We are now two months into our work in Kotido, Uganda. I wanted to give you an update on what’s going on with everyone. Over the last month myself and Rev. Captain Florence visited all the secondary schools (think high school), Kotido Technical Institute, and the teachers college. We visited with their Scripture Unions and made plans to help with weekly Bible studies at each. The long term goal is to teach the students how to read their Bibles, study them and teach them.
The main problems you see is lack of Bibles, people not taking anything in context and people read their Bible without realizing it is all about Jesus. We want each of the Scripture Unions to get to a point they can read, understand, apply, and teach themselves from the Bible. Then they can teach incoming students and then pass it along to the next. We were able to have one Bible study at the technical institute. It was on a Saturday from 10 to 1. It ended up being from 10 to 3. The guys wanted to sing and praise God. It was beautiful. We spent the time in study on the Great Commission, who God is, what Scripture is, and why we are important to God. The guys all eagerly were taking notes and seemed very intent on learning all they could. I am prayerful that it made an impact in how they read God’s word going forward. We also made a trip to Kampala for supplies, to get the car worked on, and for a break. Originally they told us the middle of October would be a good time for us to come to Kampala and I remember thinking, that soon? Well, it was the perfect time for a break. We found that the week before we were all a little tired and things were bothering us more than they had been. We were also running out of things that were not available in Kotido.
We traveled to Kampala which is about an 8 or 9 hour drive. The first 4.5 hours is through dirt and rock, potholes and mud. Going down the roads were dry except for one part which of course had a big truck stuck in. Think sideways. We then watched an army truck drive by and get stuck as well. Outside of that it was a good drive.
Kampala is something else. Let me explain. When we first arrived in Kampala we stayed there for ten days. We tucked in mosquito nets, we were sure someone was going to get malaria or bit by a spider and die. Then we lived in Kotido and Kotido laughs at Kampala’s mosquitoes. This time we didn’t tuck nets it, we didn’t even give spiders or mosquitoes a second thought. It was really something to see how we have changed since we first got here. Even the crazy traffic didn’t seem so bad. I am so thankful to God for how he changed us. Discomfort is miracle-gro for growth. If you really want to see God work and really want to change, then let yourself be uncomfortable. Kampala also has electricity, hamburgers, milkshakes, and ice cream.
We got the kids pupil passes, which lets them stay in the country the whole time, our permanent driver’s licenses and pick up supplies. We got the car looked at and the radio had a wire that was draining the battery, so we got it fixed and the car ran like a champ, at least for six days. After we got back to Kotido the car wouldn’t start again. I could have lit it on fire. I called the mechanic in Kampala and he assures me it is not the same thing or it wouldn’t have worked for six days. I am not sure, but I am not a mechanic. So now we are back to disconnecting the negative terminal so the battery does not drain over night. Each morning we reconnect it and are able to drive. Reliably broken. At some point we will need to take it back to Kampala or somewhere else to an electrician and have it checked again. Please be praying that when we do, the issue will be found. The trip as a whole was great and truthfully we were glad to get back to Kotido. Kampala is fast paced with lots of people and traffic. Kotido is much slower and peaceful.
In Lira which is the halfway point, I noticed a small crack in the side of one of the tires. I had a guy check it and was told it would be fine to get us home. About a week after being back we traveled up to Kaabong for a fall festival with some of our IMB friends.
The tire blew out about half way there. We were safe and were able to pull over and get it changed. Dr. Paul did most of the work, while I stood around… supervised and the boys watched for lions. Interestingly we did not have a single car pass the entire time we worked on it. The trip to Kaabong went well and everyone had a good time. We have since gotten two new tires, as the blown tire needed replacing and another of the tires was being to crack as well. The vehicle came from Japan so I am not sure how long these tires had been on there. It was been frustrating to have to keep dumping money into it. The roads are tough here and the wear and tear is great. Since we are short term our budget is very tight and the extra expenses do add up. Please be praying that we will not need any more major work done.
The kids are doing well. We have a large group of kids that come over almost every day to play. Our chicken has hatched 11 eggs. Language is going well. It is slow learning for me. The words are in my head but I have trouble putting them together when someone is speaking to me. I think I panic some and go blank. Emma does well. She is better than me but not as good as Sara. She knows the words and can bring them out for the most part. Sara is awesome at language. She can follow our language teacher when he speaks, and he speaks quite fast, and she can form sentences pretty well. If we had longer than a year, I think Sara would be fluent very quickly. The people here do get excited when you try and speak to them in Karamojong. I believe they do appreciate our learning the language.
Schools here go for their long break in November and will not be back in until February. Over the break we are going to try and get a Bible study setup with the senior 6 and senior 4 kids that have come back home. Senior 6 kids will be leaving in September for University so this will be a good discipleship opportunity to prepare them.
Some other random tidbits.
They do not celebrate Christmas here, at least not in the gift sense. They do not give gifts they simply buy meat and eat it together. There is no Santa here and I think I was told they do not do much at church either. We did celebrate Ugandan Independence Day. You buy meat and eat it together. There was a big soccer match between the police and a group from other another town.
Relationships here are what are important. People value you. They will often want you to come to their home so they can introduce you to their family.
Life is tough here, but the people are tougher. The Karamojong have been very reluctant to change anything. They didn’t for the British, they didn’t for Idi Amin, and they have tried not to for the current Gov’t. They do not raid anymore and are becoming farmers. They still do not see the value in education and because of that the area has trouble growing businesses. Once electricity finally gets here and when the roads finally get paved I believe business will come. This area is wonderful, the people are friendly, and it is safe here. The Karamojong will eventually change, our prayers need to be that we bring Christ to them so they can have Jesus as the foundation for that change.
–Pray for no more major work to do be done on the car as it taxing emotionally and financially.
-Pray that we get the electrical issues worked out.
-Pray that the Bible Studies are effective and the impact is life long
-Pray for health as we have had a viral thing go through the house with almost everyone sick for a couple days.
-Pray for our language learning
-Pray for the Karamojong
-Pray for us to endure and grow
-Pray that we also abide in Jesus every day, all day
-Pray for Sara as she looks to find and expand her ministry outside of the home
-Praise God for all He has done and continues to do