It’s Saturday, 3 October, and I have time to post some photos and comments about our adventures in Gulu. It’s nice to sit here in my casual clothes and try to recapture all that has happened. We’re currently teaching several couples, or helping them get married.
Every night this week we have collapsed into bed and slept like logs. We get so tired, but love these people and this Work so much that it is very worth it.
Shopping has become a challenge. These empty shelves are inside Uchumi, the only grocery store in town. Because of internal corruption, the store is near failure. Some days they have no change and offer you a pen instead. Go figure. These shelves once had staples like bread, flour, sugar, oats, and yogurt. The bakers stand around an empty kitchen with nothing to do. The inventory must be below 25% of normal. Today we left with almost nothing. I’ve had no problem keeping my weight down. If it weren’t for our occasional trip to Kampala, we’d be in pretty bad shape.
Do you like RaNae’s new look? Her sunglasses have broken a few times, and we can’t find any here in Gulu. So, I tried using this bad boys to hold the lens in place. No, she ain’t proud.
We’ve been helping the branches get better organized. I made them each an organization board to write the names of those with callings. We’ve also helped with some maps.
We visited the orphanage of Ayella Denis again this week, this time to introduce a local member whose family is organizing a non-profit to help such institutions here. They live in the UK and Germany. It went very well, and we hope the kids will soon be getting the essentials they so desperately need: beds, mattresses, bedding, mosquito nets, used clothing, shoes, etc.
We went to preach to 200 people at a local Christian Church in town. This Mama gave RaNae the necklaces as a gift. We shared an hour for our talks. RaNae gave a touching testimony on our basic beliefs and dispelled some popular myths that some churches promote. For example, some say that Mormon’s pray naked, and that we take people under the water (meaning we worship the devil). I was so moved as she stood and recited several Articles of Faith and expressed love. My talk was about the great apostasy, the dark ages, and the restoration. I think we were both pretty bold, and we felt good about the experience.
We spoke with several of our family this week for RaNae’s birthday. It was good to get caught up, express love for one another, and count our blessings. I have shifted from my criticism of our own corrupt government and what is wrong with the country. Today, I’m much more grateful that the U.S. is so strong in spite of its faults. I admit that I will love to stand on American soil again.
At the risk of sounding trunky, let me list a few things we really miss.
- Family gatherings, hugs, and even shared tears.
- Weddings, baptisms, piano recitals, etc.
- Watching conference live and in real time (we see it a month late on DVD)
- Walmart, with its plentiful inventory of affordable food (I never thought I’d say that).
- Electricity that virtually never goes off.
- Clean water you can drink right from the tap without a filter.
- Paved roads.
- Traffic signs and signals.
- Laws, order, quality control.
- Flush toilets.
- Four seasons.
- A brown topper soft serve ice cream from Dairy Queen.
- Celery, lettuce, apples.
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips.
However, there is so much to love here as well. Just two weeks ago, we were standing in the Gulu Branch for the rest hymn, and singing Beautiful Zion. These people can really sing. We were both moved to tears as we felt the love and faith of these members. So no, we aren’t ready to come home. Just counting blessings.