Archive for June, 2018


The Day After

Packing now like crazy, separating what stays and what goes home on Monday with us and are we under our weight limit…

 

[From Gail]

The graduation of the Lake Victoria Bible Institutes at Buvuma Island was a perfect end to a very busy trip.  Seeing all the students smiling and laughing and so proud of themselves. They were so cohesive and together – they had conquered the three days of testing. Even those who did not pass were in fine spirits and even came to us and made a point of thanking us profusely because we had given them every chance. When the three plus hours of speeches and dignitaries and certificates of the graduation and delicious food were finished, we walked back up Bob and Gail hill to our guesthouse, the Buvuma Palm Resort, to the visual symphony of a magnificent sunset over the lake. It was a fine day. We were proud of the students and proud of ourselves. We were exhausted. Ten glorious weeks in Uganda had passed.

Of course, the next morning was a bit of a let-down after all the highs and anticipation.

More pix of the testing. Students concentrating on the written test.

As we were packing up to catch the ferry, a knock came on the door. It was one of our students, in fact one of the three with the highest results on the exams. We know him well and he is a fine young man. He asked to speak to Bob. The gist of the conversation was that he was feeling that God had something more for him. He wanted to be teaching people and serving. Did Bob have any advice or help to offer?  They talked awhile and Bob made some suggestions and told him to rest and wait on the Lord to show him a path forward. This was a significant meeting and development for reasons I am not at liberty to divulge at this time.

Students cramming for the tests on the break between tests.

As Bob and I talked later, Bob indeed did have some ideas of a way forward. Bob and I began praying about many things and how it could really benefit the Kingdom, Meade International ministry, and the young man. We both felt a peace about this. (We had lots of time to talk because of ferry problems…again!) All of that was so uplifting, to see God working right in front of us. We shall see what will come from this!

Then we left to catch the ferry.  For the first time ever, we did not get boarded on the first ferry – a group of political figures arrived at the last minute and bumped us from the long line of vehicles. Ironically, they were on the island at the invitation of Bishop Wakko to attend and speak at our graduation ceremony the previous day.  (“Attention, Bob and Gail! Perk up and listen – this kind of thing doesn’t happen unless I have something for you.”)

Oral Exam, Bishop Waako translating.

So we were STILL sitting at the ferry station waiting another two hours) when another one of our graduated students approached us and asked to see Bob. He has a small store at the ferry landing and has planted five churches in the region from the training of the Institute. We went over to greet him. As we sat in his small shop, he confessed he had been prompted by the Spirit to pray for Bob’s shoulder (rotator cuff injury, surgery scheduled for July) but had not obeyed because of the flurry of activity at the ceremony, and maybe a little fear, though this man is in every way a peer and has no reason to fear us (it’s an African thing, though). Now he was feeling heavily convicted to do it before we left Buvuma and Uganda. So we were blessed to have him pray for Bob.

The students gathered for a pre-picture; alfred first row this end, kneeling.

Then our student said he had something else to tell us. Apparently his churches have a desire to help support our ministry. The way they want to do this is to donate food to the lunch budget for our training each time we come to the island. This is always our biggest expense in ministry here – feeding the students at our seminars.  I don’t think I can properly express how huge and overwhelming this offer of support is to us. As fruit of the Stewardship Teaching, they are not asking for more ministry, but instead want to join in and partner with us for their own people, Ugandan to Ugandan. In fact, they had already gathered food for us to take this very day: avocados, mangoes, bananas and corn. Our friend said that next time we come, they will begin to gather food a month ahead and we can pick it up when we get off the ferry.  Hopefully, this will feed the many students during the conference, saving a tremendous expense. Wow! The second blessing of the day.  I am feeling very blessed and loved.

Students under the tent, with crowd of 200 – families and guests – in background. This event, I was told was the first of its kind on Buvuma, so it drew some attention.

