Many of our experiences here in Uganda don’t warrant an entire post – they can be described in a brief “short,” or a snippet. So here are some brushes with the culture and the Spirit, and some impressions as they have passed through on our journeys.

  • In one place we were driving up and down a certain rural road visiting church-plants and interviewing pastors. On our way toward one end of road, we passed a police check-point stopping vehicles coming the other direction. We knew we would face them later that day as we returned that way, and, because these stops can sometimes be unpleasant, especially if you are a musungu who can pay a fine, we braced ourselves. Indeed, as we approached, the policeman waved for us to stop. Alfred pulled up, but then the strangest thing happened, which has certainly never happened before. The policeman did not even approach the vehicle, but peered in and saw me in the front seat and Gail in back. Then he asked, “Born again?” Alfred, caught off guard by the strange question, hesitantly answered, “Yes.” The policeman waved us to continue on our way. We still are wondering what that was about, but we are not complaining.
  • Gail and I had the oddest realization and burst into laughter shortly after we arrived in March. Many years ago when we said the grace before meals, the standing joke we always heard was, “We’re all hungry. This is not the time to pray for the missionaries in Africa.” God, You’re so funny – I guess the joke’s on us. Please, pray for us!
  • We interviewed one pastor in a church-plant who seemed perfectly normal in every way during our discussion.  Then as we asked if God had demonstrated Himself to the church in any way, the pastor rolled up the sleeve of his left arm. Then he folded his forearm back across his elbow until it hung completely backward at the joint. We were astonished to see that he had no bones in his upper arm between his shoulder and his elbow. He was an active military man serving as pastor, and he had been shot with a machine gun – the bone in his upper arm had been shattered and subsequently removed. As they prayed for him, he regained the use of his muscles and now is able to move his fingers, and though the usage is not 100%, his hand is usable. He did not have any pain from this demonstration, and he performed this bizarre maneuver with his arm it just as he must do repeatedly when he preaches and shares about the power of God to heal.
  • Life is hard in Uganda. We noticed an unpleasant reminder of this during our lunches at the Bible Seminar in Tororo. For lunch we always moved out of the building to a shaded area nearby, and each day we were joined for lunch by several ducks and a chicken, who waited for food to be dropped, then darted in to seize the prize of some rice, a vegetable or some posho. One of the ducks was a mother with 8 very young fuzzy ducklings. She was training them to forage, and we had an enjoyable time watching these tiny yellow creatures dashing around and even over our feet to catch little pieces of food. I’m not sure they didn’t get more than I did from my plate because I seemed to be quite clumsy and was “dropping” quite a lot. I said 8 ducklings, but when we met them the next day, there were only 7. Then on the next day, only 6. I asked about this and they told me that it is hard to raise chicks because there are snakes, hawks, and also dogs and cats. This mama duck came to symbolize for me what we always hear from the people when we come, and even this trip have heard – the death of a child one week, the death of a mother, the death over Christmas of a close friend here who was just a little older than we are, 2 children in Soroti who were taken to the hospital with malaria, and even this week a friend who was in the hospital for malaria and typhus at the same time. No, it’s not easy to live here.