Greetings from Uganda.
We had another wonderful day here in Africa. Today we spend 12 hours in the countryside where we encountered 40 schools at five different rallies. At these rallies, we gave away 864 math sets and 72 bags of porridge. The day was longer than usual, not because we went to more sites, but because the schools were farther apart from each other and the roads are terrible. They are worse than a cow path in a pasture. Sometimes we would make better time walking than riding in a bus. Today the bus was stuck again, only this time it wasn’t because of the mud, it was because the ruts were so deep, the bus was hung up.
Another crazy thing for us Americans is that these dirt paths that we are traveling on, are not marked in any way, and there are no maps. There are times we are out in the middle of a sugar cane field, everything looks the same with no road signs. It would be very easy to get lost. It was during one of these encounters where Noah, our body guard and team member with Dennis and Margaret, said, “One way, no short cuts. One way to Jesus.”
It was a wonderful way to apply the maze of roads to the Gospel. We would love to find a shortcut to get to these schools faster, just like we have all tried to find a shortcut to Jesus. But there is only One Way, which is the message we are sharing at these rallies.
We had an interesting encounter with the authorities as we came up behind a truck hauling inmates down the road. One of the team members thought it would be a good ideas to take a picture of these prisoners dressed in yellow coveralls. The guards riding with the inmates did not like this, so they pulled over and waved us to stop as well. They then approached the bus with their guns by their sides. The American team were all thinking, “now what?”
Dennis and Margaret knew exactly what was going on. These guards were hauling the inmates to some rich home to provide free labor, which is illegal. The guards and guns did not intimidate Dennis and Margaret, but instead they told them what they were doing is wrong. When the guards realized they were caught and couldn’t extort money from us, they allowed us to go on. It was a wonderful lesson of always choosing the truth and standing up for what is right.
One Way, no shortcuts.
The rallies today were in the same area as the churches we attended on Sunday. We were told that one of the schools had run out of porridge last week, so you can imagine their excitement when we unloaded bags of porridge for them.
We also met with a women’s club in one of the villages. We shared with them our dreams for their communities, working with and through Dennis and Margaret, and they shared what they have been doing as well. They showed us their financial books, a pen of pigs they are raising and a bee hive. They are working very hard to help their village become self-sustaining.
The number of children at the rallies was so large, we actually ran out of math sets, so Dennis sent Noah back on a boda boda (motorcycle) to get more. Boda bodas are everywhere. You see them carrying as many as three people plus the driver and everything else in between.
The patience and dedication of these people is amazing. Because of the terrible roads we encountered and the distance we had to drive on them, we were progressively later and later to each site. At the last site, we were 1½ hours late. But all the schools were still there, patiently waiting, with smiles on their faces. We left the location a little after 7 pm, and some of the children had to walk five miles home in the dark, with no light of any kind.
A highlight for me was when a middle-aged man came forward when I gave an alter call after my gospel presentation. It was so neat to see this 50-year-old man surrounded by children, praying for Jesus to come into his life. I was able to separate myself from the crowd and personally pray with him. After I prayed with him, I went back to the larger group, only to have this man come back with his son by his site. He said his son also wanted to be a follower of Jesus, so I prayed with him as well. To see a father want the joy he just experienced for his son was such a gift.
Mukama yebazibwe—praise the Lord