I was sitting in the ferry waiting area, yes, still waiting, when two young Ugandan men whom I did not know sat down next to me and began to talk to me. They wanted to know if we were evangelists or missionaries. Why were we here on Buvuma Island? I explained what we do and some facts about the ministry. It turned out that these two men were schoolteachers and have a school very near Jinja. They were on Buvuma to have a meeting with some of the pastors and to talk about the needs that they had in their churches and communities – I think perhaps to start a school, desperately needed on Buvuma, but they didn’t commit to that.  They were wondering if there was a way to partner with them in some way.

The reason we got bumped off the first ferry – Big trucks are coming to Buvuma now because it is growing. The roads are still the tiny broken dirt roads, so I’m not sure how they do it. But this little ferry will soon have to be replaced. Our car is behind the big truck with the arrow.

I explained how big our organization is: Bob, Gail, Alfred and Mosaic Ft. Worth.  I introduced Bob to the two men, and they had a long conversation about many things. At the end of that conversation, they asked if they could become students at the Institute.  Of course, Bob said yes! I have no idea what God has in mind with this “chance” meeting while waiting for the ferry.

I am so encouraged by the three different things that God put in our pathway today – day of travel over tortuous broken roads when you expect nothing but tiredness at the end of day. It will take time to sort it all out. But now, it was a great “day after” and stands equal to any of the other days we have had here in Uganda. I am glad I experienced it all.

The two certificates we offered at the Institute: Discipleship on the Left, Graduation on the Right. (Click to Enlarge)

It was a national holiday today and the ferries were packed with people going home for celebrations. As is true with anywhere in the world, the “important” people get to be first in line for their cars to get on the ferry and the rest of us wait for the next one. To be fair, when some of the “important ” people and those in charge realized they had not included the missionaries on the first ferry, they apologized profusely to Alfred and said they would make it right next time. Honestly, we are no different than anyone else and we would have missed some of the blessings of the day if we had left sooner. It all works together for good to those He loves and who are called according to His purpose!

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Back to town from the Island. Coming home on Monday.

We have now completed the first official graduation of students from a course of study at the Lake Victoria Bible Institutes, Buvuma Section. We issued 20 Certificates of Graduation and nine Certificates of Discipleship for a total of 29 student certificates. When I started the Institute program in 2014, I did not know…well, a lot of things.

    • I did not know how the pastors and leaders of Ugandan churches would respond to the opportunity I was suggesting to them – to train them in basic biblical churchmanship, theology and life application.
    • I did not know even the idea of giving exams in Uganda for certificates. I did not know until I stood up to give my small portion of the many talks and speeches shared at the ceremony yesterday that the reason for the examination was not for me to be certain they had grasped the information, but rather for the students to demonstrate to themselves that they had learned this material. I realized as I stood and gazed proudly across at them sitting in their robes and graduation hats that these students when I first met them had felt beaten down, isolated and neglected by their circumstances. But now this program has lifted them to a new level. Gail and I needed them to discover that truth for themselves, and somehow, the exams accomplished that. Through the difficult rite of passage represented by the testing, the certificate became much more than a piece of paper to these students. The hard-earned certificate became a symbol of over 200 hours of classroom study that, according to their own testimonies, has effectively changed many of their paths as church leaders and believers. I did not know at first why God required these tests, but I do now –the students needed them.

      Gail passes out and monitors the written exams.

    • I did not know that so many would stick with the program year after year, coming together for a week at a time to receive the training over three and a half years. We have over 250 students registered in the program, but there is a strong core of about 120 who are committed and who show up every time we come.  The fewest hours registered for any of these graduates was 210 hours of class time, and the highest was 270, which represents being present at every single session since I first began with a two-day church planting conference in 2014.
    • I did not know that when I finished my first teaching on the island in 2014 and a man stood up in the back of the class and begged me through an interpreter, “Please, we have no teaching. Please come and teach us….” that the Institute program that we developed in response to that request would in such a short amount of time expand across Uganda to nine centers from west to east, and south to north. Truly, this heart-cry was a request which no teacher could deny, and it has changed my life and theirs.

Bob administers the oral exams.

