Sharing

Sharing

What can you spare today to help another? Of all the wealth and plenty we enjoy, what kind of small sacrifice could you make to bring health and happiness and a full tummy to someone in need?   Being here in Uganda, it’s a mind trip to see what people post on Facebook; their new car, the latest tasty dessert, another mountain race or marathon completed, fun on a distant beach or seeing another world landmark. It is easy to see what is important to people and where they spend their time, money and efforts, and I respect that.   Back to Uganda. The poverty we see every day is staggering. Payment of school fees (about $90 U.S. per semester) is the greatest challenge most families face. If they can’t pay the fees, their kids stay at home. Many families struggle to have enough of the most basic foods like posho and beans (about $2 per day) (think of that next time you’re at the buffet). Medical care here is free, but they have to buy their own medicine, bring their own bedding to the hospital, and furnish their own food to eat while they convalesce. And that costs lots of money they don’t have, so many die simply because they can’t get the help they need. Yet, this is the happiest and humblest people on earth.   I had a dream a few months ago. I was in the home of a friend in our neighborhood at some kind of social. As I sat in the comfy chair, I saw a huge bowl of red seedless grapes sitting...
Love is Blind

Love is Blind

After being in Uganda for sixteen months, we tend to overlook many things that shocked us when we first arrived. Because of the beauty of these amazing people, we are generally blind to the level of poverty that is ever-present. To see a bright, shining face, worn by a clean and neatly dressed woman erases the fact that she just stepped from a mud hut. In fact, it rather stuns us when we stop and wonder how in the world she does it. Take a little tour from our recent photos to see where and how our friends live. Don’t you dare compare it with where and how you live, for if you do, you might think twice about wanting more. Keep in mind that we remove our shoes every time we enter one of these huts or homes, so we don’t track dirt onto their neatly swept dirt floor. We’ve sat in places we would not have dared sit before our mission. We’ve eaten food that gave us pause. And we’ve ached for what seems to us to be a level of pure misery. And yet, the smiles on the faces blow it all away. In so many ways we want to be just like our friends here; happy, grateful, content, prayerful, and purely...
Pure & Simple

Pure & Simple

During our visit to Johannesburg SA, we attended a devotional at the Africa Southeast Area office. One topic included a concept Elder David A. Bednar had shared with Elder Carl B. Cook: Is it pure? Is it simple? This applies to how the Church is established in Africa as well as how we live our personal lives. The Church does not want Africa to become a duplicate of Utah. Some wonder if the Church back home has become too complex, with too many programs, meetings about meetings, over-the-top lesson plans, and chatter about things that don’t matter. Just attend your Gospel Doctrine class and listen to the discussion. Some people pontificate on little known tidbits which neither strengthen testimony nor build the Kingdom. Perhaps everyone should re-take the Gospel Principles class and discuss faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost, the law of chastity, tithing, the word of wisdom, honoring the Sabbath day, and prayer. Is it possible that the Church back home is leaning toward Pharisaic?* I’ve thought about Elder Bednar’s formula several times since our visit. Is it pure? Is it simple? I saw the theme again last night as I read President Cook’s message in the Liahona magazine. Quoting Elder Bednar, he wrote: “If you start right and keep it simple, you will stay right.” Then Elder Cook went on… We can’t let the things of men or the things of the world distract us from our core beliefs. We must stay focused on the things that bring peace, joy, and success in life. I invite each of us to evaluate whether there are things that may be overcomplicating our lives and distracting us from the things that...
But Mom…

But Mom…

A Friendly Reminder From Uganda Parenting affords some of life’s greatest challenges, especially with today’s expectation of entitlement. To help your kids and teens get things in perspective, here are some free downloads you can print to decorate your walls.  Next time the whining starts, just point to a poster and smile. If this doesn’t work, send ’em on over to Uganda for 6 months. It will be the best youth correctional program you can ever...