A Post from Gail –

I am so happy to be able to come with Bob to Uganda.  There are so many opportunities for ministry, just in a conversation.  Today we were invited to come and visit one of our friends and see their home. They live many miles out into the bush in the land that borders the north shore of Lake Victoria, an area called Mayuge (My-yoo’-gee). Bob always jokes with the man that to get to his home he has to ride elephants to cross the rivers, and travel through the jungles on their backs. This man rides a motorcycle to get around, and now, because of Bob’s joke, he says, pointing to his boda boda, “This is my elephant.”

Bob had been there before, but I had not. It is a beautiful spot and the man is farming so many things in his garden. He has bananas, chili peppers, and coffee trees mingled together and growing beautifully. The drought seems to be lifting and everyone is grateful for the provision of the rain – things are greening up again and the young plants are growing with the potential finally of yielding a crop.

The wife has little English and I don’t speak her language, so we needed a translator to talk. As is the custom, we were seated with the husband and the food was brought to us, but the wife did not join us to eat. When we finished a wonderful meal, the plates were cleared away and it was time for conversation – Ugandans, at least in this tribal area, don’t converse while eating and think the musungu custom peculiar when we attempt to engage them during lunch or dinner.  The wife, this man’s  sister, his sister-in-law, one of the wives of his father, and a couple of neighbor women all came to see us. I do actually mean “to see us.”  What is this musungu woman like??

All during the visit, Bob and I were just being who we are, interacting and talking as usual. Forty-eight years of marriage and we are comfortable together and we even actually like each other. There were many questions and clarifications of meaning on both sides of the translated conversation.  The man’s wife, Joyce, was noticing that I would touch Bob’s arm while talking and that we were relaxed, informal and open together. She asked, “How can this be that you are so free with each other?”

The women and children who came to see the musungus and expecially the musungu woman.

Then she dropped a little bombshell to show how significant her seemingly simple question was – would I be willing to come and talk to the village women about love and marriage? I was, of course, very willing to come and speak to them in the future, but I was stunned that our simple freedom with each other would speak such an entire sermon to these women that they would think I was an expert on the subject. She could not imagine how it was possible to be together like that, so free and loving and open with each other.

We explained that it is only because of the salvation of Jesus Christ in our lives. The two years of marriage before we became Christians were really “a bit” rocky. What a wonderful transformation Christ  performed in our hearts over these years – 48 years of marriage just this last March 29! There are still bumps and glitches along the way; we are still selfish humans after all, but I guess our warts were not showing on this particular day.

Joyce’s request was truly humbling. We were just being us!  I have a women’s meeting now on the schedule for our next trip, and I already have my topic. Should be fun!