Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sabbath day in Ntinda

Today was a great day.  We got to attend the Ntinda Branch for the first time.  It is very close to our home.  We were not able to attend Sacrament Meeting because we were busy trying to find Daniel Oluka, one of our recent converts from November.  We haven't seen him since just before Christmas because he went home for the holidays and then came to work around Kampala.  He hasn't been able to go to church since December because he has been in different villages where there are no LDS churches.  

He was excited to spend the day with us but as we were going to pick him up this morning his Boda had some mechanical issues and so he was still "very far" from Kampala.  We tried to encourage him to get another Boda and still meet us.  We went to the designated spot and waited but he never came:(  We were pretty bummed to say the least.  His phone must have died because we tried to contact him but we couldn't get through.  I am thinking he must have gotten discouraged and just turned around and went back to the village where he is working.  So sad to have missed him.

We pulled up to the Ntinda building during Sunday School.  This is the Chapel.  

Kind of interesting!  While other classes are held in a brick building, Sacrament Meeting is held under this tent.  The Gospel Principles class was taught here as well and it was actually quite nice because we had a constant breeze throughout class:)

 Relief Society was taught by a woman named Christine.  Her husband is the former Branch President.  She is a returned missionary.  The lesson was taken from President Uchtdorf's October General conference talk entitled "O How Great the Plan of Our God".  Our lesson focused mainly on the Plan of Salvation but one thing that touched me was a quote from President Uchtdorf.  He said, "We come from Heavenly courts of the Lord our God.  We are of the royal house of Elohim, the Most High God.  We walked with Him in our premortal life.  We heard Him speak, witnessed His majesty, learned His ways."

A few of the sisters made comments on how knowing this doctrine lifts them.  One said, "Sometimes men don't treat us very well but I remember that I am a daughter of God and I really am a princess."  The women at church were all well clothed and all well shod.

I reflected on this quote and thought of my many friends in the villages surrounding Mbale.  Many are very poor and wear dirty clothes and have bare, dirty feet but they/WE are all royalty!!  We are all daughters of a Heavenly King!  It doesn't matter our status or where we are from but we ALL are children of God and are entitled to Heavenly rewards in all that he has in His kingdom! 
What a beautiful thought!

The last part of day will be told in Elder Phelps's words to our children......

"I thought I would tell you a little of what our Sunday was like...ours is ending and yours is just beginning.
These two young men each have a story and I want to tell you a bit about them.

The one on the left in the first picture is named Massigua.  He has been a member of the Church for 3 years, but started attending church 2 years before he was baptized.  He somewhat 'manages' our apartment compound where we live here in Kampala and is 29 years old.  He went on a drive with us this morning to help us find a young man to take to church (whom we didn't find...that's another story), but while we were driving we found out a bit about his life.  When he was 5 years old he went totally blind.  He just lost his sight.  He lived his life in darkness from that time till he was 23 years old.  Around age 20 or so one of his kidneys became very 'sick'.  He was in and out of the hospital (more in) for 3 years.  During that time, a woman who was a close friend to the family would visit him often.  She would encourage him and pray for him often.  He said, "She would come and visit me most every day and pray for me.  She would pray for me to get well".  Through this experience he developed great faith.  He said, "One day I could tell that I could see just a little bit, then in just a few weeks, I could see fully".  He fully received his sight back at age 23.  This was nothing short of a miracle wrought by his faith, and the faith of others.  He has full vision today.

The other young man, in the yellow shirt, is named Champion.  Some name, huh?  (Sky and Sarah, don't get any ideas for your next son's name :)).  I sat by him in Church today and found that the elders are teaching him, and this was his 3rd Sunday to attend Church.  He is 22 years old...your age, Gary.  His baptismal date is set for April 16th.  He is from Western Uganda and is living alone here in Kampala to attend the university.  A 17 year old young man named John was baptized after church today, and as I sat by Champion during the baptism I thought it would be good to invite him over for dinner...after getting Mom's permission, I did :).  We had already invited Massigua.  They both came to our apartment for dinner, and Mom served spaghetti, cooked carrots, yummy bread (we bought yesterday), and then m&m chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  It was a very nice Sunday afternoon!

After dinner we talked a bit about the temple and the blessings of temple ordinances.  Massigua said, "The Salt Lake City Temple is my 'goal temple'.  I want to go there.  I want to see that temple.  Because the people who built that temple made such sacrifice.  There was even a man who worked on the temple and got one of his legs cut off, then made a wooden leg and kept walking to the temple to keep working on it".  He was speaking of John Roe Moyle.  I then told him that Mom and I got to work with one of the great grandsons of John Roe Moyle, named Frank Moyle (he was on our shift in the baptistery).  I showed him some pictures of temples on my ipad, and he asked if I could help him 'get those pictures'.  He has a thumb drive, and we took time to load, probably 45 pictures of temples, onto it from Mom's laptop.  He said, "When I see temples it makes me feel so good.  It makes me feel that I want to be there by them".  If things go well for Massigua, he may have the opportunity to attend the Johannesburg temple one day.  There is a good possibility that he would have only one opportunity to do so in his lifetime.  We hope and pray he, and the other members in Uganda, receive the great blessing of having a temple here in Uganda one day. 
We are so blessed to be in the families that we to have been sent to, and to live in the United States of America where the Lord has caused us to have such freedoms, and to be so blessed so as to know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, God's kingdom on the earth, and then to live in Utah where there are so many temples "at our fingertips', as it were.  As Pres. Uchtdorf said, "We tread a path covered with diamonds, but we can scarcely distinguish them from ordinary pebbles."  I don't know what I may have done in my pre-earth life to have deserved such great blessings...but I am determined to not take them for granted.  My great blessings include each of you, my children!  We must all live our lives equal to the great privileges we have been given! "

Massigua and Champion

Finishing dinner.....

Before ending this post I wanted to add something to Massigua's story.  We discussed with Massigua how the Lord has His hand in each of our lives.  When Massigua's eyesight was restored he did not have any skills to work and provide for himself.  He hadn't gone to school at all.  A friend helped him to get a job here at our apartments taking care of the grounds and as a result he was able to meet the missionaries.  He attended church for two full years before making the decision to be baptized.  He has now been a member for three years.  We talked of how he may not have come to know the church without having gone through his personal health challenges and getting him in a place to hear the Gospel.  

You know, sometimes it's all in the perspective. 

Happy Sabbath everyone!

No comments:

Post a Comment