Tuesday, October 28, 2014

America: An African Boy's Perspective Part 6

...i have missed my country this past week quite a lot, but then, i am happy to continue being here for as long as the Lord wills. And long may my blog today be; but i beseech you to patiently journey with my thoughts, as i put them into ink.

I have taken off time to pray, think and meditate so much about my blog post today. I have had uneasy nights; full of tossing here and there, scratching my head, i have had fits of anger; i have asked the Lord several questions and interceded more than i have done with the rest of my other posts. I have come so close to the enemy that i could almost smell him and feel him! Each time my mind has wondered deep into this subject, very fast, i have sensed the battle lines drawing almost immediately and i think, so far, this particular issue, is what is going to separate the sheep from the goats...i am talking about HOMOSEXUALITY/SAME SEX RELATIONS.

How is it in my own country? This is something that i have tried to follow closely in the last couple of years, i have come into contact with some powerful and weak gays in my quest for answers - and some of them, have remained my friends up today. I was deeply touched for the first time when, in May of 2010, a friend and work mate told me about the struggles of his teen friend. He had visited this friend of his, who was living in a big home in our district with his uncle; who was working with a big international organization. As they were chatting, the car horn beeped and his friend rushed out to open the gate. After a few minutes, the uncle and his friend emerged from the front door, the uncle's hands circling the boy's waist as they walked in. The uncle said hi to him and proceeded to his bedroom, with the boy. My friend heard the uncle's voice threatening the boy, he heard him say :"i will kill you if you give me HIV! Who is he?". After a short while, the uncle emerged back to the living room and sat next to my friend. He started touching my friend's hairy legs sensually saying he liked the feel of his legs! My friend was alarmed and shortly requested to leave. When he met his friend afterwards, he urged him to confide in him and the friend told him how his uncle picked him from his poor parents in the village; to take him to school and help pay his fees and started sexually abusing him, threatening to kill him if he ever told anyone. He had problems sitting well because of this repeated abuse. My friend inquired whether this boy had told is parents about this abuse. The boy said his parents laughed off his claims and said there's no way in the world his uncle would do that, instead they told him to keep his mouth shut and not try to discredit and bring his uncle to shame...i had my fists clenched, but my friend couldn't give me more information for fear that the uncle would indeed fulfill his threats of killing the boy if he disclosed his brutality to the public. My own pastor, being a public trainer and counselor told me his own accounts of several abused young people he had gotten to known, some so damaged that they can not defaecate normally because their bowel systems have been destroyed and have had to use diapers like babies. In the news early this year, a mob tried to lynch a group of crooks who were practicing a new wave of sexual abuse, of luring young poor girls from villages to ram-shackled houses where they are paid an equivalent of $40 per month to have anal sexual relations...there are just so many despicable accounts of abuse and the target is always the young, poor people who are promised college education in the US or Europe, promised a good life style, promised heaven on earth and because America is like heaven to many young budding teens, they give in so quickly. As fate would lead, i came into contact with the American Gay ambassador to Africa!  We have had numerous discussions both over the phone and through social media. She tried to lure me as i tried to lure her from the practice. I got juicy proposals from an easy American visa to huge funding for an organization if i started one. And that's where  my trouble with gay activists is: the promise of a good life. I doubt there's a Ugandan who is truly gay, what i have come to know is that because of the rewards involved, many a people look at it as a way out of poverty and indeed, many wicked Ugandans have gained much wealth through the practice. And because the western donor want evidence that one is a practicing gay, the easy people to lure and use into video recorded gay sex are the young and poor, who don't know that they are aiding someone else to accumulate wealth. I must also point out that i have been asked out twice by an old gay guy from Holland who was working with an aide agency in Soroti. I told him NO. The same old guy asked out a friend of mine (one of the most talented footballers we had). Some time last year, this friend of mine confided in me of the spiritual and physical challenges he was facing as a result of sleeping with this old man. I asked him what made him accept and he told me :" I am staying with my girl friend whom i have a daughter with and i can barely pay my rent and take my daughter to kindergarten. This guy promised to take care of all my bills if i said yes to him. He told me it wouldn't hurt because he has excellent lubricants from Europe". But it all turned out to be a lie because now he had serious health complications and was emotionally sick. I led him to Christ and he started attending my Church. After a few months, HE DIED! I  kept saying that could have been me. I had a lot of anger and had tough discussions with Madam Ambassador. I kept telling her what their money was doing in Uganda and she just kept telling me it's the new order. What is surprising is that this lobby is so powerful, she knows the inside information in our governments that few do. She tells me all the secret meetings with top government officials that they have had and can tell me what is going to happen a couple days before it happens and this always drives me nuts! I know there are people who are doing wicked acts just like some of these guys, like rapists, murderers, defilers, etc, but none of them is funded by well structured organizations, none of them has the influence that the gay lobby has, none of them is as powerful as these guys are. And for your information, madam ambassador was previously married and has two daughters from that marriage, but then got divorced and says it never worked because she was created gay. I could go on and on talking about some of the despicable acts of gay abuse. That's why our government passed a tough law with life imprisonment for those who abuse minors and recruit minors into homosexuality. But then America and Europe were incensed with rage, cut off aide, threatened the government and got the law rescinded. They know better, what is good for us more than we do, i guess, but i keep wondering who tells them what is good and bad? who checks them and their power? who aligns them? I hope on that day the Lord will ask them: "Who told you that, that was right?"
Some people have always argued that they are born like that, but then a thief, prostitute, liar, can say the same thing. It's not about how we feel, or hear, but what the word of God says. Our identity is in Christ and in Him alone are we founded. I have lived with two wicked neighbors before. The one who lived in the next door to mine would sleep with a minimum of two ladies a day for at least five days every week and each day at least he had a different lady! He claimed to be a christian, he knew lots of scriptures and some of the ladies he would get them from the churches he attended. Just about 5 meters from my door, was a young girl of about 18 years; a student who could sleep with 3 to 5 men in at least 3 days every week! The only rest coming when she was in her monthly cycles. Both of them claimed they were born that way. I kept witnessing to them and kept inviting them to come to church with me. The man came twice or thrice but the girl kept coming. I also invited her to my cell fellowship meetings and one day i made an altar call during our cell meeting and her hand was up! You should have been there to see the smile on my face! Slowly, she started giving up her old life, she started appreciating the fact that her body belonged to the Lord and was the temple of the Holy Spirit. Is she still doing that today? NO. Is the man still doing it today? Yes, but at least, i tried and i believe that just like this young girl, people with same sex attractions can be helped.