  • I did not know that every time we come to Uganda the Lord would open new doors for other centers until we have so many requests that we can’t cover them all. The first time it happened, He whispered, “Look to the water,” before I had even left the US and before I even knew there were any people living in the islands of the lake, let alone 250,000 of them. That gentle little whisper is what led me to Buvuma Island the first time. And that still, small Voice still speaks today, repeatedly opening up new frontiers.
  • I did not know at the beginning that God would raise up indigenous Ugandan teachers to carry this Institute ministry forward when I one day can no longer come. Yet, in this graduating group alone, there are at least three and maybe four who will form the core of just such a group over the next two years, gifted teachers who can carry this ministry.

    The students took these tests very seriously.

All of these things collided in my mind and heart as I sat through the ceremony on the island in the front row, in front of OUR students who were about to receive their certificates. As I listened to the many speeches from guest pastors and  local government leaders exhorting them to take their teaching and apply it in their churches, I reflected on the three preceding days of examinations. This had been a grueling ordeal for them because they fear evaluation, especially testing. We gave eight separate written exams to those who could read English, and eight separate oral exams to those who could not read English or could not read at all but still managed to study and prepare for the exams. I was able to use the exam process occasionally to re-teach as needed, often branching from a difficult concept that all the students were still struggling with to teach the concept one more time, followed by more penetrating questions to make sure they had it.

The graduates proudly march in, led by no other than the ever-popular Mama Gail, dressed in the robe they insisted she wear for the ceremony.

I thought of one student from Tuesday’s oral Stewardship exam who couldn’t answer a question about the difference between Law and Grace, which is very difficult for many to grasp since most native church teaching can be quite legalistic. I led him and the other students back through this teaching. I will never forget this student’s final response to my question, “Why, then, if we are free from the Law, would a Christian ever give a sacrificial tithe to the Lord, since it is not required by Law?” The light finally glistened in his eyes as he said without further prompting, “Because we love Him so much.” Finally, he “got” grace. Finally, he understood. My eyes teared up and chills danced along my spine. What did it matter that we were in the middle of exams, and this was “old” information that I had previously taught? He finally “got” it, and it was the exam that brought him to that point! I passed him for the Stewardship exam without further questioning.

Though we had three students who passed with honors, getting 100% on half of their tests and high scores on the others, we did have several who could not academically pass the exams. We had previously decided that the exams would be a positive learning experience as much as possible for all the students, and so we were perplexed how to deal with these students supportively while still holding them accountable for the material. And though I offered a Discipleship Certificate to those who chose not to take the exam and those who could not pass it, most wanted the Graduation Certificate which required exams – they did not want to fail. On the spot, Gail (and the Lord, I am certain) suggested an intensive final interview where she would ask them what they had learned at the Institute classes and how they were applying it in their lives and churches. Doing this, we were surprised to uncover even more newly planted churches that they had neglected to tell us about, and to our further delight, the students revealed a flood of practical applications of all the teaching going on in the island churches that we had not yet heard about. The interviews resulted in passing more students who obviously knew the material in a practical sense, if not an academic one. This has instructed us and opened up a new and very valid testing mechanism that we will now develop for the future.

My head was swimming with all the things the students and I had gone through together over 3 and a half years that brought us to this moment. Finally, I stood with other community leaders to present the certificates and joyfully handed over to these proud, joyous islanders their own certificates, reflecting their own, personal levels of achievement, each certificate personalized for the classes they had each attended.

All this time as I sat there, I heard the Lord chuckling in the background. You see, when it came time many years ago for me to attend the graduation ceremonies for both my own degrees back in the States, for foolish reasons of a much younger man that I can’t even remember now and would never repeat from my current perspective, I shunned both ceremonies and waited to receive my diplomas in the mail. I have no idea what had gotten into me – I just can’t remember – but I regret these two decisions to this day. But now, here I was, dressed in the finery that the student leaders required of me for their ceremony, the very kind of gowns I had previously shunned, getting ready to hand out graduation certificates to each of my students and celebrating with each one as their family and friends gathered around them to be photographed.

I spoke briefly but pointedly about the students’ need to “teach others also” from 2 Tim. 2:2. I also told them that Ugandan churches were on the verge of entering the mainstream of church history by sending missionaries of their own, a development I predict will occur within ten years.

