Good evening yall! We have now been in Uganda for over a month. At times it feels like it has been a year and other times it feels like we have only been a week. This post will be a little longer as there is much to tell and update everyone. Things are beginning to slow down and we are able to start doing more than just surviving. For the last month just being here was the hardest part. We have had numerous challenges that seem to have taken all our energy and time. Time here is special because there is never enough and that is probably the quickest lesson you learn. Repeat after me, “I will not finish the to-do list.” Now say it again and again to yourself. Back in America we like to cram our day so full and we usually finish all 10 things, well Uganda laughs at you. You may have a list of 10 things, but you will only finish 2 of them. Why? Everything takes a long time here. I get two questions a lot: what kind of ministry are you doing and why are you not doing more?
What kind of ministry are you doing?
We are the language. Language learning is ministry. One of the biggest keys to living amongst a people is learning their language. You want to fit in and really be able to impact someone, learn the language. You want to show a people you care about them, learn the language. You want to really learn the culture, learn the language. In a year we will not become fluent, but we will be able to speak it well enough to have conversations. We are using a method called GPA. Think of how a baby learns to speak English. It is the same thing. We hear lots of words and are able to recognize many of them but as of right now can only speak a few. You know the words in your head and are even able to follow some conversations but saying the words is still a way off. When the Karamojong hear you try to speak, they get so excited. Then it usually progresses to them trying to talk and you getting lost, but it is encouraging to see how happy they are about it.
This has been the first three weeks and will continue until we leave. That has been the major part of our ministry to this point. The second part is meeting people at church and around town. We stand out here. There are a handful of muzungus in town and we know most of them. Muzungu means white person. You will often hear groups of kids yell at you, “muzungu, how are you?” Many times that is the only English they know. Everyone looks at you and talks about you. You are different and that is okay. Some of the braver ones will come up and speak to us and shake hands, respect is a BIG thing here. Being a muzungu is intimidating to many of the people here so many will walk away or some of the kids will run away from you. Race is not an issue here. Muzungu is simply a descriptive term. Once they know your name they will remember it. Tomorrow I will go with a man from church to a teacher’s school to meet some of the admin and see how things work. The teacher’s school is where young adults (youth) go to train to become teachers. I believe it is two years long. I will then begin visiting secondary (middle/high) and primary (elementary) schools. I will be looking to see where we can make the biggest impact in terms of discipleship. The schools have religious education classes and scripture unions that make big impacts with a lot of the kids. I want to see the ones that need a little help. Not so I can take over, but so I can help the leaders be more effective in the long term. There is also a youth camp in January that kids from all over the northern district attend and I may say if I can get in that as well.
Why are you not doing more?
Adjusting to life here has been hard for most of us. You wouldn’t think it would take much to adjust, but it really has been hard. Back home, we could take a break from something. If you are eating outside and the flies are bothering you, well you can go inside. You cant here, they are inside and outside. Hot, well go in the AC. You cant here. Mosquitoes are everywhere at night, along with every crawling thing imaginable. You don’t get that break. That has been hard. I like comfort and you don’t get it here. After a while that gets to you and all you can think about is just getting by. For Sara it has been how long everything takes. Everything you cook has to be made from scratch for the most part. It has to be made from ingredients that you got that day or late the day before from the market, if they have it. If you keep the veggies more than a day or so they go bad. Then you have to wash everything by hand, one bowl with soapy water and one bowl with water with a dab of bleach. When they get to dirty you have to dump them in the toilets, to conserve water, and refill them from a bucket or jerry can, which you got from the rain bag or water tank if it has water in it. Not to mention you have to do school clean a house that gets dirt in it from sun up to sun down, wash clothes, and at some point learn language and meet people. Remember that time thing? It takes a lot of work to live here and get use to how things are done.
The kids are doing well. They all have things they love and things that they are not so crazy about. Liam misses his cousin Reed a lot. Nora misses her Nanas and mammy as well as her friends. Rory loves it here, he has probably adapted better than anyone. Emma misses her friends, but she has done really well here too. 14 here is an adult. People treat her like it and expect it of her. She has blossomed.
Our diet is carbs. Our meals consist of just a few meals. Cabbage in gnut sauce(peanut) with posho (stiff grits maybe? Think the grits that are congealed at the bottom of the pot without the taste) or rice. Beans of some kind (black, white, red, mixed color) with posho or rice. Occasionally goat or beef (harder to get) with posho or rice. We try to eat meat at least twice a week but with no way to store it you have to get it that day and you have to make sure you get fresh meat, some of the meat will have been sitting out all day. You can get bananas, passion fruit, guavas, avocados, apples sometimes, pineapples, and watermelons. Veggies you can get onions, tomatoes, green peppers, carrots (sometimes), okra (the lady who sells it knows us by name because we buy so much), and cabbage. Many of the people in the market know us by name and are super nice.
Before we left I often told people about how God had broken us so we would rely on Him. He continues to break us down and until all we have is to hold on to Him. That is a beautiful thing. A loving father who continues to show us overwhelming grace and love, he continues to show us things about him through our lives. It is a beautiful thing that I am humbled to be a part of. Knowing God, knowing Jesus is freedom. Being his and following that call is a truly freeing thing. It doesn’t matter how much we give up, he is constant and unwavering. I pray that everyone who reads this may experience that at some point. I can tell you this; you will not experience that if you are not seeking his will. If you are only living to further yourself, you will miss out completely.
- Our car has something that is draining the battery. When we are in Kampala next we need to get it hooked to a computer to find the issue. Pray it is noting major to fix.
- We have issues getting water to our tank, which is a big deal. The church has done a lot of work trying to get it fixed. Pray it will be fixed soon and praise the church has a new solar system that is providing water to much of the town.
- We have been battling a stomach bug. Pray we will recover soon.
- For our language learning.
- For me as I go to meet with the teacher’s school and begin seeing the need in the area.
- For our continued adjustment to life here and for many relationships to be formed
- For our family back home who misses us greatly and for us as we miss them