Sunday, February 2, 2014

Week 48

Laws of Nature, Part 3  "Man and Agency" (Pam)

(CLARIFICATION TO LAST WEEK'S BLOG:  My apologies to Elder Moore for not clarifying that HE was not the one risking life and limb to save -- CATS!  The TIDE would have to roll over dead for the next century before he would ever consider doing such a thing.)

People here have very little in material things, but are some of the happiest people we've ever met.. Some huts we have visited have no furniture at all. Yet, they keep their personal property sparkling clean, sweeping the dirt so it has a smooth finish,  and if possible "sliming" around their entranceway. (Sliming is done with a mixture of cow manure and water and gives the dirt a pretty sheen like satin paint.)  Some homes have more, with a few pieces of furniture often covered with pretty embroidered cloths.  Always, their homes appear to be immaculately considering the circumstances in which they live.  

However, property that belongs to the city, to extended family, to a municipality or even the churches are often filthy and frequently fall into gross and/or lasting disrepair.  It isn't THEIR personal property so there isn't a sense of pride or responsibility. "It's not my concern, someone else will take care of it" but that doesn't generally happen. Moreover, if cousin Immanuel has a job and someone else in the extended family doesn't, Immanuel is expected to take care of the extended family, even while the other family members may be idling away their time.  Thus, those working often lose incentive to keep working hard, and the idlers have no incentive to look diligently for employment. 

This has been a pattern throughout history. America's first permanent settlement, Jamestown  practiced communism and failed miserably for the same reason. 

…The idle and improvident trusted entirely to what was issued from the common store; the assiduity even of the sober and attentive released; when they perceived that others were to reap the fruit of their toil; and it was computed, that the united industry of the colony, did not accomplish as much work in a week as might have been performed in a day, if each individual had labored on his own account."  (qtd. in Hall, Christian History 162)

Later Governor Bradford's Pilgrims practiced communism through a Christian foundation.  It also failed:

For the young men that were most able and fit for labor and service did repine complain that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without recompense. The strong ... had no more in division of victuals and clothes than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the other could; this was thought an injustice ... and for men's wives to be commanded to do service for other men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it." (Ibid. 166)
After Bradford divided the land into parcels and told each family to "root hog or die",  the colonists experienced greatly increased productivity with women who  “…went willingly into the fields, and took their little ones with them to set corn, which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression." 

Years later he mused:
The experience that was had in this common cause and condition, tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato and other ancients -- applauded by some in later times – that taking away of property, and bringing it into a commonwealth, would make them happy and flourishing as if they were wiser than God." (Skousen, Majesty of God's Law, 357)  
The same principles hold true today as we assist third world countries.  The pure love of Christ teaches us we must help those in need, but we have to be careful that we don't do too much which would undermine their personal efforts and responsibilities. For people to get out of poverty, they also need to learn - as all prosperous peoples have done -  to become self-reliant.  Only then will they be able to walk out of poverty, and obtain personal property if they desire.
This week I worked with the Bardege Branch Young Women and leaders teaching them how to sew a purse/bag solely by hand (since none of them have sewing machines).  I taught them a little about proper fabric selection as well as cost analysis, if they would choose to market the bags. This was labor intensive for everyone.  We met three days (plus my pre-preparation). Can you imagine teenage girls 12 - 17 sitting for 4-5 hours each day sewing by hand? Their thoughts were no different than girls in America, BUT they stuck it out and each girl finally finished her bag.  They were sooooo excited and proud, especially since school starts for them tomorrow and they will have their new pretty bags - that THEY made - to take with them.  One of the girls told her mother it was very hard, but she couldn't believe she did it and she knows she can make more.  The Young Women president shared her testimony this morning about how this experience is helping them become more self-reliant.  I am so happy for the increased confidence they have in themselves through their hard work in this activity.  Work is an essential part of Heavenly Father's Plan of Happiness extended to each of us.
"Cursed is the ground for thy sake... In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, til thou return unto the ground.... " Genesis 3: 17, 19

