Sunday, January 22, 2017

A good week, except for.......

After arriving back to Mbale late Tuesday night we had a nice week up until....... well, I'll get to that in a bit!  On Wednesday we were able to do some much needed laundry and some Branch Presidency Training.  Our new Branch Presidency is doing so well!  It has been long in coming and we are thrilled!  The President is receiving revelation for what is needed in our branch and there is an excitement and new hope in the air!  

Mbale Branch is going FLOURISH under this new leadership....
it already is! 

Thursday we had a LONG day as we began with a lesson with an investigator named Joel, in the morning.  Joel is a great investigator with lots of questions.  He showed up at church last week out of the blue and good old Francis caught him and committed him to an appointment.  Joel is wanting to know truth so I hope he will do his homework of studying and praying to find out for himself the truth of the Restoration.  The Restoration is such common knowledge for many of us because that is what we have always known.  I try to think from the perspective of someone who has never heard the name of Joseph Smith before. I try to put myself in their shoes and wonder what they must thinking of this interesting and different doctrine. of the Restoration.  I love the Spirit that is felt when I hear testimony shared of the Prophet Joseph and his divine calling to help bring forth the Restoration of the Gospel.  The fullness of the Gospel is on the earth today!  Heavenly Father is so good to us.  I love how in Jesus Christ's true gospel, everything fits!!  Just like puzzle pieces.  
Everything fits in all the right places!

After meeting with Joel we then traveled to Busia for some more Branch Presidency Training!   We  had lunch in the car (our usual on the road PB&J) and got to Busia a little early.  After everyone arrived we began our meeting.  President Ojiambo had asked us to come prepared to talk about respect.  My thoughts turned to two things.  Reverence (or respect) for Heavenly Father's name and Reverence (or respect) for our houses of worship.  The members of Mbale and Busia Branches are all very new to the church.  Many within three years.  They have had many years to create habits that are not good (because they haven't known any better) and just a few years to change those habits.  One of these is taking the Lord's name in vain.  It is very common to hear here.   Even in the chapel which always take me back.  Sometimes Elder Phelps will pull someone aside and "teach" him/her that it is inappropriate language.  I am hoping that in the near future BOTH Branch Presidents can teach the members (individually or collectively) that this is very offensive and that it is a commandment that "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain."

The other topic was respect for our houses of worship.  It is awful to see how littered and dirty our churches get here in Uganda.  The lack of trash bins is part of the problem but truly it is the attitude of the people.  EVERYONE throws trash on the ground.  There is so much trash littering the roads, highways, markets, gutters, trading stations, and yes, even the churches.  We are slowly, slowly trying to teach our members the importance of NOT throwing trash anywhere on the ground ESPECIALLY in the church!  This is a tough might take a few generations to truly make a difference. 

We were able to address some challenges that this particular Branch Presidency is having.  I won't go into details because of the sensitive subject of these challenges but I have to say that I am impressed with these leaders who are trying to face adversity head on and continue on with doing the Lord's work!

Friday we celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary!  After a day of visits we cut off at 5:00 to have dinner at a new restaurant.  We went to Mt. Elgon Hotel and I was pleasantly surprised at how good my food was.  Sometimes when I go out to eat I am sorry that I just did not stay home and cook because I know my food would taste WAY better than what they serve.  This was not the case at Mt. Elgon.  My dinner was great and the view of Wanale Hill was marvelous.  I had the Szechwan chicken and Elder Phelps and an Indian Dish.  (Next time he is going to have what I had:)  
We had a wonderful time reminiscing of our wedding day.....and night:)  
I sure do love that guy of mine!

Saturday was another full day beginning with Mission Correlation Meeting that lasted THREE HOURS!!  I thought I was going to pull my hair out!  I'm a get it done kind of girl and to sit there and rehash things for three hours was a little much for me.  This weekend we had a new branch mission leader called and he is on FIRE!! 
 I'm sure our MC meetings will be a little different from here on out!  
Things are happening in Mbale!

