of weeks ago in Kampala I was chatting with our mission doctor.  He was a little concerned about my weight loss and suggested I get a physical just to make sure nothing serious was going on.  I wasn’t worried but decided to do it anyway.  A perfectly clean bill of health, but Bishop Peterson…I still do not do hikes (like I told you in the beginning) so don’t plan on any calling like that when I return next September.   Pam, however, would be thrilled to join the next scouting  high adventure activity.
Actually, the Gulu doctor was really surprised at my blood pressure which was 124/74.  He had never seen that in a 63 year old man. (Probably because most men in Northern Uganda don’t live to that age). I assume the  weight loss has contributed to my lower BP.  My first trip to our mission doc last March my BP was very much on the high side, where it has been for years.  An equally plausible explanation for the drop is the Melaleuca vitamin/mineral  supplement Pam has us on.  We try to take them "religiously" and when we do, we feel great.  When we forget, not always so good.   My doctor in Flower Mound scoffed at the idea but the product, loaded with grape seed and grape skin extract…clinically proven to reduce BP.  I had been taking it before the mission but sporadically.  Pam’s is 117/73…perfect pictures of health we are.  We call it Miracleleuca.

over four foot long lizard in our front yard.  Below is better shot of this fellow's length.

The missionary elders had just found him - very rare for this area and brought him over to our place to try to get a scare out of us. Instead, we suggested they play a joke on one of the new missionaries, so they took it and put it on his study desk and put a jacket over it.  When the missionary discovered it, you should have heard the shrieking.  Pam went over  (not more than 20 feet away) to see what was going on.  She picked it up and put on her shoulder to prove it was harmless.  He still declined.  I suggested they put it tail first down the commode with its head sticking out, but the missionaries are a little more sophiticated than us seniors.  (I'm guessing we worked too many years at Zion National Park with Bear, Walker and the likes.) We also thought it would be fun to call our sweet landlord and landlady to let them know there was something wrong with the toilet, but the missionaries wouldn't do it.   

A young girl at Church playing jump rope.  Takes 3 of them.  Two wrap a cord/sting around their bodies, back up to tighent it and the third or fourth child gets inbetween the two on the end and jumps, over, under and through the cord.
Girls playing jumb rope at Church. 

Brother and sister? Just friends? Don't know, This is just the way they were walking down the street. Folks here very affectionate. See a lot of guys holding hands as they walk down the streeet. Not a gay thing...they wouldn't live long for doing that in public if they were gay. Just a sign of true friendship. I like seeing it. Tells me here are two guys who would give their lives for one another. Nonetheless, there is NO KISSING in public. Even at a couple's wedding -- even when a couple is older and has a bunch of children and is finally getting married -- NOT appropriate to show affection between man and wife.

Firewood at Pope John Paul II School, at least 30 feet long.   Used by the kitchen to prepare meals - always rice and posho, a very runny porridge for breakfast.  Each student brings his own plate and cup and  washes it out when through.  With the posho is hard, so it  is used to sop up the beans..  These kids are up 3-4 o'clock in the morn.  Exams and classes till late in the afternoon, then again until 11:30 or 12 at night.  They dare not fall asleep in class or the discipline can be very severe.  Very grueling routine at all the private schools.. But they are learning and not subjec to all the PC stuff in the states. 
Traditional dress.  Notice the wing tipped shoulder pads.

Some local entertainers at a conference on woman empowerment.

beautiful beads made from rolled paper for sale.
A small play underway.  Thelocals where laughing very hard .  We didn't understand it.

This devise used to haul water or milk on a foot journey.  She says this gourd like looking devise keeps the water VERY cool
More work on the AC.  My duck tape, covered by my wrapping tape, supported by my thumb tacks wasn't quite holding, so we cut some small pieces of plywood to screw in over the duct tape, which was covered over by the package wraping tape, held in place by thump tacks.  I think this will do the job.  A few months away from really needing this and then we expect much of our govt supplies power will be sold to other counrties, leaving things very hot around here.

Caught a snap of a baby riding on the back of a boda on Mom's back.  This picture also gives you a good look at the ratio of bodas to car's on Main Street.  Count em. true!  (I know there are 1 or 2  of you who have been living on Mars the last few years who will not recognize the man on the right.  That is Alabama's Head Football Coach...Nick Saban).   The above speaks for itself but all you haters will enjoy the following article by Chris Low of ESPN:
"That's where we are right now in the college football season. Every snap, every decision, every turnover, every missed tackle and every injury are magnified. I think the cumulative effect of the season probably affects every team to some degree," Alabama coach Nick Saban said.

The same goes for being at the top of your game each week.

"I think, psychologically, the grind of trying to get ready to play your best football every game gets more and more challenging, especially when guys are trying to overcome more and more adversity," Saban said.

Each of the last two seasons, Alabama has lost at home in November and still managed to work its way back up the BCS standings and into the national championship game. (AND WIN IT)

I'm going on record right now, Chris Low says..... If Alabama loses in November for a third consecutive year (or even in the SEC championship game on Dec. 7), you're not going to see the Crimson Tide in Pasadena,Calif., playing for the national championship this season. 

I know this will make all of my friends and associates outside the Alabama family very happy.  It's lonely at the top!


·         Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles emphasized:

“Prayer is an essential part of conveying appreciation to our Heavenly Father. He awaits our expressions of gratefulness each morning and night in sincere, simple prayer from our hearts for our many blessings, gifts, and talents.

“Through expression of prayerful gratitude and thanksgiving, we show our dependence upon a higher source of wisdom and knowledge—God the Father and his Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 89; or Ensign, May 1992, 64).

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how we may become one with the Father and the Son:

"Jesus achieved perfect unity with the Father by submitting Himself, both flesh and spirit, to the will of the Father. The Savior’s ministry was always clearly focused because there was no debilitating or distracting double-mindedness in Him. Referring to His Father, Jesus said, ‘I do always those things that please him’ [John 8:29]. …
“Surely we will not be one with God and Christ until we make Their will and interest our greatest desire. Such submissiveness is not reached in a day, but through the Holy Spirit, the Lord will tutor us if we are willing until, in process of time, it may accurately be said that He is in us as the Father is in Him. At times I tremble to consider what may be required, but I know that it is only in this perfect union that a fulness of joy can be found” (in Conference Report, Oct. 2002, 76–77; or Ensign, Nov. 2002, 72–73).

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