Well, i needed to set the stage with that background so that you can understand the feelings i had before coming here; the cradle of the whole thing. I have had numerous conversations with here with different people about this subject and i have got various responses; from shocking to very good. I have invested a good amount of time reading about homosexuality and the way the church here is handling it. The church in Uganda has a different unified stand on it, they believe in marriage as it was from the days of Adam and Eve and the Anglican Church has cut off ties with it's headquarters in England over the same and i am proud of them. So, what does the Bible say? Jesus re echoed what is written in Genesis when he said: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, "FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH?" (Matthew 19:3-6). The master shows us that the intended marriage is between a male and a female. I am yet to find a single scripture that talks about a same sex union and i would love to be showed one if anyone knows where it is. However, the Holy Book is awash with scriptures that talk against it, just as it's awash with scriptures that talk about other sins as well both in the old and new testaments. I know most of us are already familiar with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and the instruction to the Israelites forbidding homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. However, i have heard several people say it was a thing of the Old Testament. But the New Testament talks about it too together with other sins. In Romans 1:26-28, here is what Paul says in the NASB: "...For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned with their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their in their own persons the due penalty of their error...". Paul continues to mention homosexuality in 1Corinthians 6:9-10 as well as in 1Timothy 1:8-10, just to mention but a few. So why then are some parts of the body of Christ arguing for the church to accept and affirm it? One man of God is said to have said that some parts of the Bible are too old and outdated and inapplicable to our current society. The words of Paul keep echoing in my mind and this actually is the theme scripture of our rural pastors' training school: "The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust to these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also". I keep asking myself, was this part of the things we were entrusted by those before us? are we still in the same path or we are beginning to add our own stuff? are we faithful to the teachings in the scripture? What is going wrong? My pastor has always enunciated that the kingdom of God is not a democracy; it's not a government of the people by the people and for the people. It's not a government where we protest against what we don't like or petition the president over some rights, you follow what the Lord says, or you back out. And now, this makes sense to me. Is our natural environment beginning to affect our spiritual stand points? are some church leaders making some of these decisions for fear of losing their follower-ship? but then, they are not your followers but Christ's! I keep reading how the early church resolved controversial issues; they always gathered and prayed and the Spirit of God always guided and directed them on what to do, they trusted the guidance of the Spirit. Is this still a common practice today? i don't know. Are we beginning to rely more on our intellectual wisdom than the guidance of the Holy Spirit? I would like to meet a pastor or Bishop or Priest who affirms this practice or body that decided about it and look them straight in the eye and ask him/her/them: "is this what the Holy Spirit told you to decide?". Do you think Jesus would stand in the pulpit today and preside over a same sex wedding? Is it a possibility?

