Back to Uganda
Greetings from Uganda! I arrived back here on Aug. 20th after a too-long flight that started the 17th. But thanks to your prayers, I did manage to get some sleep on the flights, and then during my 24 hour layover in Johannesburg, I got 18 hours of sleep at my hotel. Sleep on a plane is never enough, nor is it restful.
This 4 month furlough was the first time I have left ministries in process in Uganda in my absence. So it was a test for all of us. The local pastors were responsible to keep things going, and I had to be able to let go and allow them to do just that. It was a growing time for all of us, and I believe it freed God up to do some new things in each of us, and in the various works.
At my place, more building had been accomplished on my house, so there was a new look immediately on my return! My cat and dog are fat and sassy, both ecstatic to see me back home again.
Thanks to generous donations to our New Life Kids' Club, 3 acres of prime land have been bought for a future church, school, and income-generating projects. Due to local community support for this indigenous project, there have been both radio and newspaper coverage while I was gone. Local government leaders are donating personal money to assist Pastor David Kasule in getting his current church (an old fish factory) where the Saturday NLKC classes are being held, hooked up to electricity. Because of the location of the 3 acres, transferring the electricity will then be at no cost other than the purchase of one power pole!
The purchase of this land was nothing short of a miracle. The story was only partially complete when I last wrote about it (see May 12th newsletter). A witchdoctor had been holding this land for Pastor David to buy for his church and orphan ministry for over one year. Then some developers had come along and offered more than the asking price for the land. The Town Council had denied them, saying the land was for David. About that time, David was able to pay about 50% of the land cost.
Then when the developers heard that only half of the land price had been paid, they went back and offered almost double the asking price of the land! I think all of us were sweating at that point! But God was faithful and the rest of the money was donated unexpectedly, and David paid it off completely. Then the Town Council talked to the witchdoctor about giving David a better 3 acres, so he did! The land purchased actually borders a ranch owned by Uganda's President, is flat, and easily accessible from the highway.
Our other major ministry has been that of Hannington Serugga who is launching a program named Samaritan Emergency Volunteers Organization (SEVO). This project originated from teaching done by a fireman/paramedic on the medical team that visited last summer from Everett, Washington. Hannington has taken this training and has literally been teaching hundreds of people how to do simple first aid and rescue, using only local materials at hand. With no funding at all, Hannington has been teaching 4 classes, composed of about 400 people, and walking many miles to do so. He is receiving much attention both locally and nationally, as there is no emergency medical system in Uganda. As a result many people die needlessly on our highways, from mishandling after road accidents.
Just last Friday there was a fatal accident about 10 miles north of my village. Two people died at the scene. One of Hannington's students lives at that village, so he ran to the accident scene and assessed the victims, pronouncing them dead. Then he called Hannington who told him to take control of the scene and he would call the police for him.
Even though this was a fatal accident, I saw the beginnings of a networking system here. We are looking at ways to improve communications, such as possibly using the ever-present motorbike "taxies" present in every village for both communications, and for rescuer and possibly victim transportation.
Greg Matthews, the paramedic from Everett, is planning to come back in the next few months to do more extensive teaching for Hannington and his leaders, to further develop SEVO's capabilities and services to the community.
The men involved in these various ministries, and the people involved in keeping my household, animals, and garden in order during my absence, all agreed it was hard not having their "Mom" nearby, but that they grew closer to each other, and stronger in their confidence and abilities. All of us are shaking our heads in amazement as we watch what God is doing!