Friday, May 2, 2014

How I spent My Spring Vacation

I went to Uganda.  Yeah.  If I told you how I got there, you'd slap me, but then you'd realize that it really was God and not me making a really stupid and dangerous choice.  I'll spare us both that little process.

The following is my journal that I wrote while there, meant for friends, under my mosquito netting, in bed with lizards.

Day 1
I am sooo glad we came during "winter". I like heat but not the humidity. Africa smells like what you'd imagine. Dank and thick and earthy.  We are staying with Mama Irene and Papa Irene, who have a daughter named????? Anyone wanna guess? Irene! The hardest thing we are dealing with so far is the bathroom situations. We are walking the line between dehydration and having to go more than we would like to. No such thing as a shower or bath here. 

Had a good time in church yesterday. Esther (who invited us and set all this up) is translating, and her husband Godfrey sits on the sidelines and does the backseat translating. He says normally when Americans come, they only speak 15 mins. He is the skinniest person I have ever seen.

Everyone is very friendly and all most all of them seem to be able to produce a guest book out of thin air that they want you to sign.

Joshua is our driver and he decided he wanted to take us home to meet mama, and if you think you can't go 60 down a dirt road, you'd be mistaken. Meeting mama entailed meeting his sisters and father and all the kids as mama runs a boarding school. They sang to us and we have some video. Joshua's sister and I hit it off immediately and they had started this school last year, so all very new and experimenting to make it work. We went up to the garden and discussed some of the problems they are dealing with and what they are trying. It's all very well planned and impressive. 

Day 2. 
No Joshua today. We were supposed to visit a bush school but he didn't come to get us. Irene said she wanted to take us. I thought "Oh, Irene has a car!" You can't get a car to Mama Irene's so I thought we had to walk to where it was parked. Nope, we walked all the way to the school which was very nice since I got to really look at all the flowers and bug Irene for names. We met an older gentleman along the road who wanted to know if we were doctors. I explained and he was very appreciative that we had come and giving us props for walking in the bush. 

I had been secretly wanting to get to the Nile but didn't know that there would be opportunity for that, but we were supposed to speak in Jinja after the school. We had to walk back out to the main road to meet our ride who turned out to be a white woman in an SUV.  Her name is Theresa Daley and the connection here is that she was at an event where Melody was speaking.  Melody prophesied to her that she would be going out of the country soon.  Theresa went from there, directly to Macy's and bought luggage by faith.  God established her in Uganda, and Godfrey, Esther's husband is on her staff.  Do you smell the set-up yet? LOL!  Melody's always praying to see the evidence of her words.

We were so surprised and relieved. She took us to a real toilet and then Jinja. We were met by the pastor who told us no, there is not time for us today. I knew that was really God, and we all went down to the headwaters of the Nile, prayed, did our frequency things over the water and Melody and Sherry prophesied to Theresa, Esther and Godfrey. Then we had to hurry up and get to Idudi, which is a predominately Muslim community to preach out there. Getting to Idudi is one thing, but finding the church is another. It was way out in the bush and we got lost. We failed to go left at the mango tree and were running around and Godfrey is on the phone most of the time getting different directions from everyone, because apparently "I don't know" is not something one says out here. We pick up one friend who is supposed to know but doesn't. Her and Godfrey are riding in the hatchback area. Then Godfrey is on the phone with someone else and yells "stop! There she is!" We see a little 10 year old girl with a phone up to her ear on the road, so she climbs in and I'm wondering how many people we can get in this car.

So we got to church late and nobody seemed to mind. They were just happy to have us and we got home way too late and had to walk in slick mud in the dark in a dangerous place. Mama Irene had apparently been waiting for us at the bottom with a flashlight. And we are scheduled for Idudi again tomorrow which none of us are thrilled with. We love Pastor Sarah but it's just a long way at the wrong time of day, driving at night is very dangerous. 

Funny of the day: Godfrey yelling as he tries desperately to manage unruly American women; "I can't lead you if you won't stay together!"

On the way home, I'm silently asking God for strategy about the issues here and Godfrey who has been jabbering away in lugandan, out of nowhere says, "you have to forgive before you pray." Aha! Of course!

So it was a day of desires fulfilled. Sherry got her walk, Melody and I got the Nile, and we all got to go to the toilet.