I’m pretty sure the Lord set me up for this, one of his time-warping cosmic jokes, gently chiding me for my foolishness so many years ago in missing my own moments of celebration. I was truly humbled to be repeatedly called “the Professor” by students, speakers, and guests alike, and God restored in me that which was lost by the folly of my youth.

There are many things I just didn’t know back then before all this started. It is the custom in Uganda to refer to someone who speaks into your life as a spiritual “father,” not as a title but conversationally.  God has somehow transformed the overly shy fatherless boy that I know so well from the inside out into the spiritual “father” of a people. I am humbled, deeply, quietly… resolutely.

And, I don’t know what extraordinary surprises are next – even today, a travel day returning from the island, was full of them (see “Mama” Gail’s post on the graduation – “The Day After,” coming next).

Back to town for the day and night.

We headed out early this morning to make the journey to the ferry to take us to our last meeting on Buvuma Island. The road has been under major reconstruction for years now and they seem to be nearing the happy point. The happy point here in Uganda, according to my reckoning of local road construction, is that point when the inconvenience and delays caused by the work is finally surpassed by the improved quality of the driving surface of the road.

They haven’t actually paved anything yet, but the surface is smooth and wide (it will be a major highway most of the way to the ferry stop when it is done) as opposed to its former state of narrow and full of barely navigable gullies, washouts and potholes. We used to take an arduous cross-country short-cut down valleys, through several swamps, and along very narrow tracks just to avoid having to spend so much time on this terrible road, but now it is finally quicker than the short-cut and a lot more pleasant.  So…happy point!

The ferry we might have taken today if it had been where it was supposed to be.

This applies only to the latter part of the roadbed, because they haven’t yet touched the first half, and it is worse every time we drive it, so, I guess if I am honest, it’s still a hard-to-win combination. Still, with the improved back half, the trip only takes an hour for what used to be at least two.

After traveling across all that this morning, we arrived at the ferry station to an empty dock. The ferry was gone. The officer there explained that it was suddenly called to Kome Island for some “emergency” (?) and might be back tonight for service Monday morning, heavy emphasis on the “might.” She kindly gave us her number and told us we could call her this evening to see if the ferry had returned.

So, back to town and the guesthouse for a much needed Sabbath rest, which we have now taken and have enjoyed immensely.

A restaurant we found on our unexpected Sabbath. A great day of much needed rest! God always seems to know what we need…

The officer has now told us that the ferry did indeed return this evening and that the cars and trucks that didn’t get to go today will be lining up early to get a place tomorrow morning. So we will be leaving the guesthouse in Jinja at 4 am to reach there by 5 am to get in line for the 7:30 a.m. ferry. Hope we make it.

So we will be concluding our day of rest by going to bed early, which isn’t so bad, either.

James Update Spring 2018

We traveled back from Soroti to Jinja today, and completed errands in preparation for a five-day return to Buvuma Island tomorrow through Thrusday. Note: Off the grid.

[Note: We are off the grid for the next 5 days, on Buvuma Island out in Lake Victoria. We are testing and graduating our first 27 graduates from the Buvuma Island Section of Lake Victoria Bible Institutes.]

[This is an update on James, the deaf child we pulled from the streets of the island in Lake Victoria and moved to the deaf school in Mbale several years ago – see the “James” thread].

James spent two days with us this trip while we were in his area in Mbale. He stayed overnight with us in the hotel, sleeping in Alfred’s room since the two of them seem to have a close bond. This little boy who has evidenced so much anger and rejection at times in the last several years seems now to be a well-adjusted and happy child. The attention he gets from the other children and the teachers and directors at the school seem to be doing him a lot of good.

We had a little scare with him over the Christmas holiday when he was put with the family that normally kept him on the holidays. Up till then the mother of this little family had done a good job, since she is professionally a teacher of the deaf and understands their issues. However, she did not inform us that she was planning to enter schooling during this holiday and left him at her village under the care of others who were not familiar with his need for a tight rein (he has been on his own for many years without discipline and tended to wander freely on the island, getting into mischief without any language or communication abilities that might have otherwise transferred some social skills to a normally hearing child). Those who were then left in charge of him at the village failed to understand these needs and as a result failed to monitor his behaviors, only becoming alarmed and angry when he reverted to his old behaviors of wandering through people’s homes at will when no one was guiding him.

