Monday, April 26, 2010

Uganda 2010 Day 5

Oh my pink gracious…the newlyweds are expecting and it’s a GIRL! I have tried to let them do all the announcing of this exciting news, but well…grandparents can’t help themselves, and Uganda or not…there’s a princess coming in September!

I want to start every post the same…I am overwhelmed. Redundant by true. I guess I should start the day by telling on myself. I have been taking a sleeping aid that was recommended for the plane, and then for the first two nights here to help adjust to the 10 hour time difference. On the plane, in Dubai and Friday night, I seemed to wake up part way through the night and be awake until morning, so last night I took the second option of taking 2 pills, hoping to extend my nights sleep to a full 8 hours.
I woke up this morning tangled in the mosquito net and a giggling roommate. It took some coaxing to get it out of her, but apparently just before the double dose took full effect, we had quite a conversation including a whopper about a former engagement and some financial problems with the wedding, some “emotional” talk about the little girl in the blue dress and then I untied the mosquito netting, told my roomy I was going to sleep under the “princess net” mumbled something and fell asleep…well more like a “sleeping beauty” coma I guess. I have no memory of any of the colorful escapade or the tall tales, but I do believe I will forgo the sleep aid for tonight. It would be totally like my brother to tell me 2 was ok, and he did say that, knowing I would completely entertain someone sometime. For the record, I have no idea where the notion of a former engagement story came from.
We met this morning for breakfast, and then headed to Kakiira for church. I went to the breakfast room and tearfully met with a couple of the leaders. “I can’t live so safely”. I told them how compelled I was to dash out of the van yesterday, yet felt so tied to the seat. I told them that I understood we don’t want to do anything that would jeopardize the rest of the week, but I am still having such a difficult time, sitting is not nearly enough. Its not that I want to spare them the poverty, but loving and talking to a child struggling or sent out by family to scavenge food…sitting is not nearly enough. I felt like a silly female, and I hate feeling like a silly female, well the female part isn't a problem...
I was so impressed by the poverty yesterday, until today…when the village of Kakiira made Jinja look like paradise. It was the best and the worst of Uganda. Humble people, waiting to greet our van like we were celebrities, beautiful smiles, warm greetings, adorable children, dirt, shacks, hunger, rags, children carrying children.
I have only a few pictures to show for the visit. Today I wanted to see them, greet them, not wanting to make them feel like a photo opportunity. They didn’t mind a bit though, when another camera came out. Crowding around and smiling, making funny faces. I did video tape a little bit and was able to turn the view finder around so that the children could see themselves on the camera screen and that alone made them squeal in delight.
Cows, goats, chicken roam freely and mingle along with the residents on the torn up dirt roads.

Then we descended a set of stairs into the church. The underground meeting room was about ½ full when we came in but quickly filled. We were seated in special plastic chairs right up front, facing the center podium, while the regulars sat on benches, perpendicular to us, facing the front. Then church began. Because of the angle of our seats, we could see both the front and the congregation's faces and I found myself studying the faces of the women I have already love come to love. Noticing the ones who smile, and the ones who don’t. Worship leaders sang without accompaniment, freely, one song flowing into the next. Worship was demonstrative…feet moving, hands clapping and raised hands, loud voices. Children sitting with their parents were more than a little curious watching our fair skinned bunch.
Sneaking stares at us and smiling or ducking back behind a post or a mama. Directly behind us was an opening in the wall and there were about 10 young children, sitting in the dirt, peaking down at us. My word if I could have recorded it all without showing disrespect I would have.
Pastor Tracy Cook from Ventura was asked just before the service began, to preach today…people came forward to “testify” about God’s goodness. Offering was taken and 2 hours later, we were excused to greet each other. Children approached to eagerly shake hands with the “Muzungus” (foreigners). At one point I sat on a bench to talk to the pastor’s daughter and the tiniest little guy came over, slipped his hand in the crook of my arm and smiled while he stroked my forearm. What on earth he was thinking, I have no idea, but I didn’t really care. I was saying “Jesus loves me” one word at a time as he tried to repeat it. It was heaven in that whole in the ground. We finally tore ourselves away and made it back to the street where stickers were passed out and more pictures taken.
I sat silently on the way back. It’s just too much to take in. Rich in beauty, poor in possessions. Tomorrow we’ll talk about the spirit.

When we returned to the hotel we all felt like we needed some exercise, so we walked about 3 miles to the source of the Nile River, at Lake Victoria.
I'm in DeNile, like that's news to anybody!
Did a little shopping and took a boat ride…blah, blah, blah…the only thing worth mentioning is the pocket full of candy and the few children along the walk back.

A 10 year old carrying water on her head to her family, 3 little ones playing in the road…we didn’t need to bride them, they came close at the spectacle we were, but it was absolutely delightful to give them a piece of candy and watch their faces light up.

We ate dinner and then met about our first day of the conference. Day 1, session 1 is my assignment. Did I mention I haven’t actually taught before? “Woman at the well, Jesus going out of his way for the outcast”. Please pray that the Holy Spirit would just take over, cause oh my word, I am in Uganda and going to pretend to be a teacher tomorrow.

Thank you for sending me, thank you for allowing me to experience Uganda. Thank you for giving me a place to tell of my love for Jesus and His love for women. I wish I could say I have no words…but apparently I have a couple. Love you all. Internet’s been down all day here, so I’ll throw this one up first thing in the morning…bout 10pm ish Sunday for y'all. (What am I Southern now?)


JP said...

Amazing pictures and great stories. Even if we can't be there with you, it's awesome to be able to experience a small piece of it through your words. Love you and miss you! Can't wait to hear more.

Susie said...

Love the posts and the pictures. Praying for you to be used in a mighty way with the women and children. Stay safe and please take more sleeping pills as I'm sure the stores will just keep getting better and better...gotta love that imagination of yours!

organizercarol said...

I know that the Lord is using you and you are teaching great things. I am praying you don't get sick, and that God protects you, guides you and I can see, changing you! Can't wait for you to get home and hear all about it!