That night we hosted a dinner for a few of our YSA women of the Branch.  We included two of our new converts, Betty and Teddy.  It was a good time to integrate them in with a few of our regulars from the branch and to help them get to know each other a little better.  I made roast beef and mashed potatoes.  The girls liked it (the mashed potatoes were a little different for them) and had their fill.  While we had dessert (vanilla pudding with bananas and ginger cookies) we played a little Pictionary.  These girls had a hard time drawing simple pictures and we just laughed a lot.  Poor Mirembe, who doesn't speak much English, drew things that were not even on the list.  I think she tried to read the name on the card and did her best to draw what she thought it I said we laughed a lot!
We sure love these wonderful ladies!

                          Me, Teddy, Mirembe, Mercy, Francis, and Betty

so then next comes the EXCEPT FOR......part.

On our way home from dropping the girls off we were talking of all the dishes and clean up still waiting home for us.  It was 9:00 and dark.  Elder Phelps pulled up to the dirt road that leads to our home and turned on his blinker to turn right.  After waiting a short second he turned to go down our street.  Out of the corner of his eye he could see lights coming on the right side of the truck so he stopped.  Unbeknownst to us a Boda carrying two people tried to pass on our right.  They slid down the side of the truck and then ended up hitting the driver's side mirror knocking it to where it was just hanging.  The Boda Driver swerved trying to gain control but ended up falling over on the grassy side of the road.  

Elder Phelps pulled up to see if everyone was alright, they all got up and one started limping over to us.  Again, Elder Phelps asked if everyone was alright.  As soon as he saw we were Mzungus he came up and said.  "No, we are not alright" and then demanded money.  He said, "You did not have your indicator (blinker) on.  Rick said, "Yes, I did have my blinker on."  Elder Phelps could see that one was possibly a little injured (the one that was limping) so he pulled out his wallet.  I whispered, "Do NOT give him money!"  More Boda drivers and pedestrians were gathering around his window and I did not want any of them to grab his wallet and run.  (Plus we had heard about mob justice and how if the people think you are in the wrong they will damage/burn your vehicle and hurt/kill the person inside.)  

Pretty soon there were about fifteen people around.  The Ugandans gather in crowds at ANY incident.  The Boda driver was talking to the people in his own language and I felt like he was stirring them up against us.  I kept thinking about mob justice and said, "We need to go to the police".  We told the Boda driver (and all of the others that had gathered) and he said,  "No, you don't go to the police."  We insisted that we were going to the police and started to inch off.  The man insisted that we were to NOT go to the police and he started running with our truck hanging onto the door as we accelerated faster and faster.   He then grabbed our hanging mirror and pulled it completely off.  We tore off at that point.  Elder Phelps was driving fast trying to get back to the main road and on to the police station!  We had only been that direction one time before and we turned down a bumpy dirt road filled with people.  Elder Phelps was still driving fast and I was thinking, "Please don't hit anybody!"   We soon discovered after a couple of turns that it was the wrong road and a dead end.  I calmly (but frantically in my mind) said, "is anyone following us?"  He said, "I don't know."  We were both praying that we would be safe.  We finally back tracked and eventually found the right road.

We pulled up to the police station and they were so helpful.  We were both pretty shaken by this point and my main worry was that someone would come looking for us.  Two Mormon Mzungus in a Toyota truck are pretty easy to spot in this town.  People are always telling us that they see us "moving" around town.  We gave our statement to the police and after talking with them a bit we felt calmed.  They asked us to come the next morning and fill out a full report.  We drove home but I kept feeling that one of those people might recognize us and come after us.  (Thankfully in the  last 24 hours my worry has all but diminished)  We took a different route home and I was glad to be behind a locked gate with our security guards standing watch all night.  We let our guards know what had happened and asked them to keep extra watch.  

We were able to meet with the traffic police the next day.  They mentioned to us that many Boda Drivers are not registered and so they would probably not be coming in to report the accident.  Unfortunately, we did not get the license plate of the Boda.  How could we when it was laying over in the grassy weeds and there were many people standing by our vehicle?  Boy am I glad that we did not get out of that truck!!  So as it stands we will have to pay for the damages.  We don't mind. We just want to put this awful experience behind us and get back to our missionarying.   
We are hoping to have our mirror fixed in the next day or two.

End of story!

1 comment:

  1. Wow--this last episode in your writings was really EXCITING (and scary), but I'm glad all turned out well. We were with Darrell and DeeAnn this past weekend and DeeAnn and I read about this together on our iPhones. We are SO THANKFUL that you are being protected and that all is well with you! The rest of your day sounded really successful and filled with good deeds, so that's good. Love, Karen