Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Bible study leader can't come. Can you ...?

As I've said before, life in Uganda can be very interesting. Monday when I arrived for Bible study Rev. Gad contacted the leader for the day and found that she was unable to come. There is no planned text, so Rev. Gad asked if I had a text we could study! God brought to mind Jesus walking on water so we went through Matthew 14:23-33. As the members speak Runyoro and I speak English, Gad translated questions for the members and answers for me. It was quite an evening looking at those things in our lives that keep us in the boat like the 11 disciples instead of stepping out to Jesus as Peter did. Sometimes even the most negative attitudes and experiences can keep us from the fullness of life that Jesus promises those who will trust Him. As John Ortberg titled one of my favorite books: "If you want to walk on water, you've got to get out of the boat."

Blessings on your day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Church is Dedicated to the Glory of God

Today started with breakfast around 9 a.m. with Bishop Nathan Kyamanywa and others participating in the dedication of St. Lukes - Hoima Hospital Chapel. The Christians have been working towards this day since they broke ground in 2004. To God be the glory. After breakfast we proceeded to the church where the bishop and ministers robed. The bishop knocked three times on the door with his pastoral staff, then cut the ribbon and unlocked the door. The procession moved into the brightly painted and decorated sanctuary filled with Christians celebrating God's goodness. Each part of the church was blessed and dedicated: the baptismal font, the holy table, the lectern, the pulpit, the musical instruments including the drum. Following Holy Communion, we then had SPEECHES - did I mention that by this time it was now 2:30 p.m. and I hadn't left the church since 10 a.m.? Needless to say, there was a great need to locate the "place of convenience" !!! After the service, the clergy de-robed, then ate a normal Ugandan feast (translated as something like a Thanksgiving table in terms of types and amounts of food) - mutooke, kalo, rice, irish potatoes with choice of beef or chicken sauce, beans, and some greens and cabbage. I arrived back at Cindy's house around 4 p.m. and we are now chilling out. What a day!

The Bishop spoke about the dedication of the temple built by King Solomon. He spoke of the cloud which was the glory of the Lord which filled the temple. (2 Cor 5:13,14) When it was time for the dedication of the cornerstone, the clouds came and the rain fell. The Bishop declared that this was a sign of  God's blessing upon the church. Everyone cheered.

Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Cow Ate the Soap!
Students at the Bunyoro-Kitara Diocesan Training College reported that the soap from their latrine was "over" because the cow ate it. Friends informed me that cows, goats, pigs and even children like to eat soap. Obviously, the soap is not quite the same as that which parents used to threaten to wash children's mouths out with.

Life in Hoima is raining right along - there is rain most days and mud everywhere. Fortunately, it isn't quite like those places where the rain hangs around for hours or days - that only happens here occasionally, and often at night.

Blessings on your day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

There are people walking on the roof!

At 4 a.m. the phone rang with the pleasant greeting of "Good morning" followed by the statement that there are people walking on the roof! I am staying with Rev. Cindy Larsen in Hoima. However, she has been away for a few days so I am here alone. The electricity was off and the solar system isn't working so it was very dark. I could see lights from torches (flashlights) through my bedroom window, but certainly hadn't heard anyone walking on the roof. At times I sleep very soundly. Since Cindy lives on the campus of the Diocesan Training Centre, a student had seen someone and contacted Rev. Godfrey who called me. I was instructed to go find the emergency bell button and ring it, so I stumbled around in the darkness to the kitchen where the button is located and let it ring for a minute. This is an old fashioned school bell that Cindy brought with her when she built this house. I then saw a number of lights coming from the campus - some students were on their way. They found nothing, so I went back to bed, though not to sleep. At 5 a.m. the phone again rang, this time to notify me that the police were going to come check on things with dogs at 6 a.m., but I shouldn't come out of the house. Back to dozing - the police actually came with their dog at 7 a.m. The diocesan secretary had to bring them in the diocesan double cabin pickup as police generally require transportation when they are needed. They found no sign that anyone had been inside the fence and couldn't find much along the outside. I have since learned that there is a lot of crime in this area which includes the diocesan cathedral, headquarters, several schools and homes. As Christmas approaches, this will increase. Pray for the security of this place and for the factors that bring people to commit these crimes. Also pray for those who will be caught - people are often beaten severely before being handed over to the police. Thank God there were no people walking on the roof last night.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Field Work- Day 1

Today I reported to Rev. Paddy, the vicar at All Saints - Hoima. I will be serving/learning/observing in this parish for the next 6 weeks. Imagine my surprise when after a brief orientation to the week's programs, he requested me to preach at all 3 services tomorrow! The topic is Thanksgiving, which is a very important topic here in Uganda. It reminded me of the sermon which Bishop Patrick gave in the US on thanksgiving where he reminded the congregation that they needed to be thankful for the many blessings God has given them. Here people don't need to be reminded - it's really a part of their daily life to give God thanks for everything. At All Saints, the 1st Sunday of each month is designated as a day for general thanksgiving.

I've been invited to attend a special celebration called a "thanksgiving" for friends of mine in Fort Portal next month. They are celebrating many things including their marriage, the birth of their two daughters, Charles' graduation and ordination and all the blessings God has given them. It will be quite a day.

Giving thanks is not an option - "Let us give thanks to God for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds to men" Psalm 107