One thought that really made me angry is the fact some States have already legalized the adoption of kids by a same sex couple! As i kept thinking about the likely "victims", my eyes kept welling up with tears. These kids will most assuredly come from Africa and some other poor countries. I thanked God for the leadership of our one orphanage in Uganda. I am sure they will never adopt any kid to such couples. Can you imagine the horror in these kids eyes when they find out their parents? Would you want your kids to be raised by a same sex couple? Not mine! And i seldom doubt any of the agitators of this, including the very judges that determined this, would want their kids adopted by these people. What if we were all gay, how would we multiply and subdue the earth? My heart still aches for the kids who are going to end up being adopted by same sex couples because this will most likely be against their wish.
I have read of Colleges and different institutions in America being threatened by the Federal government of grant cuts if they don't embrace homosexuality. And some of these are christian colleges; i am actually well pleased with Gordon College president for standing firm and i hope the Lord will keep him firm to stand for the right truth. So, what is expected of Christians when the government starts to make these grant cuts? Come out and give financial support to these institutions to cover for the cuts. This way, we will encourage these institutions to remain firm.

I know you must be wondering at the degree of my hatred for homosexuals, right? I hope the answer won't startle you. I don't hate any homosexual, that's why i am still friends with madam ambassador and others. I concur with Sam Allberry that Christians ought to love homosexuals more than they are loved by their fellow homosexuals and love them even more than they love homosexuality. The scripture says love covers a multitude of sins. I believe every church should have special programs to reach out to gays, they should be welcomed to church with open arms just as we do with those who commit adultery, fornication and other sins. The church is a collection of people who are not perfect, worshiping a perfect God. However, it's a place where we are perfected for the work of the ministry; that's what the scriptures say. We shouldn't treat these people with suspicion or distantly, but with genuine love and help present a crucified and risen Christ to them and walk with them step by step towards rehabilitation. Should the Church AFFIRM it? I DON'T THINK SO, NEVER!
Should it be the main focus of the church? I don't think so. I think our focus should be the gospel and seeking ways and opportunities of sharing it. There are still vast places in this country like Vermont that need the gospel and i would rather we meet and discuss how to take the gospel there than meeting to debate whether we should affirm homosexuality. I think now is the time for true Christians to stand up and separate from the wolves. As someone reminded me yesterday, the early Christians were persecuted by the Roman government, but they stood firm in their faith and now, it's our turn. What should we do if our churches affirm this practice? My advise would be to seek the guidance of the Lord in prayer and follow whatever He tells you.
I want to encourage all of you to read this wonderful book by Sam Allberry (a pastor who struggled with same sex attraction) titled: Is God anti-gay?. I would love to hear your comments about that book and this post.

I want to leave you with this scripture: "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry..." 2Timothy 4:1-5.

