Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A trip to the Village

This last weekend we set off for Nakaseke District (it used to be part of Luweero District and the famour Luweero Triangle so we still talk about going to Luweero when we go to the village) to visit Jane's dad and to start work on building him a new round house. His traditional house had fallen down, thus necessitating a new one. We packed up family and building material (which is cheaper here in Jinja than out there). We loaded our whole family, our two young ladies who help us, Ruth and Maurine, 10 bags of cement, 12 peiece of tine roofing, nails, and our luggage. Yes we were very well-loaded!Then we added more items once we reached Luweero Town: two 50kg sacks of maize flour, one 50kg sack of rice, two bunches of matooke (cooking banana), and some vegetables and beans.

Everyone was so happy to see us! Jane's dad who we call Papa is about 67 and stands about 6'4" is a typical Tutsi with a slender, lanky build. He was resting on the veranda of the main house in the shade. The veranda on a typical house here in Uganda is not really a shade or prtch area but a footing that extends out from the base of the houe about a foot and a half and rises about a foot or so above the level of the ground surrounding the house. Janes sister Esther was near the outdoor kitchen and quickly cam over with her children to wellcome us. The kids all tried there best at greeting us in English and we exchanged greetings with Esther (Jane's sister who has been living there since 08) and Papa in Luganda and Kinyarwanda. Mama Dan, another one of Jane's siters who is staying at the homestead with her children was there too. She came over and we exchanged greetings again. Jane started to cry as this was the first time we had seen Mama Dan since they lost their 13 year old daughter a few months ago while we were away in Canada.

We began offloading our cargo with th help of the many children around. Mama Dan (Paulina) has three girls and two boys -- her oldest being Dan who is 16 and is a handsome mild-mannered young man. Esther has 5 boys and one girl -- her oldest is Kamuhanda, a hard-working boy, who is 15. Esther has stayed at the homestead since May of 2008 when she lost her husband very suddenly. Tragically she lost her oldest daughter of around 10 years just a couple months later to an unknown sickness. Mama Dan is at Papa's as her husband lost his job recently at the exact same time as their second oldest daughter of 13 died very suddenly -- that was just a few months ago. Mama Dan's husband is currently culitvating their land a few miles away in a more secluded village, meanwhile his family is staying at Papa's which is about 1km from Kiwoko where they can school and have ready access to a good hospital.

We had a good time with some light-hearted moments as Jane's siters tried out some of their little English. We were mostly there to get papa's house built so I spent a lot of my time getting things ready for the new house, while Jane was able to get a lot of good time in visiting with her sisters. The builders came on Sunday evening after I had spent the day rounding up bricks and sand so that they would be able to get going immediately after they came. We had cleared the site of the old rubble from the wattle and thatch building where papa used to stay. The kids had cleard most of the rubble from where the centre of the house was, during the time I was out with Dan rounding up material. We left Tuesday Morning after having secured material and watching the builders finish off the foundationa and start the walls.

We would love for you to continue to pray for Jane's family. Jane's sisters are living in a lot of fear, understadably, as they have faced so much death over the past few years (both having lost two family memebers since 07). There is a lot of talk about some of the deaths being a result of witchcraft -- which could be true. Please pray that they will be released from fear and that they will experience God's presence and blessing in their lives. Pray that their children will be willing to read the Bible to their moms as they are both illiterate for the most part. Pray also for God's provision of a job for George (Mama Dan's husband) and provision for Esther as well. Also pray for their health and protection but most of all please pray that they will put their faith fully in Christ for slavation and protection and provision. They are wonderful women and do not beg or complain in the least. Very easy people to help -- if only more Ugandans had their spirit!!


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Back in Uganda.

We are now back on the red soil of Uganda. Not only are we adjusting to our miry clay and all the difficulties it brings to daily life but also we are adjusting to the many changes of life back in Uganda.
Our journey from Vancouver to Entebbe was a long one but all in all I think the boys fared well -- maybe better than their parents. We left Vancouver Airport on Tuesday the 27th around 10 pm in the evening after checking in our 19 pieces of luggage. My faithful friend Bryant was there (helping haul our luggage around as usual!)along with my brother Oliver and his two children. My dad was also there, having flown in from Saskatoon earlier that day. He drove "our" van home (our old Lumina that he bought off of us when we left in 07 – it served us very well during our stay in Canada –thanks mom and dad) the next day. We were actually accompanied on our flight to London by good friends from our Life Group, Bert and Leona Ewert, who were going to visit son and his family in the UK. We flew through the night, stayed in a small hotel in London the next night and then arrived, finally in Entebbe at a guest house around midnight on Thursday the 29th – welcomed by the typical lack of power and the scent of paraffin lanterns and the ritual of tucking in mosquito nets around our bed.
We finally arrived at our home in Jinja about 60 long hours after we had set off. It was good to see all of our friends and family who welcomed us back. All of our luggage made it except that one piece was mistakenly taken in Entebbe by some fellow missionaries from Canada. We will collect that bag tomorrow.
We have been working on obtaining our work visas and getting our house and car in order. I (Chris) have painted one of our boys quarter rooms so that the boys will have a proper school room. The boys quarter is a small detached house that is called thus as such buildings were the quarters of servants who would work for the owners of the main house. Our nephew Steve lives with us and sleeps with Andrew in the other boy’s quarter room.
Some of our adjustments to life here include:
Getting used to long meetings – I just came back from a four hour school business meeting for one of our nieces who schools near us. The meeting was about an hour late so that meant about 5 hours of meeting time. Church also takes a while – we intentionally come late so that our kids can survive the service. Our church starts around 9am with Bible Study and Testimonies and can go up till two if the preaching goes two hours instead of the usual one hour.
There are many challenges to our life here – including the spiritual depravity in our village. Many of the people in our village where we live are in desperate need of redemption; we have many bars and therefore drunkards, many people involved in witchcraft and other wicked practices. We sense once again we are in a spiritual war zone. Satan does not want true light to come into the darkness here. Please pray that both in our ministry and in our daily lives that God will watch over us and guide as we respond and relate to the many poor and needy people around us. May we let our light shine so that our neighbours may see Christ