Day 3
We got a fire under our butts today and went back to Pastor Zachariah's church (the guy who said no) and he let us go and prophesy to a group of business people. It should have been videoed. Melody was bringing it and the interpreter was all fired up and yelling and waving his arms. Melody explained our Nile trip and at the end, Zachariah got up and told the audience that in 1983, three American women came and did the same thing at the headwaters of the Nile (I'm sure it wasn't the same) and then he announced that we would be back tomorrow. This means we are double booked. Theresa made sure we got hamburgers and milkshakes, and back to the toilet. She is a godsend. She has been in Uganda long enough that she knows how to handle herself yet knows what would make us happy. She has family in Kamiah. Small world. I really appreciate everybody I'm with.

Melody and I woke up during the night at the same time, got our dreams down and then processed through them. Mine was that Theresa needed to not be hauling us around. Melody saw a wrecked white car. When Theresa came she said she wasn't feeling she could go to Idudi again. I agreed, but when time came, we all went. We turned on the bush road out of Idudi and we went "uh uh."  We stopped in the middle of the road and prayed.  Then we called pastor Sarah and explained that we did not have a release to go down the road but Sherry prophesied to her and the church. Turned the car around and went home, had a fantastic drive and conversation.

Then we arranged to meet with Pastor Moses and he is wonderful. We explained that Zachariah had announced rather than asked us to come back and he let us off the hook because we would be reaching more on the radio via Zachariah where Moses' church is small. He says the more Ugandans we can reach, the better. We are still going there Thurs and Fri. Lots of shifting going on with schedules. Godfrey and Esther are staying flexible with it all and getting more comfortable with us.

Day 4
Day 2 at pastor Zachariah's church in Jinja. I got some video this time. You'll have to check out my youtube channel.  Then we went to an Internet cafe which was much needed and then to Theresa's house on the Nile to finish up on wifi. The atmosphere at her house is completely different and a nice break. 

Day 5
Another fun day. Kicked it off with a front porch deliverance session, then Pastor Moses' church which was great. He wanted to have a sit down afterwards which was very nice to visit and productive. I really like him. Then downtown, where I bought Joshua lunch at the white people restaurant. He had fried chicken, French fries and a milkshake. Then he got up in church and testified about it.  Joshua can't believe what we eat, never mind that they also eat chicken and potatoes, just fixed differently. Esther makes the best potatos btw. You don't miss butter or gravy. Arthur on the other hand was asking about other things we eat and doing the charades, he gets to the crab pinching motions. "Yes we eat crab and lobster." He makes the ewwy face and says "I can't believe you eat that!"  Now you know how we feel.

Then to Godfrey and Esther's church which was pretty good. I'm videoing when I'm not busy up front which meant about 20 mins video today.

Things I have learned if you're gonna go to the bush:
  1. You need wash n wear hair - and don't expect to wash it very much.
  2. Yeah, you really do need to pack your own toilet paper
  3. You also need to bring a tasty friend to draw Mosquitos away from you. Melody will suffice.
  4. Put odor eaters in your suitcase for dirty clothes.
  5. You can get all the advice in the world from people who have been there, and in the end have to throw it all out.
Day 6
Back to Moses' church and that was enough for one day as we are tired. He has the gift of hospitality. He brings in bottled water while the service is going, and then he wants you to hang and have a coke with him after. We are resorting to pills to sleep right now. It's just hard. It's a good time but hard. And we seem to be gaining an entourage, which luckily we can leave on the front porch and go in and shut the door when we get tired.

Day 7
Downtime today and I am watching Irene water the garden. She has a garden in Kampala also and grows medicinal things so we have something to talk about. She has a tremendous sized coleus too and I explained the flowers make your dreams more vivid so it's easier to remember. We went to Njeru and she pulled up some vinca and transplanted it in the garden in case somebody gets sick and can't make it to Kampala. 

The Ugandan's threw me a birthday party.  Wrong day, but who am I to argue?  Cake and presents!  And a very long birthday song that I wish I had video of!  I got shoes made out of tires, lots of jewelry, big paper thingie... Photo album here... 

Really, God seems to have us on business and dealing with people's limited thinking, and identifying a few key people to "break out" and set an example and be an encouragement to others. I'm not feeling like I want to give these people all my money, which is my usual MO. They really need to think bigger. They need the prophetic. Everybody's in business but their impoverished neighbor is not going to be their best customer. The other thing we've been on is the generational deliverance.  

