Friday, November 11, 2016

Buduka Orphan/School

It is really late tonight and I know I just posted yesterday but I didn't want to go to bed without writing about our amazing experience today.

On Tuesday we taught a lesson to a man named Dan in the Mbale Marketplace, where he works.  It was a good lesson and he committed to baptism that very day.  He was very interested in learning about the gospel because of his friend Nelson, who is a member, that has been a good example to him.  We taught him "The Restoration of the Gospel" (the first discussion) at that time and made an appointment to see him today at his home in the Palisa District.  He mentioned that he takes care of an orphan group in that area and wanted us to see them.

So today as we are driving up to our appointment I see a group of about twenty adults sitting under a tree.  I also see a table with three chairs at the front of the group.  Also, I notice about fifty small children congregated to the side of the group.  I am tentatively thinking to myself,  "What is going to happen next?"  I walked by the children and waved at them and then personally greeted the men and women in the group by shaking their hands and introducing myself.

Dan came out to greet us and said that he invited the "community" out to hear what we had to say.  We (or I should say I) did not know what to expect of this situation.  I let Elder Phelps do the talking.....(which is what I do the majority of the time!)  He instructed for everyone to bring their chairs into a tight circle so that everyone would be able to hear.  

Before we began the lesson, Dan asked if one of the children could begin with a prayer.  "Well, sure.....)  At this point Dan went over and led a group of about twenty children (ranging in ages 4-9) inside the circle and mentioned they had a special program for us.  They sang a welcome song and then sang two more songs in English while doing a few dance moves. (It was really sweet) They then sang their National Anthem and then they all said a rote prayer while covering their eyes with their hands.   (Very interesting)

After they were finished, they exited and a group of older children came in to the circle and danced and sang for us.  After clapping and praising them they exited and the teaching began.

Elder Phelps started teaching with Brother Francis (our amazing branch missionary that we love so very much) translating.  After a few minutes I whispered to Rick, "just let Francis do the teaching."  We both have complete confidence in Francis's way of teaching (remember I said he's amazing?)  and sometimes translating gets in the way.  He taught the second lesson "The Plan of Salvation" in their language, and the crowd listened intently. A few questions were asked and the group seemed to like what they heard.

After the lesson, another man named Sam, the school president, warmly thanked us for our coming to teach them and how the group is wanting someone to come and lead and teach them about Jesus Christ.  He explained that this area has men who are living polygamist lifestyles.  He explained that some men have had as many as seven wives.  When that happens a man could easily have forty children by the time he is Forty-five.  Well, when the men die young, which they do often, tradition requires that a brother take care of his deceased brother's children.   That is nearly impossible for the siblings of the deceased.  That is just too many mouths to feed.  Well, you can easily see how many children become orphaned.  Thus the need for the orphanage.  Even though the mothers, in many cases, are still living they can not take care of the children.  The group has come together in helping to care for the orphans as a whole.  They recognize the need for them all to share in taking care of the orphans.  I loved this thought. I loved how the community gathers together to bless those in need.  In a way it reminds me of the Law of Consecration.  Caring for the poor and needy around us.  

This group of people also recognize that God wants them to have only one spouse and are asking for the missionaries to teach them the right way to live.  They recognize the need to change this tradition and that it begins now with this next generation.  This way of teaching is a little unconventional but we will try to teach them a little at a time.  We will talk about the B of M next time and invite them to come to church.  The church is quite a distance from this group but there are many members who come to church form this far out.

It was getting late and we were supposed to be back at the church at 5:00 for our branch activity.  (it was now 5:05)  Then Dan said, "We have provided a lunch for you.  Please can you stay for a few more minutes?"  Oh man!  What do you say to that?  I know all of you know my/our nervousness of eating in these far off villages.  There is just not clean water or sanitary ways of preparing the food but I ask again, "What do you do?"  We said we would be happy to stay.  So again we were served another meal.  Rice, beef, cabbage, and spinach.  I had a little rice and served up two small pieces of beef with a little of the sauce.  I felt fine about the rice but whispered to Francis to please eat my beef.  (Just today I was at the market and saw pounds and pounds of beef sitting out in the open covered with flies.)  Francis happily obliged, after all he is a growing boy of 22 years.  I know that meat is a luxury and I did not want it to go to waste.  I was happy to see that the children were eating as well.  They didn't have meat but they had rice and beans.  After visiting for another 45 minutes it was time to go. We again shook hands with everyone....again  (We shake hands with people sometimes four or five times in a visit.  It's just something that the people do.) and said our goodbyes with the promise of coming to visit again next week.

This group has a special spirit with them.  They want to do good and they want to follow God.  I hope that as we visit with them in the coming weeks that they can feel of Heavenly Father's love for them and can have some seeds planted in their hearts of the truth of the gospel.  I'm not sure how many are eligible for baptism with the polygamy thing going on but they want to do what is right. 

 And that's a start.

PS  On the way home we stopped at a little stand and got a couple of bottles of Coca Cola.  I think if we can drink Coke after a questionable meal it might be better for our health.  You know, to help kill whatever is not good.  I don't like drinking soda pop.  I don't like carbonation.  But I don't like diarrhea either.  The lesser of two evils!  Hope I feel good tomorrow!!

A group picture with some of the orphans and leaders.

                                                 Here's a picture of our wonderful Francis.
                         He is working to serve a full time mission.  He is going to be awesome!!

1 comment:

  1. My goodness--Isn't it wonderful that people EVERYWHERE truly desire righteousness! For those leaders to want you to teach about having just ONE wife, is so special!! And for them to be taking care of all those little orphans is wonderful, too!
    I was going to mention to you, Janell, that with all the travelling Blaine does, he says that drinking a coke is what is needed after all the strange eating he does. So if you can get access to coke--maybe it will SAVE you from the sickness that can occur--(coke AND prayer, of course!) ha! Love, Karen