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Coke and Cops

He flagged me down as I was approaching Jinja Train station. My attention was on the white-clad traffic officers on my right who were flagging down matatus and suspect lorries in the oncoming lane. I pulled over quickly once I noticed the officer standing just ahead of me in my own lane. I wasn't worried -- I had not been speeding and I have an up-to-date Ugandan driver's license. The Police Officer walked quickly up to my passenger window as I rolled it down.

"Good Afternnon, Sir"

"Good Afternnon" I said,

The coke can sitting in the centre console quickly caught his eye. He motioned to the can --

"What is that you have there?" his eyes lit up with the prospect of a cold soda.

I knew immediately that he was going to ask me for my Coke -- I wasn't worried...

I picked up the can, showing him it was open and as I waved it around. He noticed immediately that it was empty and quickly found something else to say.

"Let me help you throw it out"

I didn't want him to have it as I knew he would just toss it in the ditch next to the highway.

I told him I'd take care of it.

"Can I see your license?"

I quickly got out my Ugandan Drivers permit and he was satisfied after wrongly pronouncing my sirname back to me.

We said good-bye and I was left to ponder how our Police Force is so corrupt as I drove into town. I knew he was after "Kintu Kadogo" (Something small). I was within the law so his leverage was very low, but for so many overloaded taxis and run-down lorries such an officer threatens fines and imprisonment hoping that the offendor will offer him the equivelent of a dollar or two to get out of the fix. Then a few miles down the road the rundown lorrie ploughs into an overloaded taxi and it pads our statistics for annual road fatalaties! All for the price of a coke!
Our country is slowly slipping into the abiss of corrption where there is not justice even in the courts where a verdict can be bought. God help us! Pray for our Uganda! Corruption is eating at us like a rust at an old car. We're falling appart.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ugandan Sunday

Well... we are sure we are back in the same Uganda. We have had warm wellcomes, had many visitors, near accdents, followed lorries billowing smoke, and endured long queues for daily necesseties. Today, our second full day at home in Jinja we went to church at our home Church; Deliverence Church Walukuba. We arrived at our normal time of shortly before 11am. The church normally starts at 9am but with a large family and not much for a Sunday School program we usually come after the Bible Study and Testimonies to join in worship and the message. We enjoyed the lively worship and were wellcomed to the front to greet everyone. I used 10 minutes to tell everyone that we had a great trip and to bring greetings on behalf of our church and life group. After some announcements our guest speaker was warmly wellcomed. Pastor Bishop Peter Paul Malawi was visiting from Mombassa where he has flourishing church and ministry to young people. He shared on "/Preparing
for your breakthrough". His message was very encouraging and challenging. We were challenged to see that God's grace (2Cor. 6.1) is not being poured out on us in vain. Peter Paul started his message around 12 and was done around 2pm. After the service we had many more warm wellcomes from our brethren in church. We headed into town to get some money from an ATM so we could fuel our vehicle and do some more shopping for food and household items. The first ATM had about thirty people at it, the second one on the other side of town had no money (which hadn't suprised me -- there is usaully areason why the machine is so busy). we drove back to the first ATM on main street and after pending a minute in line I decided i did not want to spend the next hour or so in a queue I decided to drive the family across the river (Nile) to another less-used ATM in front of the Breweries. We hit a traffic jam on the usually not-too-long of a drive over to
Njeru. After a few more minutes in the hot sun in the traffic jam and a few more in another ATM queue we finally got some money to put some diesel in our now empty tank. We stopped to buy some matooke on the home in Bugembe meanwhile dad had a coke and the boys enjoyed some icecream after a long wait for our currency. We were finally home to have lunch and find some more visitors waiting to see us. Just another Sunday in Uganda...

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