James sketched me as I preached, and no, those are not elf ears, those are my glasses. This from a boy who never touched a pencil and paper, I think, until two years ago.

This produced an unpleasant and unnecessarily “physical” confrontation, and Alfred actually had to go rescue him over the holiday and return him to the school. Now, unfortunately, the school is the only option for him during the holiday breaks in the school year. So he was glad to get “off-campus” for a day or two and see the big city of Mbale with us. Also, we enjoyed having him along. He is obedient and kind, always sharing the things we give him with other children. We had a wonderful time with him with no troubles of any kind, all former signs of willfulness being gone, it seems.

He has a serious interest in drawing, so we brought him some colored pencils. He spent his time sketching various things and seems to have the eye for a detail of an artist (of course, time will tell). During our Sunday morning church service, he sketched such things as the preacher – me – and Gail’s journal and Bible sitting on the table (an odd choice for a small child to even notice, let alone sketch in his book), the clock on the back wall, etc. Like I said, he seems to have an “eye.”

When we parted ways and Alfred drove off with him to go back to school, there was none of the previous sadness or acting out at our departure. I think he knows now that we will return and that we are not abandoning him – see https://meadeinternational.org/2017/10/21/the-grand-adventure-or-to-oz-and-back-with-james-and-faith-part-2/ for the painful telling of that part of the adventure. Oh, how I look forward to the day when James can talk to us fluently enough to have real relational conversation!

Somehow James has picked up the Ugandan custom of glaring dolefully at the camera when being photographed.

We did not get to visit with Faith this trip, our second deaf child at Kavule Parents School for the Deaf. It was school holiday break, and she was home with her family in Soroti, just as it should be. Still, we missed seeing her. All school reports are that she is doing well, though she needed a new blanket, which we have provided.

On that note though, we did run across another ten year old deaf girl living with her mother who has had no schooling up to now. She does not share the crisis condition in which we found James because her mother, though very poor, cares well for her. But the mother has no resources to put her into school. As a result of this, the child is growing up with no formal language but “family signs,” no education of any kind, and very little interaction with the world outside her home – a “back-yard child.” This is the time to get her into schooling or soon she will be beyond the ability to adapt to such changes in a healthy manner.

Unless Alfred can make him laugh…

So Gail and I are again praying about adding to our small brood of school-children we are overseeing with school fees, though with deaf children the needs are a bit more involved since they must board at the school. The mother has requested our help and has now shown that she is sincere by visiting the school and meeting with the director. But, she says, she cannot afford the fees. So we are seeking a sponsor. In a short time, this lovely child will be like the older deaf children even at the school who simply have never been able to develop the brain “wiring” to be educated. They are able to socially interact well, but their future is very limited because they were rescued and brought to the school too late to be able to adapt to the schoolroom environment. If we can go forward with this girl now, she has a good chance to learn language and be educated, as has been proven by James, who was virtually a street child when we brought him.

James shares a rare “night-out” for dinner with his adoptive family in Mbale.

This would amount to about $35.00 per month in her case, considering the positive ability of the family to share in some of the more basic expenses and to keep her on the holidays. If anyone is interested in rescuing this life (yes, I am reaching now for the heart strings, but I am telling you the truth), we would love to discuss this further with you by email or phone. Please contact us through the comments section of this website. As usual, Meade International will oversee the schooling for the sponsor, giving regular reports, and our local representative, Pastor Alfred, will be physically present as needed to monitor the situation.

The Backseat

Now we are in Soroti teaching Church History for the week.

[From Gail]

It is our last teaching week (one week after this to go), and I am both happy and sad. Ten weeks is a long time and we have accomplished so much; met so many people, over 700 in the weeks we have been here. So many returning students and so many new students to get to know.

One of the ways to get to know your students is to give them rides to the conference in your van. Kamuda village was about half an hour from Soroti where we have been staying. Early in the week, along the way, we encountered some of our students, and they stuck out their hands, asking for a ride. It wasn’t at all like Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night, but the effect was the same: we stopped!

