Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 71

This week we are able to go to the South Sudanese refugee camps up near Adjumani, Uganda to deliver approx 3200 feminine hygiene.  These were requested by the Honorable Ecweru Musa, Uganda’s  Minister of Emergency Relief, when we accompanied Elder and Sister Hannan on their Humanitarian Service distribution of saucepans, blankets and mosquito nets back in April.   The church was not able to be involved with this distribution but thanks to hundreds of Young Women, Relief Society sisters and women associated with Days for Girls chapters, more than 2000 kits from the states were made and delivered to Uganda.  In addition, a very generous donation from a son’s Canadian company allowed for approximately 1,000 more kits to be made by Days for Girls-Uganda.  

This evening our good friend Simbwa will drive six of those from Days for Girls to our home where they will have a good meal, spend the night and in the morning depart for the camps to do training on personal hygiene and reproduction.  Tomorrow afternoon Elder and Sister Hansen (Public Affairs) and Elder and Sister Squire (mission nurse and fleet management) will arrive here.  Early the following morning we will also go to the camp to help with the actual distribution of the kits.  We want to thank EVERYONE who has participated in this project: cash donations, making and assembling shields, liners and kits, bringing supplies to Uganda, and the many hundreds of hours in just sorting everything here and in Kampala.  We are so appreciative of the kind and generous hearts of people around the globe.  We’ll give a complete report in next week’s blog.  Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for making a difference in the lives of women and girls in northern Uganda!

This week's plods
While plodding along the country road a man in a smart-looking boy scout shirt stopped me and asked me where I was from. In the conversation I noticed his shirt had the Great Salt Lake Council patch on the sleeve and Troop No 1964.  I have seen a few scout shirts around but people wear all kinds of shirts that do not indicate their personal interest - generally just something they find in open market and like.  This case was different. This man, Michael, is a big scouter.  He actually is the Scout District Commissioner for the area!  I didn't even know there is a scout program here.  He said next month they are having a big campout at a location not far from Gulu and are expecting 400 scouts!  I told him I have three sons that are Eagle Scouts.  He has invited us to come to the campout.  Soooo, if any parents of missionaries reading this blog are sending a package to their son in the next month, maybe you would consider buying a scout shirt from D.I. or a thrift store and send it with a note to have the shirt delivered to the Moores. It would be fun to present them with a few scout shirts.     

As I continued down the road, I saw a woman carrying a jerry can of water who was very angrily talking out loud. Even though she was speaking Luo (Acholi language), it was clear that she was ranting about something that troubled her.  Then I noticed 20 yards further down the road were more jerry cans she was trying to get down the road to her hut.  She would carry some a certain distance, leave them and then walk back to get the others.   Perhaps that was what had her upset – no one was there to help her with this difficult task.  I thought, “I can help her!”  I explained to her that I would carry two of the jerry cans for her and she could carry the others.  She understood, even answered me with some English, but she adamantly rejected my offer.  When I picked up the cans to show her I was serious about helping, she was livid and made it clear she did NOT want my help.  So I sadly departed, while she remained in her angry state.  

I thought a lot about this:  how often do we stay angry about our circumstances, even choosing to remain in that senseless state of misery rather than accepting the help extended to us? Or do we blame God for shortcomings and even spew words or actions of anger toward Him for what we think is unfair in our life?    The Savior spoke often about this: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how Often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).


The Savior’s invitation to us for peace and true happiness – in spite of our trials – is open to all: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)  He loves us so much that he sacrificed his own life on our behalf -- if we will just love and follow Him as our Good Shepherd.

As we struggle with the difficult vicissitudes of life through our own earthly journey, let us not react as the irrational woman did struggling to get back home,  but let us with true humility accept the Savior’s offer to carry our burdens through His Atonement so we can indeed return to that Heavenly Home He has prepared for those who follow Him.

 Institute (college age religion study) holding steady at around 25.

