Sunday, November 13, 2011

Preaching and Gunshots

Yesterday evening I was asked to share the word at a home fellowship near All Saints Parish in Hoima. About 20 adults and 10 children were present. As I was concluding a message about Jonah's second chance to obey God, 8-10 gunshots rang out. About half the group got up to go see what was happening and of course I stopped speaking. I asked Rev. Gad, who was translating, if those were gunshots and he nodded.  A few minutes later, people began to return to their seats, and we resumed the service. It was the presence of the Spirit that enabled me to finish! 

We later learned that a thief had been caught and the police arrived in time to prevent mob justice by firing shots into the air to disperse the crowd. There were no casualties.

The next part of the evening's adventure occurred when leaving the fellowship. At the end of the service a torrential rain began which left areas flooded, including where I had parked the vehicle. Since there was about 8 inches of water, I couldn't see that there was a mound of construction material and proceeded to step and then slide on the rocks. I fell into the water, but protected my Bible! Unfortunately, my body didn't fare so well. Today I am limping and my neck and shoulders are very sore. Prayer, rest, ibuprofen and some pain relieving rub should get me back in shape in a few days.

Life is never boring.

Blessings on your day.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visiting Joyce and others

What a delightful woman. A retired nurse probably in her late 70s or 80s, tiny in stature. Joy bubbles through her very being though she is confined to her chair. I had the privilege of praying with her. She is responsible for her son's children and uses her small pension to pay for their school fees. This visit was part of my training. I accompanied Reverend Gad to visit elderly and infirm people from the church. In the course of our visits we met and prayed with a woman who told us her step-mother had just died. Then we visited another woman who is caring for her great grand children. She has a small shop that sells a few items. As we were there, another woman who attends the church asked if we would pray for her - she asked for prayer for her family and especially for her business. The woman in the next shop also requested for prayer and there we learned that her young daughter has been falling, but the doctors have not been able to determine a cause. So we prayed with them as well. I hope to visit the older women again.

Today I learned that Reverend James had been called back from his training because his wife had been admitted to the hospital. Along with some students from the Diocesan Training College, I visited Elizabeth and prayed with them.

What a gift God has given us to be part of His healing ministry through visits and prayer.

Blessings on your day.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Traffic Police

There is an interesting and somewhat challenging situation here with regard to traffic safety. Most of those charged with enforcing the traffic laws do not themselves know how to drive a car. So keep this in mind as you read this encounter with a traffic policewoman.

As I exited the bypass I slowly continued a short distance before finding a place to merge with the traffic. As I did so, a traffic policeman waved me back out of the line. I sat waiting for someone to come to the window expecting that they wanted to check my insurance and driving permit. I watched two policewomen who were talking with one another, unaware that I had stopped. When one woman came to the window, after the customary greetings she asked "Were you pulled over?" I told her that it seemed that was what the man had indicated. Then she said here in Uganda it is a traffic offense to drive on the shoulder. Then she told me I needed to proceed to the local police station. And when I agreed to do so, but indicated that I had no idea where it was, she then said "So, what do we do?" She pointed the vehicle behind me and said, "See, your friend has been arrested." As I continued to be agreeable she then said we are giving you the express penalty of 40,000 shillings. I told her ok - if that's the penalty I'll pay it. She then said again "So what do we do?" I asked her if she could write the penalty form at the vehicle and I would then pay for it at the bank - which is the normal procedure. She continued to delay, hoping for what is often called "tea" or money. Finally, after a discussion with the other woman and the man, she said, "We have forgiven you, you can go and returned my driving permit."

In order to fully understand the dark humor, one must drive in Uganda to see how often taxis, motorcycles, and other vehicles drive without any one stopping them on true shoulders, while these 3 were positioned at a place without a clear marking of a shoulder stopping motorists in the hope of getting some extra income. And here I was nearly "arrested" for such an offense. Lord have mercy.

Blessings on your day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sorry to delay you

Yet another encounter with Ugandan medical care - I came to Kampala on Monday to consult with Dr. Omara, the doctor who treated me in Mulago last July. Monica and Patricia were with me and we had to wait for their lab results and follow up meeting with the Dr. As we got into the car to leave, Dr. Omara came out of the door of the building (not just the door of his office) and came to the door of the vehicle to talk with me. He apologized profusely for the delay. I was nearly speechless, for even in the US, one expects the possibility that things will run late, and certainly would not expect the doctor to leave his office to apologize for the delay!

Another interesting point of contrast is that Monica was given a prescription for a syrup which was unfamiliar to me. I asked her if she knew what it was for? Her response was, I don't know, I'm not the doctor! So I took advantage of having Dr. Omara at the window to ask him what the prescription was for. He very patiently explained to us what its purpose was.

Actually, Dr. Omara is rarity in my experience with medical care in Uganda - he takes time to listen. But then I have to remind myself that I can pay for treatment, and that those Drs who care for those who can't afford medical care are overwhelmed with patients.

Blessings on your day