I have arrived in Uganda last Thursday and have been up to my ears preparing for my trip to the big Island just off the coast of Jinja, Buvuma Island. It is the largest island in Lake Victoria and the only one with consistent ferry service. All the other islands are served by motor boats which are long leaky vessels powered by outboard motors and sometimes crammed with fifty people and all their belongings. Just last visit in June, I read in the local paper of a motor boat sinking that cost the lives of many people – few Ugandans can swim – and which sank because it had been overloaded in an attempt to make more money. So, though the ferry is a small and dangerous looking barge, I am actually thankful that I have it to make this journey to the island and have not yet had to take a motor boat.

Even the Ugandans seem to be aghast at the idea of a musungu (white foreigner) taking the motor boats. On the last trip when it looked like we were forced by circumstances to take a motor boat to the mainland, Gail and I were actually standing in line at the boat landing at 7:00 am waiting to board when the police captain saw up from across the road and intervened by telling us that the ferry had been repaired and was just now back in service (even though we had been told by several the opposite). But his concern was so great that he made a personal call to the ferry authorities to verify that the ferry was indeed back online, and then made the effort to keep us out of the motorboat. I’m not sure what all that means, and I am sure that one day I will take a boat to one of the other islands, but for now I am thankful for the ferry, such as it is.

We are headed out for that very same ferry this morning (I am waiting for the car right now) and we will embark on our mission, Alfred and I, to Buvuma Island to hold a Bible Institute for the pastoral leadership that serves these 15,000 people and those of the nearby islands (who will boat in to the meetings), and then the following week I will conduct a marriage conference for 50 couples which will culminate in a wedding for 10 of those couples, which I will conduct.

During these two days of intense preparation, I have had several leadership meetings and have spent many hours on the little administrative things one has to do to make all this come together – buying supplies, managing the printing and copying of handouts and of newly translated materials (the first time we have succeeded in accomplishing translation – and even now it was mostly the work of the bishops I work with to make it happen). Having translated materials, however, does not mean we are done – I still had to get the electronic files, edit the layout of the materials to reduce copy expenses which are charge page by page, of course, then have them reproduced in volume for me to take. I spent almost 4 hours yesterday working on this, and we are picking up the many copies even at 7:30 this morning as we leave town for the ferry. Se we have been busy busy busy.

I did manage to work in visits with key leaders. My church, Mosaic Fort Worth, has generously donated funds for certain key projects and items to donate to the family of orphan we minster to here. So mixed with all the errands was the blessing of dropping off all the items I carried over in an extra suitcase and participating in the joy of giving – and let me just say, dancing was had by all. The one image that sticks in my mind is an adolescent girls dancing about waving a packet of underwear in each hand. I don’t think I have ever responded to receiving underwear in such a manner – makes you think…

I also gave funds to finish a church building which came just exactly on a workday, and so now the new building has walls and is enclosed for the first time, thanks to Mosaic. I also gave the funds to start the water tank project at the home of the orphan, which I will talk about further in a later blog. Again, dancing was had by all at the realization that long treks to the well with heavy water cans may be a thing of the past for these children.

I will be out of touch now for ten days because there is no internet on Buvuma Island. So please pray for us as Alfred and I and the bishops and pastors and leaders and couples all embark on this next leg of the journey here in Uganda. I don’t have time to edit this, for my car has come…so please excuse typos and misspellings and mis-wordings. In Him always, Bob

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