A street sweeper.  Actually a dirt sweeper, cleaning off debris, trash from in front of her shop/home.
People movers.  These head out everyday in the morning with a ton of products on them and a ton of people headed to market a good ways out of the city.  These too, as you can imagine, are very dangerous on our  highways as they are very top heavy and quickly swerve away from a pothole or a tire rolling off the asphalt into a deep drop off flipping one of these trucks injuring or killings the passengers.

Okeny William earning money for his mission.  Just received call to Cape Town, So Africa.

Prisoners working on the roadside.  In the US we call this "cruel and unusual punishment".
Sisters working on a service project to deliver feminine hygiene kits to refugee camp in northern Uganda.
When they weren't working on the service project they were learning to bake...a few loaves of bread here

Taa daa...a baked loaf of bread.  The first time for any of them.  We have two of our brethren making outdoor ovens at each chapel so the sisters can do more baking on their own.  At their homes they have the single or double stove top ovens so this is all very new to them.
At a nearby market there is always a clear running stream, rainy season or dry.  This little guy standing on a rock and dipping a plastic bottle in the water.  I didn't see him drinking any of it, thank goodness.  Most of the time I see folks sitting on the ledge on the right of the picture, dipping their feet in the water and then rubbing their feet on the rock the child is standing on...scrubbing them clean from dirt or dead skin.

Our good friend Dorreen.  She and her husband, Samuel, are often on the roadside selling African made souvenirs
Here they are together with their youngest of 3 children.  Goods for sale on the tarp.

Sharon Odung...20 yrs old, is just a few months short of completing her senior 6 - level of  high school, on track to graduate in December.  She joined the church in April, but was told by the entity that was providing her scholarship that it would be revoked if she joined our church.  She prayed about this difficult decision and decided she must follow her heart and be baptized.  Her scholarship was revoked and her family had no money to help her with school fees. Sharon is a very smart,  articulate and cheerful person so a friend arranged for her to have a job interview with a radio station.  They were pleased - until they asked which church she attended.  When she told them, they not only would not hire her but harangued her with insults about the Satanic cult she now belonged to. She was then kicked out of school.  When she came to her keyboard lesson a couple weeks ago, Pam could tell something was wrong.  At around this same time someone from the states had sent a donation for potential education needs.  We don't GIVE the people anything, but Pam has put her to work cleaning the apt and ironing. She is very, very happy again.

Sharon comes from a very special family from a village in a district north of Gulu.  During the early years of Kony's atrocities Sharon's grandfather was a member of parliament from that district.  He worked hard to get many of the people, including the rest of his family, out of the village to safety in other parts of the country, but he said he could not leave the poor behind in the village who had no where to go.  He must stay to help them.  He was killed in one of the attacks by Kony's rebels.  Even today his name is revered by all the people of this district.  One of Sharon's brothers is very much like this grandfather and is very supportive of Sharon's recent decisions to stand with courage in the face of persecution and adversity. 

Marvin J. Ashton (1915–94) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained what it means to have charity:
Charity is, perhaps, in many ways a misunderstood word. We often equate charity with visiting the sick, taking in casseroles to those in need, or sharing our excess with those who are less fortunate. But really, true charity is much, much more.
“Real charity is not something you give away; it is something that you acquire and make a part of yourself. And when the virtue of charity becomes implanted in your heart, you are never the same again. It makes the thought of [putting others down] repulsive.
“Perhaps the greatest charity comes when we are kind to each other, when we don’t judge or categorize someone else, when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt or remain quiet. Charity is accepting someone’s differences, weaknesses, and shortcomings; having patience with someone who has let us down; or resisting the impulse to become offended when someone doesn’t handle something the way we might have hoped. Charity is refusing to take advantage of another’s weakness and being willing to forgive someone who has hurt us. Charity is expecting the best of each other” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1992, 24; or Ensign, May 1992, 18–19).

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