Thursday, November 10, 2016

To teach and preach and work as missionaries do.

Elder Phelps and I have had some wonderful experiences this week!  As I have said before, there is so much to tell but not enough time to write them all, so I am just going to pick some of the highlights.

On Tuesday we visited a wonderful woman who is not a member of the church but has been coming faithfully for two years.  "H" is such a wonderful person and has such a good spirit about her.  She believes whole heartedly that the Gospel is true and wants so very much to be baptized.  She mentioned to us that she has some "difficulties" and that's why she hasn't been baptized.  We were hoping to visit with her and help her through these "difficulties" but as we were visiting she told us what those difficulties were.  I was not (in the least) expecting what she told us.  Apparently a few years ago her husband took on another wife.  (This is a common practice for many men here in Uganda.  The sad thing is that if the man gets tired of a wife he can just leave her and their children with no repercussions.  One of our returned missionaries has a father who had seven wives.  SEVEN!) 

 Since "H" is in a polygamous marriage (not of her doing) than she can not be baptized unless she gets a divorce.  I feel so bad for her.  She has been married to this man for over twenty years.  We offered to come and talk with her husband.  She liked that idea but I'm not sure what if any help we can offer.  This is not a win win situation.  Either way some one is going to lose out.  We assured her that if she stays faithful to the church (even though she is not a member) than Heavenly Father would somehow in the end make everything right.  She deserves it to be so! 

On Tuesday we also visited with Daisy, a sweet 12 year old girl who's mother and sister were baptized in August while Daisy was away at boarding school.  Now it is her turn to learn about the Gospel!  This family is so special!  Judith (the mom) is a single parent and had three daughters.  There is such a good spirit in their home and I can tell that Judith is an excellent mother.  Daisy is a very bright young girl and understands everything that is being taught in the lessons.  I love that she is so receptive to Truth!  She is scheduled for baptism on the 26th of this month:-)

We also had a second lesson with Daniel and Winnie.  Daniel is a Security Guard at the Mbale Church.  He and his girlfriend are wanting to get married but not anytime soon.  They are cohabitating..... but we will cross that bridge when we come to it:-0  As for now we have taught them the Restoration and then answered questions at our second visit.  They didn't have any chairs in their small humble home so we sat on the concrete floor.  That was a first for me since coming to Uganda.   With Daniel and Winnie (and others too) sometimes it is hard to know just how much they are comprehending because of our inability to speak "African."  We will be having another visit with them tomorrow to teach the second discussion but will have one of the ward missionaries with us to bridge that gap.  They are a good couple and I hope they understand and accept all that is being taught.  As a missionary,  I just want everyone to feel, see and accept truth when they hear it.   

Also on Tuesday we got to visit a member of the branch named Stella.  Stella and her husband Brian have been members for about a year.  They have a beautiful 9 month old girl named Trinity.  We stopped by Stella's place because one of our ward missionaries reported that there was another girl staying with them that needed to hear the lessons.  Come to find out the girl is not staying with them but is a neighbor.  We are hoping to start teaching her on Saturday.  In the meantime we discovered that Brian's brother, Alex, is staying with them for a few months.  He is not interested in learning about the Gospel but we had a nice visit with him:)  As we stood up to leave after about a half an hour of visiting with Brian he said, "Stella is making you lunch."  Really?  We had no idea.  We didn't want to be rude so we stayed for another 15 minutes until Stella brought in four HUGE plates of rice, chicken, and spinach.  

Here we are in this situation again! :/  I really am nervous about eating in the member's homes but, what do you do?  We ate most of what was served (which btw tasted pretty good) and left hoping that all would be well with our health.  Note:  We did not drink the water which was not bottled.  I knew way better than that.  

I ended up getting sick the next day but not sure where it came from.  We are exposed to a lot of germs, especially by shaking soooo many hands in a day.  We use A LOT of hand sanitizer but still......    There is no telling where I picked it up:(

Here's a picture of Trinity and Elder Phelps

                Rick, Francis (our branch missionary) Alex, Stella, and Trinity having lunch.

That night we taught a first lesson at the Mbale market to Dan.  He has set a baptismal date for the 26th!  His friend Nelson introduced him to the gospel.  Nelson is a good man and is great example to everyone.  Dan saw of his goodness and has great trust in his friend Nelson.  He wants to be baptized because of the example of his friend:)  It is so important to "be thou an example of the believers"

The market is a cool place with a lot of shops and people.  We are going to have to go back on our P-Day!

