Sunday, May 4, 2014

Week 61


Wyatt and Jaime's firstborn, precious baby Anne, arrived safely Thursday afternoon.  She weighs only four pounds and has mild apnea so she will remain in NICU until she is a little stronger. This was not expected, but Wyatt and Jaime have great faith and are appreciative of all the blessings and prayers they have received.  We feel (almost) as if we are right there because they have sent so many wonderful videos, pictures and updates. What a wondrous miracle is the birth of a child.

The Testimony of Gulu's Former Relief Society President

Dear Sister Nighty struggles so much with the physical hardships of this area.  She has four girls, ages 4-17, that she is trying to raise as a single parent;  her husband told her some time ago that she would no longer be his wife because she has not given him a son.  Sister Nighty is the one who works as a boarding school cook  for merely pennies an hour.  Since the children at boarding schools are fed 7 days a week, it is hard for her to attend Sunday services , but now is school holiday so she was at church.  She expressed her deep appreciation for the Church and how it had benefited her in so many ways.  Then she shared that this week she had no food at her house, except for two cups of dried beans, and no money to buy food.  As she prepared to cook her beans, an elderly man came to her hut, saying he had no food and could she provide for him.  She said this was such a test, but she remembered the Old Testament story of Elisha and the widow with her son sharing the last meal with the prophet and the miracle that happened.  Nighty gave the man one of the cups of beans and cooked the other for her family.  Not only did they have enough so everyone was full, but someone came and gave her a gift of 5,000 shillings ($2). She acknowledged the Lord was watching over her and her family.  Skeptics may scoff at the simple faith of these people, but we also testify they are receiving the Lord's tender mercies  as they strive to serve Him.  Their gratitude for the simplest things will continue to bring them joy here and in the hereafter.

We had a change in leadership in our Bardege Branch recently.  Our mission president, President Chatfield,came to Gulu from Kampala for missionary training and while he was here called Odhiambo Phillip as the new branch president, releasing Jolly Joe Rachkara.  Jolly Joe had served in that position for a year when the branch was officially organized in Apr 2013.

Phillip will be a wonderful leader.  He is 25, completing medical school with the help of some dear friends from our home Church ward in Dallas and is engaged to be engaged to a wonderful young lady who serves as the branch Young Women’s President.  She completes her teacher training in June, but may decide to serve an 18 month mission, in which case Phillip has told her he will sustain her, not date anyone else and plan to marry upon her return.  To watch them and hear them ovingly teach the Gospel, you would never imagine they have been in the church less than two years.  
Prospective Missionaries:
These are exciting times for our two branches, Gulu and Bardege.  We have a host of our young single adults preparing for their two year mission (the sisters for 18 months):
  •   Simon...has received his call to Ghana in Jun?????
  •      Roy…called just received to Ghana
  •     William…papers will be submitted in May.
  •     Collins…just received his call to Ghana
  •     Santos…papers soon to be submitted
  •      Patrick…papers  will be submitted in May
  •      Lucky…has earned her minimum contribution and will submit her papers in next few months.
  •      Nancy…same as Lucky.
  •      Laurich…same as Lucky.  The latter three comprise the Young Women’s Presidency in Gulu.  An immediate loss for the Gulu Branch but a long term blessing as they return having dedicated themselves in full-time service to the Lord, returning more spiritually mature and wiser as to the ways of the world.  These and others like them are the future of the Church in Gulu. An update on Laurich...she has a very ill grand-mama.  Her grand-mama raised her and has encouraged her with her mission plans, but since her grand-mama's recent stroke,  Laurich feels she must put off her mission as Laurich is her main caretaker.  She is watching over her family first and as for the mission, her heart is in the right place.  
These are dedicated single adults, strong testimonies, full of the Spirit.  They will represent the Uganda Kampala Mission well.  Most will be sent to other African countries although one of the newly returned missionaries, Brenda mentioned below, just returned from the London South Mission.

We have sent off three missionaries since we arrived last March and three have returned..Brenda Anena, Patrick Kumakech and Onen Vincent.  One is serving as a branch president, one as a branch clerk one as our Institute instructor for college age kids and one teaching temple preparation class for those wanting to go to the temple in Johannesburg. Another will return next month!  We can't wait to meet him.

A couple of our Gulu Branch members participating with the missionaries at the booth that was set up a few weeks ago in front of our main supermarket.
Proscovia, chorister
This looks like a river but it's actually the main road to Lacor Hospital and also the road the big t.rucks travel going to and from South Sudan.  You can see why the ruts in the road get so deep  
In one spot, the boda in front of us slid and fell into the big puddle it was going through.  It had a 100 lb bag of grain on the back.  I (Pam) jumped out of the truck (into the puddle) to try and help him get his bike arighted.  The two of us weren't strong enough, so we both called to some of the passers-by for assistance.  One of the men shouted back "No, things happen all the time here;  This is Africa."  I retorted back, "That is why you should help!  You are just being lazy!" (I know, I shouldn't have said that.)  A few seconds later, two from the opposite direction were there to help aright the boda, while the guy who refused kept saying, "What can I really do?"  With the others' assistance, the boda with its heavy load was safely up.  It was a pleasure to look each of the two helpers in the eye, thank them and tell tell them they were good samaritans.  They understood - all the while the other guy is still ranting that he can't do anything.  As I have reflected on this incident, I wonder, do the things we do indicate we are like the like those "samaritans" or are we like the man on the side of the road who thinks he can do nothing?"   

In the states firewood is bought by the cord or half-cord.  Here it is bought and brought by the boda.
Brenda Anena...newly returned missionary from The London South Mission where she spent 18 months.

President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994) shared some characteristics of those who have experienced a mighty change of heart:

“When you choose to follow Christ, you choose to be changed. …
“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. …
“Yes, Christ changes men, and changed men can change the world.

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