 Bardege Branch Young Womens President, Suzan Anena
 Group shot of the young women making.....
 A couple of the young women above and below.
Young Women President, her counselor and 10 girls...job well done.
This is the son of Gulu Branch's Young Women's President.  She has been terribly ill for about 3 weeks.
Writhing in pain.  Off to the govt hospital who guessed she had a cyst on her ovary but did not have the x-ray equipment to confirm, naturally.  They referred her to Lacor Hospital but she refused to go for a couple of weeks due to cost.  We got to her house Monday.  SOOOO sick.  I tried to imagine having a kidney stone attack for 2-3 weeks or being in labor with no anesthetic for that length of time.  I called the branch president who authorized us to take her to Lacor Hospital where the Church would cover the costs...which we did the next day.  They doped her up pretty good, not a common practice here to manage pain.  CT Scan revealed an abscess on an ovary. They operated that afternoon and as of this post has been home about 1 week.  Recovering well.  The best news for her is that that her ovaries were not damaged or removed, so she may have more children.
 At her home there is RUNNING WATER.  The first I've seen here near any huts anywhere.  Everyone typically relies on bore holes (watering holes) where they pump their jerry-cans full of water and use for cooking, washing clothes, bathing.  Many bore holes are half a kilometer or more from one's home.  Imagine carrying 7 gallons of water in each hand that distance.  The children work too, carrying maybe 2-3 gallon jerry-cans of water. Man, this water faucet is as convenient to these people as an inside toilet is to us.
 Dropped our friend's visiting teacher off at her house and noticed this TV dish in someone's yard.  Notice the small solar panel on the ground that keeps this dish running.  A rare car find in the background too.
 This pineapple was growing on the premises of the mother of one of our sister missionaries serving in London.  The Mom is not a member.
More fruit.
Still more.
Green bananas in this tree.  Bygona...or a Ugandan banana....larger than non-Ugandan bananas.  She also has a g-nut (peanut) farm down the road.  This is how people live here.  The old adage, "You eat what you kill" applies but here it's you eat what you grow and if you don't grow you don't eat.  It's that simple.  We've read there are about 31,000,000 people in Uganda.  Maybe nearly 1,000,000 have jobs and a good portion of those are with the government.  No job, no income.  You survive on what you grow.  Many also sell some of what they grow for a little income.  Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Gulu area is one of the poorest regions in Uganda.


  • In 2 Nephi 2:2 of the Book of Mormon Lehi stated that the trials we endure can turn to our benefit. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how a sense of gratitude enables us to see our hardships in the context of our purpose here on earth: “When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. We are sent here to be tested. There must be opposition in all things. We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same” (in Conference Report, Apr. 2003, 103; or Ensign, May 2003, 97).
  • Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that God provides us with challenges that are designed to help us grow spiritually: “Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses applied simultaneously. When those trials are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more (seeProverbs 3:11–12). He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding, and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign,Nov. 1995, 16–17).
Following is an article from one of the Church Magazines, LIAHONA, with a story of a senior missionary couple's work here in Uganda.

To all my anti-Bama fans who saw our last two losses of the season and figured it was the end of a great run, below is the 2014 recruiting it and weep.  Bama, back on top again!

Cameron RobinsonOT5-star
Tony BrownCB5-star
Da'Shawn HandDE5-star
Marlon HumphreyCB5-star
Rashaan EvansOLB5-star
Christian MillerOLB5-star
Bo ScarbroughRB4-star
Ronnie ClarkOLB4-star
Ross PierschbacherOT4-star
Josh FrazierDT4-star
Dominick JacksonOT4-star
Joshua CasherC4-star
Keith HolcombeOLB4-star
Johnny DwightDT4-star
Laurence JonesS4-star
David CornwellQB4-star
Cameron SimsWR4-star
Shaun HamiltonILB4-star
Jarran ReedDT4-star
JC HassenauerC4-star
Derek KiefWR4-star
D.J. PettwayDE4-star
O.J. SmithDT3-star
Montel McBrideOG3-star
Ty Flournoy-SmithTE3-star
JK ScottK2-star


  1. Thank you for sharing! The pictures are great, I hope you don't mind, but I am sharing your stories and pictures with my family back home. Love, Sister Preator

    1. Share to your hearts delight. We look at this as a missionary tool for our back home friends and family and a way to encourage other singles to"come on down!"