Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sick Day

Today I am taking a sick day.  I woke up in the middle of the night with that terrible feeling of knowing that my body was not well.  Frankly, it's my own fault.  Normally I am very cautious to wash my hands and use hand sanitizer frequently.  Yesterday I kind of didn't as much as I should have:(   Plus the just never know.......

Sometimes in missionary work you just have to go with the flow.  We had a very busy day yesterday.  It started with a baptismal interview.  (Steven who will be baptized tomorrow:)  After the interview we were already running behind.  (Why does this ALWAYS happen?)  We got on the road to Busia because we needed to be there by 12:00 for an appt. with Sister Ojiambo.  (Remember? the Branch Presiden't wife?)  We were about 20 minutes late and the first thing she said when we saw her was , "I  am sick.  I have malaria/flu.  We greeted with a small handshake and she didn't seem to bad off so we continued with the lesson her and her husband on one side and us on the other.  We had a nice discussion about the Atonement and she seemed to be a little more engaged than normal.  She has a bit of a language barrier.  Last week when we were there we dropped off a B of M reader to her.  She has a hard time reading the B of M and I thought this would be helpful.  President said he "caught" her reading it during the week and looking up the references to the stories in the actual B of M.  YAY!  It is imperative for her to read the B of M to know of it's truthfulness!  I'm glad her interest was peaked.  She has yet to receive a confirming answer if it is the word of God.  It was a good lesson and I hope she continues to read and ponder and pray.   This was my first contact with possible sickness.

Our next appointment was with the family of a sister missionary serving in Zimbabwe.  Her mother passed away unexpectedly on Monday and we thought it would be a nice gesture to visit with the Branch President and the RS President.  The family is not LDS but are Born Again Christians.  We were received very graciously.  We gave our condolences and then went directly to the grave and were invited to "pray over" the grave.  Elder Phelps was asked to offer that prayer.

Generally, burials are a full day thing. Many people (and I mean about 100) from the village come to the home of the deceased to give their condolences.  They are served food from the deceased's family and they stay for the whole day visiting.  The men and women sit separately.  The women gather on their mats on the ground together and the men gather together on benches.  Generally religious leaders are asked to speak or to pray.  As friends and neighbors they gather a little bit of money to help give to the deceased's family.  We have attended two different burials for about thirty minutes and was even invited to speak at one.  I was later told that it was considered rude by the neighbors that we did not stay longer.  A lesson learned.

The people are not embalmed here so they usually are buried the very next day after the death.  Sometimes that can be postponed for a day.  They sometimes are buried in a wooden casket and sometimes they are not, depending on the funds that the family has available to them.

Back to the story....

After the grave prayer we were invited to sit in the shade (under a tent) while family members were gathered together to "hear the word of the Lord".  At that point we realized that we probably would be the main speakers of the meeting so we started mentally preparing what to say.  After about 15 minutes the chairs were rearranged so that all of the family were facing us. (the visitors)  There were about 15-20 family members in attendance.

It is amazing to me that the color of our skin makes us so special in the Ugandans' eyes.  I recognized very quickly after arriving in Uganda that being a Mzungu, we are very looked up to by the people.  In a saving way.  Not necessarily spiritually saving but temporally saving.  Many people think we can save them from their poverty.  I wish we could.  I would love for them to see that the Savior takes the slums out of people.  I guess that is what we are person at a time.

After introductions we were privileged to share thoughts and scriptures with the group about the resurrection and eternal life.  What a blessing to have this great knowledge.  Our spirits live on after death and our bodies will live again!   We can be together as families forever!  I feel for this family.  Dominic is the father and he has six children.  He and his wife have also brought in extra children who do not have families and have helped to raise them as well.  The youngest is now 11.  Dominic will have a challenge raising his children on his own (and of course, with family help)  His clan (extended relatives) lives very close to him.

After the talks were given we were invited to stay longer for food.  We could not be rude and decline.  Thus, the second way I could have gotten sick.  The food was very delicious and looked like it was prepared well........frankly, you just never know.

Also, this is where the flexibility part comes in.  We had a scheduled a meeting with the RS for some training but we did not know that we would be staying so long with Dominic's family.  These are things that you just cannot prepare for.  RS training will be next week:)

It was now 3:45 and our next appointment was to be a dinner with dignitaries from the area; The Mayor of Busia, the traffic control police director and two other district leaders.  President Ojiambo has been trying to schedule this meeting for quite some time so we were excited to finally do it.  Unfortunately only one person showed up.  ONE! .... and he was an hour and a half late.....again more flexibility needed!!  (The traffic control director was in the hospital with ulcers so I can understand that.)  We ended up having a nice conversation with the mayor about the church and what we are about.  I'm thankful to Elder Phelps who knows how to keep the conversation moving when I have NO idea what to say!!  We talked of some service that the Branch might could possibly help with in the future.  (Mormon Helping Hands)  The Mayor mentioned that he sees the "young men with white shirts and badges" moving around sometimes.  We reiterated to him that they are good young men and are doing the Lord's work and trying to make a difference for the people of Busia.  All in all it was a good visit and it wa important for us to make sure that the dignitaries of the area recognize "The Church" as a good influence for it's citizens.

During the dinner I put a chicken leg on my plate.  One swallow of that and I knew something wasn't quite right with it.  Thus, the third thing that could have caused my sickness.  I should have washed my hands and used sanitizer more often with all of the handshakes from yesterday.  And drank a HUGE coke!  Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda......

Hopefully I will be working at 100% tomorrow.  I'm speaking in Sacrament Meeting, we have a baptism, and then we are teaching the Temple Prep Class.  Big day!!

                  Only one picture for the day......Pres Ojiambo, Mayor, and us.

PS.... I got my hair cut in Kampala on Tuesday.  I bought some color but haven't had time to put it on.  I need it!  Maybe Monday:)

1 comment:

  1. Wow--I hope your sickness is short-lived!! We probably need to pray more specifically about you NOT getting sick! You sure had a busy day!! I keep thinking about how Rick can keep a conversation going. That's so nice, cause even though I talk a LOT--I think in those circumstances it would be pretty hard!!
    Love, Karen