                                These are roasted grasshoppers from the market......
                                Rick took a video of a guy munching down on them.

That night we had President Owidi and his family over for dinner.  No grasshoppers but I made some bbq pork and cheese potatoes.  The meal turned out pretty good, if I say so myself!

Wednesday was another good day of teaching.

Our first lesson was with another Security Guard from the Branch Chapel.  His name is Nathan and we had one lesson with him last week and then when we got together again on Wednesday, he brought his brother Simon with him.  It was another one of those times when the subject of evil spirits came up again.  This makes me super uncomfortable!  There were just some uncomfortable questions brought up and while Elder Phelps and Francis did a good job fielding the questions I just wanted to get back on task of teaching the lesson.  Don't get me wrong, I love to be able to answer questions and help people understand but this was just weird.  Thankfully,  Nathan seemed a little closer to the spirit than his brother did.  We are going to meet with them again tomorrow.  Hope it goes well:/

After that we drove to Busia for our weekly visits there.

First we visited with Brian.  He is a member but his girlfriend and parents are not.  We met his mother, Margaret and his father ?  It was sweet because as we were visiting,  Margaret kept her eyes intently on me pretty much the whole time.  I gave the spiritual thought and I looked at her directly as President Ojambo translated my words.  As it came to the end of the visit Margaret asked if I would pray.  I did and then at the end of the prayer she looked directly at me and asked, "Would you pray for me and my husband that we can get married?"  At this point I did not even know that they were not married.  They have grown children and this couple has never been married!  It is very common to cohabitant and have families because it costs money to get married and the people just don't have any extra money for "frivolities" like getting married!  I am so glad that she has come to understand the importance of this particular law.   I assured her that I would pray for her and her "Husband" to be able to be wedded.  President Ojambo will work with them.

Next, we met with Paul, an elderly gentleman, who has been a member since May.  He lost his wife in March and since he has found the church, he is SOLID!  He walks thirty minutes each week to get to the chapel and is very stalwart.  I loved meeting him and feeling of his strength!  He doesn't speak much English but was so welcoming and happy to have us at his home.  He is a brick maker and the Elders sometimes come to his home and help him make his bricks.  His son Jude (whom we did not have the chance to meet) is an artist.  He paints amazing pictures and also carves animals out of wood.  We are thinking when we meet him in a few weeks to ask him to carve a few things for us:)

Another neat visit on Wednesday was to "J".  He is a man in his twenties and has been less active for two years.  He had a humble spirit about him and we had a nice visit.  We gave a spiritual thought and invited him back to church.  We asked if he had any questions and he was quiet for a minute.  He then said, " I don't have any questions but I want to tell you something."  Then in all sincerity he then said something like, "After I was baptized I started living with a girl.  I now have two children.  How can I please God after doing something like that?"  I'm sure that took a lot of courage to say that in front of the five of us that were visiting (President Ojambo, the Elders, and Rick and I).   I loved hearing Elder Phelps tell this young man in such a loving way how to have his burden lifted and how to repent of his wrongdoings.  I loved being reminded of the sweetness of repentance that can make our scarlet stains as white as snow.  I know that the Savior has made it possible to repent of our wrongdoings so that we can become clean again.  I'm so grateful for his love and mercy in my life.  I love how through repentance, the Savior can take our burdens from us and make us whole again.  THIS is the good news of Christ! 

 I am so happy to be sharing this message to the people of Uganda!

It's getting late so I will end here.  It has been a wonderful week of teaching and it's only Thursday!  I'm grateful to share these experiences with Elder Phelps, my eternal companion!

 These kids kept touching my feet through my sandals so I thought I would let them touch my toes.  It was so cute!  They were enthralled with my feet!

 They loved having their picture taken and laughed hysterically 
when they saw themselves on my phone.

I'm thinking of buying one of these and having a sister in the branch clean it and get all of the feathers off so I can make a turkey dinner for Christmas.  What do you think????

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting experiences! I think it's wonderful that you are keeping track of your experiences like this--and letting us be a part of all that you're doing as we read these writings. I can see, as I read what you write, that I would likely not be able to make it very well as a full time missionary because I am just not very open-minded and accepting of odd situations.....YOU are doing marvelously well!!!!
    And YES--get one of those turkeys and cook it up for Thanksgiving!! It'll be a fun memory for you. (you may need to have several people join you for dinner, though--He looks pretty BIG!) Love, Karen