The third row of seats in our van has been removed so we could pack all our things from place to place –luggage for multiple week road trip, generator, paper records of multiple Institutes, handout copies, electrical cords for the generator, multi-plug for multiple plug access for our equipment, fold-up table that we carry because it seems Ugandans abhor flat surfaces to place things on wherever we stay and we were tired of putting things on the floor, boxes of bottled water, medium size whiteboard with stand, voltage regulator that protects our electrical from power surges, jerrycans of fuel, bag of tarps large, medium and small, student note-taking books, student pens – anyway, we have a lot of gear between the three of us…can you get the picture? So when we stopped to give a lift, there was only the back seat available, and I was occupying part of it with my big tote that I carry with me everywhere. There were three women and two small children asking for a ride. They all piled in and we were packed tight!

Me in the backseat with four other ladies we we will deliver back down the road from Kamuda Community Church at the end of day.

The road to Kamuda is a paved road for about two minutes and then 25 minutes of bumps and humps, back and forth travail to avoid the many potholes, and, of course, the many potholes that are unavoidable. We arrived just fine, just a little pressed down, shaken together and running over, to speak biblically.

Each of the five days at the end of the teaching, the number of hopeful riders increased for the return trip down this tortuous dirt road. Soon into the week we had five women in the second seat with me, and back with the “stuff,” seated or crammed in with the generator and jerrycans and boxes, there were sometimes three more people. On the last day, we also had three chickens!! It was a little crazy, a bit uncomfortable, but how could we say no to such requests? it was a long road and it was very hot and we would not want to walk it ourselves at the end of a long day.

Even the luggage area was packed out with a church member, the pastor himself (on the left) and three chickens, “Julie Regina,” “Lunch,” and “Dinner” (they’re the ones in the middle in the box).

I have learned a lot about the villages we pass and the vegetation and crops we have seen each day. i have heard about some interesting things they can do with sweet potatoes in the off season. One sweet lady even made me a special dish using dried sweet potatoes and a wonderful g-nut sauce. The g-nut, or ground nut, is somewhat like our peanut, but smaller. How could I ever have learned about so many new things while sitting comfortably all alone in the backseat of our van each day? The crowded conditions of our makeshift taxi-service has ended up furthering my cultural education.

We are in Soroti town this week, and the road is not long or difficult to reach the church that is hosting our Institute meetings. I will have the backseat all to myself. I’m not quite sure if I am happy or sad about that. After all, these new friends are why I am here. I can be comfortable when I return home to the U.S.

Questions

We’ve finished a long week at Kamuda, a village area outside the town of Soroti. Now we are resting up for next week IN Soroti.

One of the students’ favorite things during the teaching here in Uganda is when I take questions from the group. My aim is to elicit questions concerning the actual material I am teaching to clarify any confusing points, but rarely am I asked a question that is on task. Mostly, the questions are perpendicular to the topic we are discussing and about some issue that has been bugging the student for some time. She hasn’t been able to find anyone who can answer it, so here is the musungu asking for questions and…well, this moment is as good as any.

“We have been taught in school that some of our people are  living up in space now. Are they still there? How do they relate with us in God’s ministry? Are they widening the initiative of living in space and establishing administrative headquarters yonder?”

This was an actual question that was submitted in writing – this student had great command of their English, just not their science. Now I assure you, I was not teaching on this subject. The second question from this student was, “Can you help me about how they say that some people are living in certain planets. If so, do they relate with some of the humanities on earth here?” This person has been listening to or reading some science fiction. I have never encountered this subject in Uganda before this. As far as I know, science fiction is very limited here.

Church Planting in Apac.

Some of these questions are whimsical, but many are very serious theological issues that are argued among the churches with no clear answers coming from any source. Many are incomprehensible so that I have to ask the student who submitted it to restate it with more information, and, of course, some of the questions are about local urban legends or just misunderstandings of what the Bible is saying. Many of these misunderstandings are widely held as truth. We learn much about the culture from these questions and can see how the local worldview is influencing their understanding of the Bible. Here are some examples.