God bless you and keep praying for the future of Christianity and this Nation. Catch you up next week.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A missionary's perspective of being a missionary

We are not on vacation. Though I love showing Ruudy off to all my friends and family, and showing him many beautiful parts of this great country. We're actually trying to do the part of the job that I love the least ...Fundraising... It's the job that's never done, and what makes a 9-5 job seem like a dream sometimes (though picturing myself at a desk from 9-5 makes me laugh)...And through many conversations with our Father, I am convinced that I should be considering it a privilege, a joy, and I just have to trust Him to provide.  Whether I am actually considering it a privilege yet, I'm not sure, but at least life is a journey, and my Father is gracious, and He keeps whispering into my heart the truths I need to hear.
I mean think about it! There are these Godly men and women deep in the villages who are hungering and thirsting for the unadulterated Word of God, and yet have little to no education, and little to no access to such opportunities as the one we offer at Kingdom Life Training Center. So why am I so bothered to try to help get money for such a great thing? I should feel honored to be able to speak out for the voiceless, and serve them in this way. And God knows each one of these guys, He sees each one of them and I'm sure His desire is that they come to know His Word more and more. He wants these guys to come to Kingdom Life Training Center and have access to great biblical teaching. So why do I doubt His ability or desire to provide for such a thing? It is not a surprise to Him that Ruudy and I would get married, change ministries and then have to be in the states at such a time as this. He does not wonder, "now where will I get this money to provide for these guys and this center?" As my friend Jennifer always quotes the psalmist, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills! So what is this post? Is it a rambling of thoughts, an encouragement to myself, or a plea to those who read? Or perhaps all three. Through my ramblings maybe I've encouraged myself enough to make a plea... If you are reading this, God may want to use you to help make Kingdom Life Training Center a blessing to many more church leaders in the villages of Uganda. Pray about it, I know there are so many other ministries that God uses to touch the hearts of His children, but some of you just might be called to walk alongside us in this journey, and have the privilege to partner with us in seeing these hungry church leaders fed the Word of God in a simple and beautiful way. And if that is the case, you can give to us by writing a check to Calvary Life Fellowship, and addressing it to:
Calvary Life Fellowship
Missions: UG - Ruudy & Beckie
PO 1161
Brea, CA 92822

If there's one thing I've learned while in Uganda, it's the power, significance, importance, and awesomeness of prayer. Maybe in my next post I can talk about that. But until then, please be praying for us, for each other, for me to consider fundraising for these guys as the privilege that it is. Not everyone can give, but everyone can pray. Let's move mountains together. The mountains of poverty, lack of education, witchcraft, selfishness, and greed don't stand a chance against the praying body of Christ! Together we can.

Oh yeah, and don't worry faithful Ruudy readers, he will be writing again next week. He has so many more great observations and insights. I'm sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what comes next.
Abiding in His Greater Grace,

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

America: An African Boy's Perspective Part 5.

A lot has happened this last week. Most of the time, as i sat in the car, admiring the beautiful creation, i kept thinking of how privileged i had also become. And i tried not to dwell on the fact that i may never again get to see some of the things and places that i saw while we were driving; but then, that is life.

A dear mother in the Lord had read about my article about Nursing Homes and told us; when we had settled in her house, about her ministry to some of the old ladies in these homes; particularly about her 97 year old friend; Arlene. She told me that if i had wanted to meet this elderly lady, as i had expressed about meeting someone in a nursing home in my earlier blog, she would try to arrange for a meeting the following day. Though my body was not well from the cough and sore throat, i couldn't let this opportunity pass me by. Arlene greatly agreed to meet us. The next day we drove to the parking lot of this beautiful government Nursing Home. It was better than i expected, complete with a bank, salon, cafeteria, theatre, etc. Everything was neat and clean. In my mind, a lot was going on. As we approached Arlene's room (which has a beautiful sight with the window overlooking her flower garden outside), we overheard her telling the someone who had delivered her food about her guests (we!) who were to arrive soon. She had not taken this visit lightly- she had gone down to the hair salon to get her hair worked on; had changed her dressing and was smartly dressed, waiting for us. We wheeled outside to have a talk. I told her, with the help of our host, Nancy, about my life growing up. When i told her i grew up hunting and farming, her eyes lit up with a glow; she beamed: "i grew up a farmer as well!". At least we had one thing in common. She also told us how she grew up. Nancy asked me to tell Arlene how the elders are cared for in my part of the world and i told her what i told you in the last blog. I asked her how it was done here in America when she was younger. She told us it was almost the same as in Uganda. She even told us how she had helped to care for her grand mother who lived with them until she passed on. I asked her about her experience in the Nursing Home (she has lived her past 10 years in two different nursing homes); she paused for some time thinking and was honest enough. She told us how well they are cared for in that place, the nurses are good and kind, they get good meals, they are attended to when they get sick, etc. But then she sighed and blurted out: "but i miss relationships with other people and my independence". There were people she had left behind whom she missed so much. Before we left, i asked her if she had a choice, which system of elder care would she rather choose-the old system or the new one in the Nursing Home. She again thought for a moment and then told us: "i would choose the old one. It's good to be with the people you love and care about". Nancy had told us how Arlene ended up in a nursing home. Her son had built a small extension in his home for Arlene to stay in and be cared for by his family. However, one day Arlene missed a step and fell down. Her son's wife said she did not want Arlene to stay with them, much to Arlene's chagrin, but she was helpless to stop herself from being taken to her first nursing home. Before we left, i felt the urge to say a prayer. I asked Beckie to ask Arlene if it was ok with her for us to pray, she agreed and the four of us held our hands in a circle and prayed, it was beautiful. Afterwards we each took a turn to hug her and left. I turned back after a short walk and there she was, watching us disappear, i could see in her eyes that a lot was going on in her mind. One huge lesson i learnt was to cherish all the relationships that we have with others right now and enjoy our independence and to each day be grateful for these gifts, because one day, just like Arlene, these may turn out to be what we will miss most. After this encounter, i made up my mind, on how i want to finish...

