Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Day Off?!?

Today, Saturday, was a day off for us. That means that the Academy was not in session. We did do some things though. Some of it was just for fun (and education) other parts were research for possible future trips. We started the day by driving to the town of Jinja. It took us about 90 minutes to get there. The ride was beautiful. We drove through a forest and past sugar cane and tea plantations.

When we got to Jinja we traveled to Bajaguli Falls. This is just a remarkable place on the River Nile. It is a long series of rapids, white water and islands. At first we just stood and watched God's beauty, and then we noticed kayakers and rafters running down the river. That made us watch even longer. No one on our team was bold enough to try it.

Upon leaving there we met up with Julius, the Jinja District Superintendent. He took us to his home and introduced us to his family. It is safe to say that his home is below standards for adequate parsonage in Indiana. It had about four rooms (very small) and a dirt floor. The walls were made from mud. He invited us in and we were able to pray that God's blessings would be on his house, his family and his ministry. Julius also took us to visit some members of his congregation. What an eye-opening experience for all of us.

Next we traveled to a vacant lot that the United Methodist Church owns. In the future it will be the site of a church building. We are exploring ways that UMs in Indiana can participate in the building of this church. It is a lovely location high on a hill overlooking Lake Victoria. We also visited with Isaac, another UM Pastor. Isaac's congregation of about 100 is losing their lease and has to move. He showed us where they are going. All they have at the new location is the start of a hole for their latrine. That hole (pit) seemed to go down forever. It made us all a little nervous when we got too close.

For lunch we traveled to the Triangle Hotel overlooking Lake Victoria. The view was breathtaking. We saw birds there that you cannot imagine. The most dramatic was probably the stork. In addition, there were dozens of fruit bats living in the palm trees between the hotel and the lake. Not all of the bats slept during the day. We saw several (and they were pretty large) flying around.

Lunch itself was interesting as well. We had a choice between talapia and chicken. Those that chose the fish were greeted with a very large, staring, smiling fish. Those who chose the chicken thought that they might be consuming some of the fruit bats from outside. The consensus was that the fish was very good, but the chicken was not.

Before we left Ninja we went to the site known as the source of the River Nile. The Nile begins at Lake Victoria. While we were there we enjoyed the cool breeze and caught a brief glimpse of a wedding. Adjacent to the Nile attraction there is a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Apparently his ashes were sprinkled in the Nile and the statue commemorates that event.

Tomorrow we are preaching in five different churches in the area. Since we do not speak Luganda, we will have to use interpreters. This should be an interesting, but great experience. In the afternoon we are scheduled to have a conference with the Bishop. It should be a good thing as we discuss future plans and the direction of the Uganda Bible Academy.

Pray for us. We have reached the halfway point of our mission. So far everyone is in good spirits. We have all taken turns being a little sick, but so far nothing serious. Pray that God will work in us and keep us help.

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