Day 8
I have been in church more times in the last week than in my entire life. I'm not feeling the need to butt heads with religion like I do in the states, I'll leave that job to Godfrey. He has a gentle way of explaining things.

What a long week. We are easily annoyed and easily amused at this point. Nothing sleep won't fix. And moving more into the bush from here. 

Day 9
We have no idea. We knew to go preach in Nkokonjeru and thought we were then going to Mokono to live, but we got out of the truck in Nkokonjeru and they started unloading our bags. Anyway, we are staying with a woman who is wealthy by Ugandan standards. She has a maid, electricity, tv. She hosts all the ministry people and has everything you'd want. You know, not actual running water, but nice.

Day 10 
We had a nice breakfast with Harriet. She works as an accountant for the govt, came home for lunch and fed us, which is more than the one meal a day we been getting. Sherry is running a fever and Melody had a dream warning that she needed antibiotics, so waiting for that to kick in. My stomach would like me to stop throwing weird things down there.  One day we ran out of water and I ate a papaya for fluids.  Not used to so much fruit. Basically, at any given time one of us is sick but mostly pushing through.

We had a hard time at church today minus Sherry. Lots of witchcraft in the meeting, to the point of actually stopping the meeting to pray.  Melody spoke and did not open it up for prophecy this time, where we ministered to every single person including babies the night before. Melody sat down and pastor wanted me to get up there and say something so I prophesied to him, which might have included the phrase "stink eye" so I'm not sure how that translated.

We've been trying to understand what the deal is here, and nobody's talking because "it's too bad." We did get canibalism out of Esther and Godfrey.  I got the scoop from Joshua later.

Day 11 (my birthday)
Never say never. I thought no way would I ever get on a boda boda, but when you're broke down in the middle of the bush and working on your sunburn, apparently you do whatcha gotta do. We were supposed to speak in a church nearby and pastor Joseph was taking us in a very old Toyota Corolla which broke down. Melody had had a dream that we were going to have trouble getting out of Nkokonjeru. So some guys come by on motorcycles and everybody's working on the car, but they eventually give up and Godfrey breaks the news to us that we are going to church on the bodas. Dangerous and fun, and a very scenic ride. We are in a higher elevation so it's cooler and you can look out over palm tree tops and see mountains and valleys. Sherry asked me if I had ever prayed for an exciting birthday, could I please cap it right there. We finally got to church, it was very free, very welcoming and a good time. Then we went home on the bodas, at which point I got a burn. It blistered up but I don't feel it.

So back to Harriet's with a half hour to eat lunch before dashing off to the next meeting at Nkokonjeru. I think Godfrey and pastors wife were not going for a repeat of the day before and cleaned the place out. I don't know what was going on but they were serious business. Godfrey had both pointer fingers out, one towards the sky and one at the ground, yelling in high speed Lugandan. Melody explained why witchcraft mixing with Christianity is bad, had em all repent and then we prophesied to everyone individually. We had done that in the morning as well in the other church and Fred, one of the village pastors was fascinated with that and wants to join NIT.  What's interesting is that I had an easier time prophesying in the hard place than the free place.

Day 12
Well, I feel a resolution of why we had to come here. I feel like we're done now. Had another great day at Chiboogoo, or however you spell that. We got there in the car this time and Pastor Joseph is a maniac behind the wheel. He basically says two words in English to us, "sorry" and "chitty chitty bang bang" which is what we named his car. Oh, the coolest thing happened in church today. Melody got the 4 area pastors to come together in covenant and do a prophetic act of an exchange. Each took something out of their pockets and passed it to the next, and then one distributed it back around. Joseph was collecting it all and Pastor Something-I-can't-Pronounce picked a caterpillar out of the handful of money, wallets and phones and threw it on the ground in front of me. I was so stunned. And nobody else seemed to catch on that the locust and the cankerworm were being prophetically cast down from their finances. So I spoke up.

Day 13
We are in Entebbe and I picked an expensive hotel!  You have no idea how all the little things excite us. We are so psyched about toilet paper, shower, air conditioning, a mirror, pillows, soft bed, ect. The only issue is I will put my clean body back into muddy sweaty pjs. So happy. So ready to go home.   Got a shower and did all bathroomy related things.  Now I'm thinking about ice in my drink.  Tomorrow, tomorrow!  Or maybe the day after...  Amsterdam here I come!

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