That's quite a lot about Arlene (bless her Lord). Let me say something about divorce. Since i arrived in America, i have heard about this single word more than i have heard in Uganda since the year started. Through numerous conversations, i have heard words like; "her first husband, his first marriage or second, step children, her parents divorced,...etc". People talk about it freely here as if it's just part of life. You hear in conversations people telling each other do you remember so and so? the listener usually says yes or which one before the word is blurted out, "well, they separated or they are going through a divorce". Reasons are always aplenty and so is pity. in my culture, divorce is associated with shame. It happens, but rarely; a lot has to take place before a divorce happens. There's no hiding that women are not treated well in my culture, to some, they are property, bought through bride price. And over 90% of women in villages pride themselves in bringing in dowry to their parents so that their young or elder brothers can use it for marrying themselves a wife. Domestic violence is common, wife beating is common and some women receive the beating positively as a sign of love! Yes, love! They think if your husband doesn't beat you, he doesn't love you and may be has a mistress somewhere. I know some of you (especially my female readers) are already seething with anger at their foolishness. Let's see what the word says:...therefore shall a man leave his after and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJV). ESV says hold fast instead of cleave. I am no expert here, but my question would be, are we cleaving tight enough to each other? are we holding fast? Or are we cleaving/ clinging/ holding fast to other things in place of marriage? Imagine a man who is drowning and then finds a log floating atop the ocean, what do you think this man will do? He will hold tightly onto this log, because his life may as well depend on it. I like looking at marriage like this. If two people realized that this is the only wife/husband for them, there's no other choice or alternative, i think most marriages would survive. But then questions will come; what is he beats me? what is she cheats on me? what if i am abused? what if....?, what if...?, what if...?. As i read more about divorce in this country, there were different statistics. What caught my heart was that over 50% of christian first marriages in this country end up in divorce, over 60% of second marriages and over 70% of third marriages end up in divorce! of course other stats had it slightly lower with first marriages at 40% divorce rate. What is even more annoying is that christians divorce more than atheists and agnostics! One pastor was quoted as saying it was a tough call trying to save marriages since most of the congregations think it's always an option, not a no go zone! I wonder how conflicts in marriage are resolved here but in my culture; if there was a conflict between the couple, the man's parents (since they would always be the nearest ones) would try to sit the couple down and resolve it. If the wife isn't satisfied, she will tie a few of her things and go back to their home. After a few days, most husbands will travel to go and reclaim her. The woman's brothers and parents would then put the husband to task (some times he may even be beaten) to explain unbecoming behavior. After things are sorted out, the man will carry his wife on his bicycle or motorcycle and take her back home and life continues. The man would be warned against doing the same. Usually divorce is not discussed as an option, rather reconciliation is. If the couple were to divorce, there is a lot of shame on both families and some times, people are scared away from marrying from such a family that is soiled by divorce. People would think both sets of parents did not do a great job bringing up their children in family values and if marriages lasted longer without problems, then the families are praised and many people would want to marry from that family- because kids are/were raised properly. How about christians? My pastor likes saying that "the marriage certificate you signed when you got married didn't have an expiry date". And since we say for better or worse, in sickness and in health...why then run away when the worse showed up? This reminds me of a lady who once told us that she likes to tell all the worst things about her to everyone who desires to be her friend. And then they will have to choose whether to continue being her friend or not. She said this is usually to prepare them so that the day they hear the worst things about her, there would be no surprise! Peter asked Jesus how many times he ought to forgive and the master's reply startled him: "70 times 7 times in a day". One would have to be a devil himself to wrong you 70 times 7 times a day and you would also have to be a devil to remember all these 70 times 7 times worth of wrongs! And the scriptures also say that perfect love casts out all fear and love covers a multitude of sins. I know we all hurt each other in marriage; sometimes our hurts are so deep to bear, every divorce has justifiable reasons for its occurrence, but we can choose to live above and beyond these incidents. I think of these African women who endure and forgive their husbands, sometimes for the sake of their children, their parents, their husbands' shame, among others. Usually in the latter years of their marriages, the couples tend to work things out, and then they begin to love and cling to each other; my own grandfather still kept asking for forgiveness from my grandma for mistreating her and going out with other women when he used to work. They loved each other so much, he always called her "toto" (mommy) and she called him papa. Imagine how many people Christ would be divorcing each minute if he considered ways in which we hurt him and keep nailing him back on the cross with our actions!
Today, we also want everything to happen and move so fast; since we are surrounded with fast things. We want fast forgiveness, fast changes in our partners, fast answers, and we want God to be fast as well in answering our prayers. In my country, young educated people look up to America for almost everything. And lo, they copy almost everything that is done here whether good or bad, they think life is lived best in America. Among graduates today, divorce is on the rise, and so is gay relationships, and also other positive things that happen here. As i wind up this subject, i would like to share with you a quote from my pastor: "True christianity is practiced in a marriage, by married people".

