Thursday night – We have finally come forth from close to total blackout since last Saturday. We disappeared into Kaberamaido for several days of ministry, and there was normally no electricity in the entire district during all that time, and certainly no networks available for internet. We have felt like we were in the dark ages, literally. The cause seemed to be lots and lots of rain putting down power poles all over the region, other infrastructure problems, and, according to the people, no one really knows why, but it is often that way with power coming on for only short periods, then going off again. We occasionally got a little light but never any internet. Fortunately, the guesthouse had some solar here and there, so we had dim light at least most of the time at night. We are discovering how dependent we muzungus are on electricity generally and light specifically. It is always startling to discover that most of the world doesn’t enjoy the simple luxury of a light next to the bed or in the bathroom, having light to eat your dinner by at night, or even being able to read yourself to sleep.

Gail getting down with the students under the mango tree…

Tonight we have come to Gulu for four days of meetings in the outlying village areas of Oyam and Omoro. We drove through Oyam just to check it out today on the way in and the roads were classically African, one spot having a water-filled pothole that surely is a world record. To cross it would have required a ferry or a bridge. We had to turn around and go around. Mind you, this was a pothole! It ate up the entire roadbed. The rains here have been constant and heavy, with temperatures that I have never experienced in Uganda, and we didn’t bring jackets. I’m enjoying it, but Gail is cold much of the time. Global warming? No, of course not – it doesn’t exist.

We had a great meeting in Kaberamaido, teaching Soteriology – the doctrine of Salvation. We had a different kind of electricity going off throughout the meetings as lights were going off in people’s eyes – you could see the connections being made. It was truly exciting. No one has apparently ever dealt this thoroughly with the subject with them before. It is part of my commitment to give them some systematic theology, and it seemed mundane when I prepared it, but that is not how they received it. At the end of the meeting, people were coming up and enthusiastically shaking my hand, saying thank you, thank you, thank you.

Apparently, there is much struggle and controversy in the region over grace versus works. The argument was, “If you teach people grace, they think it permits them to sin, so you can never teach that doctrine to the church!” Other challenging ideas were salvation apart from works, and on and on with biblical teachings most of us in the US take for granted. This led to some very deep and interesting discussions as they processed the ideas and the concept of just teaching what the Bible says without playing Holy Spirit for their people. Even the idea of allowing God to convict His own people of sin instead of preaching the law to them was eye-opening.

We are in Gulu tonight, preparing to visit new areas tomorrow where we will be teaching next week.

While all that was going on inside, Gail had the ladies outside under the mango tree, teaching them how to hear God for themselves. When she was finished, they cried out, “You’re now leaving us, after teaching us only this much?” Apparently, Gail is warming to the task of teaching a little. She has always said it is not her ministry and that she is better one on one. But she was telling me that she has to look each one in the eye as she is teaching, involve each one in the class, and at the end has to hug each one personally. She left them clamoring for more. I think she’s got it!