Serious theological or biblical questions: [grammar and spelling mostly corrected for purposes of clarity]

  • Jesus washed his disciples’ feet. Are we also supposed to do that? (I am asked this question at least 3-5 times every trip.)
  • What is the difference between the Sabbath in Exodus 20 and the Jewish festivals? (I really have to know my Bible for some of these, and often, I will say, “I’ll get back to this one tomorrow,” so I can go look up the details.)
  • Question time in Kaberamaido.

    Say something about the Jerusalem Bible and the additional books that this Bible has. (This question concerns the 14 extra books of the Apocrypha that some denominations include in their Bibles. They learn this from their Anglican and Catholic neighbors and wonder what these extra books are. I’ve learned a lot from these questions, having to do some research myself before answering them. The Apocrypha, a set of Greek writings from the Old Testament period which are usually mixed into the Old Testament text, were actually included in the original King James Version in 1611, but published in a third section, as OT, Apocrypha, NT.)

  • What was the church called at the time of Peter and Paul? (Acts 9:2 – “The Way,” Acts 11:26 – “Christians.”)
  • What significance does the cross have to the church today? Is it idol-worship to have crosses like some churches do?
  • When you teach hermeneutics, you say that Christ is central to all interpretation of the Bible. But Song of Songs has a lot about love issues. How is that related? (Great question…good discussion as to the true meaning of Song of Songs/Song of Solomon.)
  • How can you get a right partner for marriage?
  • Which day is proper for the worship of God, Saturday or Sunday? Are we lost for praying on Sunday instead of Saturday? (There are many questions on this subject, especially where there are Seventh Day Adventist churches mixed in with the other Evangelicals.)

    Answering questions about the cross Jesus was crucified on – Kamuda.

  • In our community some people name their children Jesus or Is it good to give such names to our children?
  • Does our prayer save the dead? Is it biblical to pay money to ___ missions after someone’s death to save them? Especially by taking our baptism tickets back to our missions? (There are obviously many cultural and mixed denominational traditions dealing with the dead that I know only little about. Most of this will be cleared up when I teach Church History and they can see where and when these different beliefs arose.)
  • What is the most biblical method of burying the dead body? I have asked this because some people use coffins, others bury without coffins, others roll the body using the stick to the grave, etc. (?? –Much I don’t understand here, but I do know, though, that Ugandans seem to have a universal terror of cremation as a form of dealing with the body, so I didn’t suggest that.)
  • As the scripture says in 1 John 5:16-17, there are some sins which don’t lead us to death. Is it true that there are some sins which don’t lead us to death? (I lost an hour of lesson time to that question.)
  • May you please give us some reasons as to why the clergy and the Laity cannot change their mind and follow the examples of spiritual leadership set by Jesus in the New Testament? (Sadly, because they do not want to.)

Some incomprehensible questions are submitted, some of which no one will admit to asking, others which become clear when I am able to ask some clarifying questions of my own as to what the person  actually meant to say:

Gettin’ down to it in Kamuda.

  • They always say that there is the “underground.” So please let me know about it. (This required some real interviewing on my part as to what this could possibly mean. The answer was unpleasant. It seems the latest round of rumors sweeping across the churches in Uganda is that some  pastors are going to the lake and meeting some “super-evil power” underwater to get blessing from them – “the underground” – and then bringing their evil powers back to the church. Lists of pastors’ names are even being published of the ones that supposedly are under this influence. Last year it was burning your King James Bibles because they have the word “Holy Ghost” in them, and the year before it was lists of names of pastors who were part of the “Illuminati.” Easily distracted people love to hear and spread negative rumors, regardless how outlandish and unbelievable the stories are, and, reputations are actually ruined by these kinds of rumors.)
  • May you explain to us two ways to holy marriage? (No one would own this question so I could figure out what they were asking.)
  • Exodus 20:1-5; Exodus 20:4-5?? (That was all that was written on the slip of paper – my answer was, “Yes.”)
  • (And then there was this one…) Pastor, well done. However, you have a new contact on your phone. (I tried to figure this one out for two days, then finally the interpreter admitted that someone had handed him the note, which was meant for him, and after reading it, he put it on table where the questions were gathered.)

Never a dull moment!