There is seldom a boring moment, let alone a boring day, on the mission field here in Uganda. Both successes and challenges make the time fly by each day. Most of the challenges turn out to be successes as we lift them up to the Lord in prayer and follow his leading as He shows us the way to overcome them.
One challenge came during the trip out to the Alito church, on muddy roads, under construction, across a swampy area. The 1994 Toyota slid into a water-filled ditch as we avoided several piles of gravel. No problem, the Toyota has 4-wheel drive. Unfortunately, this was the first time we had needed it since purchasing the car and it was not working. No problem, our friend Dr. Opio was taking a team of people in his van too, and had 4-wheel drive and we had straps, chains and a come-along to attach the two vehicles. Unfortunately, the ditch was deep and long and we were dragged almost to the end of it, but then were deeply mired in the muck. No problem, God was with us, and we prayed for His help which came in the form of about 15 strong young men who pulled the Toyota by the roof rack, so the Toyota practically leaped out of the ditch as Dr. Opio pulled it forward! There must have been a band of angels there with the men, as it just couldn’t have happened naturally. We have photos and videos documenting it all.
When you experience God’s miraculous answers to prayers, it fills you with awe and joy! All of us went on our way rejoicing – even the muddy men who helped as they experienced God’s power and also received some thank you shillings for their assistance.
The challenging trial this week was a loss of city water for the entire Lira area for three days. Lines for the pumps at the deep wells grew to sometimes half a kilometer long, and there were desperate people fighting for water. In our compound, there is an old hole well that was dug by the Ugandan Army.
The Army took over this house and compound for their headquarters during the 20-year war with Joseph Kony. The pump was broken and had been removed, but no problem, Keith had made a hand pump in 2014 out of PVC pipe, the sidewall of a tire and a marble! He inserted it into the hole and we started taking turns pumping. Unfortunately, there was a great deal of sand that came up with the water so it was fit only for flushing the toilets, and when the sand settled out, could be used for bathing.
So we prayed and thanked God for the water crisis, knowing that He would bring good out of it. Later that day, our house girl, Lucy, excitedly came and said that the water coming from the well no longer had sand in it, and was crystal clear, tasting fresh and delicious. We all tasted it, and it was! Many times in the last three years since we have been in this house, we have been without water and have pumped water from that well with that same pump, without ever having clear water. We know it is God’s most recent gift to us. We will continue to use it for our drinking water – far better tasting than the lake water we’ve been drinking for three years. We’ll still boil it – water borne diseases are not the challenge any of us want to face.
We want to leave you with an encouraging story from the village of Chawente, in N. Uganda: 34 year old Anna Obwal so wanted to join the Learning to Read to Read the Bible classes that started in her village through the Hands Across Nations Teacher Training. Her husband, Obwol, called her foolish and didn’t want her to go, saying she was too old, that learning to read is for children, and the teachers would cheat the people buying books; they would “eat” the money given for the books. It did take some time for the books to be delivered, but she found that for her 2,000 shillings (63 cents) she received first of all, a brand new book! It had a full teacher’s manual in it, and 30 lessons with scriptures and prayers written at the end of the book. Many of the village women were determined to learn to read, so they signed up for class and each class day quickly finished all their daily chores and would run to class.
They made sure the teacher taught the lesson “fast” so they could run home to finish their work and their husbands would not regret their going to class. After a number of weeks, Anna took her primer and her writing notebook home and asked her family members to read them. Not one of her relatives were able to read her books! They were the ones who had despised her for going to class, she said.
Obwal, her husband, now wants to learn to read, but Anna’s class is currently in Primer 2, having completed the first 30 lessons. Anna says she will teach him and “catch him up.” He confessed to the class and to our lead trainer, saying, “I am the one who was the fool.” This type of story is repeated in many villages, which gives us hope for the future of these communities and families.
Things can sometimes look grim from our perspective, but God is good and will show us the way through them.
Sharing the love of Christ in practical ways, Keith and Carolyn Jones, Hands Across Nations You may contact Keith and Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Jean Homer at firstname.lastname@example.org and Stan Chambers at email@example.com.
-Submitted by Carolyn Jones, Hands Across Nations