The emotional challenges of this week have been many. We’ve been delighted and terrified, anxious and serene. Let me illustrate using last night as one example.
I was jerked awake this morning at 2:30 by the phone ringing. I staggered into the hallway trying not to disturb RaNae and answered. It was Peter, a member who has been helping our disturbed friend Dixon this week. He was calling from Kampala and was frantic. He said “They’re coming to get you and beat you! You must hide! Turn off all the lights. Hurry! I love you, dear Brother”, then hung up. With the culture we live in here in combination with the goings on of this week with Dixon being beaten, I went into a panic. I called the zone leader and asked him to wake all the Elders and come help us right now. Within 60 seconds they were at the door – sleepy-eyed and staggering. Meanwhile, I had called Peter back. I asked him to slow down and explain what was going on and who told him we were in danger. He answered that he had had a dream and the Holy Ghost told him. He then proceeded to ask if we had a black cat, and urged us to sit in complete darkness where we would be safe. That is when I realized my panic was unfounded. I explained the story to the Elders, apologized, and sent them back to bed.
This culture is so mingled between religion and witchcraft that the lines get blurred. I realized as I spoke to Peter the second time that he was confusing the two. While mob justice is a very real thing here, his fears for us were founded on shaky ground. I’m thankful to him for his concern. It took us awhile before we could get back to sleep, but our fears had subsided and rest eventually came.
RaNae has said several times that this mission is not for wussies, and that is true. We love being here, but it does have its many and varied challenges. Faith and fear cannot occupy the mind at the same time. I’m so thankful that our faith was awakened soon after fear gripped us, and drove it away. By the way, I’m also very thankful that we have six strong and courageous missionaries just next door if the need ever arises.
Be calm and preach the Gospel. You are surrounded by angels. All will be well. Fear not.