Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Bribery works - God forgive

Hello from Uganda,

Right to the point: We got stopped by the police again.

He came sauntering up to my window. I stuck my hand out to greet him and ask how his day had been. Then I commented that his police helmet must really be hot. He said it was, but that he was a boda-motorcycle cop so he had to wear it. Then he continued 'whining' and told me his uniform was also hot, that other police get to wear white uniforms. I sympathized all I could. Eventually, after I felt we were close to becoming friends (ha) - he asked my driver for his license. Unfortunately, Emmanuel only had a copy of his license. Actually, he lied to the police and said the original was in his office. Later, he told me someone stole it - so who knows. The police asked who he worked for and he said Namirembe Guest House. Since it is run by Anglicans, the policeman asked him who the bishop was at Namirembe Cathedral. Emmanuel, who is not an Anglican, didn't know. Next, the policeman asked him to show him some religious material. Emmanuel didn't have any. I grabbed my new Bible to show him I had something religious. Then I asked him if he was a Christian. He assured me he was. So I asked him a couple more times if he was really sure. Definitely, he said! He then started admiring my Bible. I had to decide - another ticket or the Bible ... not that I would really use a Bible for bribery. Just call it 'sharing' the word of God. It worked. He was happy with the Bible, referring to it as our weapon of spiritual warfare. We were on our way - after the policeman assured me he would spend much time reading. At this rate, we will get stopped again, so I need to work on something else to donate to the Ugandan police department. :)

Moses, the principal of Wambwa School was discussing the age children were to start school. He said it was supposed to be six, but all the parents of five-year-olds show up telling him their kids are smart, already knowing everything, and should be able to attend school. He said there are then two ways to identify those that are ready for school:
First, the child must be able to reach across his head with his hand and grab his other ear.
Second, he must already be losing his 'milk' teeth.
** I thought I would pass that on to Jan, my principal, in case she wants to follow those guidelines for our new kindergartners.

On the 6th and 7th, the team returned to check the libraries in Mbale at Wambwa, Namakwakwa, North Roads, and Namatala Primaries, plus Mbale Secondary and Mbale High School. We were busy people. The librarians at the two new elementaries are amazing! Hajera from Wambwa was busy teaching all types of lessons on the arrangements of books, the different types of books, etc. She had this written all over the chalkboard. They had had a library ten days - and classes had already come to the library twice. Wow! The Namakwakwa librarian, Betty, is going to be just as good. Of course, they don't have 3,000 to 4,000 students like Namatala and North Roads. Those librarians I have sympathy for! It was funny at Mbale HS, the librarian thought people were to use shelf markers to mark the spot for the books they took - and the shelf marker would remain on the shelf until the book was returned in two weeks! She had markers everywhere. Deborah is from the village and doesn't speak or understand English real well. I did arrange for Hajera to go to the high school and train Deborah, plus the staff and students. I have to always remember that they have never had a library. It is like learning a foreign language for them.

In the evening on the 7th, we split up in pairs and attended home Bible study groups with Wilber's church members. Connie and my group was large (perhaps 15 or more people). They arrived and visited a bit, sounding just like Americans. Many said their days were too busy. One lady started talking about receiving a computer scam email telling her that one of her co-workers was stranded in another country and needed money. She blamed the email on Nigerians. We had hot tea and groundnuts - which are somewhat like peanuts. It was a good evening as we studied about seeking the kingdom of God.

Wilber has been sick the last few days with malaria. He gets it because he stays on the front porch late at night praying and then gets up early (and sometimes in the night) to pray some more. Since he doesn't use deet - the mosquitoes attack. I arrived home to find him on the couch with an IV hooked up, the bag of liquid hung over a lightbulb above the couch. He had declined going to the hospital, so a nurse from his church had come over and hooked up the mixture of glucose and malaria fighting liquid. She had to prick him twice to get the needle in his vein. She said it was because he had too much blood. After the needle was in, she removed it and left a small piece of plastic in his hand, which the fluid flowed through. Brave Sarah changed it out in the night! Cheers for her. I told Wilber he now owed her his life. :) He was much better today.

Wilberforce does a 30-minute radio broadcast evey day from 1:00 - 1:30. On the 6th, he had the whole team in the studio and asked them questions, such as, "What part did God play in your coming to Uganda?" On the 7th, he was too sick to do the broadcast - so I did it ... after much prayer and study. I spoke on 1 Peter 4:10 & 11, and Eph. 2:10, which speaks of using the gifts God has given us to serve others, throwing in that the 1st Commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart. Serving others follows that - not to be reversed. So there you have it: Madame Marshall, the radio preacher ... I'm sure my daughters are laughing! Wilber and Sarah were quite proud and suggested that now I would be speaking at Pearl Haven. I think my librarian duties keep me quite busy enough. I'll leave the preaching to Pastor Okumu, who blesses my heart every time with his sermons!

Today, the 8th, the team left Mbale for Kampala. The ladies were totally in tears after saying goodbye to Wilber and Sarah. Most have now been to Uganda two or three times, so have formed a close relationships with them. Also, John Mary, one of the young Ugandan men our volunteers have paid fees for at the university, came to say goodbye, as well. The volunteers for the last two years have come to love and respect John. He has finished his law degree, but still has three 3-month terms to go. He now must attach himself to the Legal Counselors office in Kampala - spending time in courtrooms and learning to write briefs. We are all proud of his determination. His mother (a widow) has ten children in her care, many of them orphans from the extended family. John has always helped with the kids, so it is difficult for him to move to Kampala to finish his bar requirements.

I hope all is well in America. We are having a good time with lots of fun, great evening devotions, and lots accomplished.

We will be traveling the next couple days, as we go on safari. Please keep us in your prayers once more!


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