That is already too much. I will push my thoughts on gay relations and others to next week. Hope you had a good read and don't hesitate to give me your feed back. May the Lord bless and sustain you this week. May His will continue to be seen in you and through you, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.
Your Brother in Christ,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

America: An African Boy's Perspective part 4.

Today, i want to start by thanking all those who have been reading my blog posts; thank you for your comments and encouragement.
We’ve spent last week on the road and will probably spend this one as well. But lo, it has been a very beautiful adventure. Seeing the country side has been refreshing. In fact, some of the scenery reminded me of home-Uganda. In Uganda, our trees mostly turn their leaves to yellow before they shade them off during the dry season. But here, it has been fascinating seeing trees turn to different beautiful colors: yellow, red, orange, etc. This is the part of America that is not reflected so much where i come from; people think it’s all about tall buildings, big factories, nice houses and a good life. If i was ever to live in America, i would probably stay in the country; i feel it’s more quieter there and peaceful.

I enjoyed the tour of Boston, given to us, by our kind hosts Josh and Liz (they went to the same College with Beckie). I never thought it was awash with tourists as i saw. Having already been to lake Michigan, it was nice to be at the atlantic ocean as well. Hopefully, i will touch the pacific ocean too, some day. While in Boston, Josh and Liz invited us to their church (First Presbyterian Church); which by the way supports us, for an international potluck on saturday. We regretted not carrying our own atap (cassava and millet flour) from Michigan. However, at the potluck, Beckie glanced them first and then told me that omena (minnows) was on one of the tables. In Uganda, most expats cook this with maize (corn flour) bread for their dogs. However, growing up, this was the most affordable diet in the villages and kids would be very happy the day their mothers are cooking some of it. A sister from Malawi (bless her Lord), had prepared it and she was standing from a distance looking for the brave ones who would eat! She was glad Beckie and i served some. I actually carried the reminder to eat the next day, which she gladly packed for me. She told me they flew it all the way from Africa! The dinner was very interesting with foods from almost all continents. The people were very warm towards us and the congregation was mixed with people from different races and ages. They gave us an opportunity to talk-generally, we enjoyed our time there. It was also nice to see Beckie’s former college and meet some of her former professors and her coach in Vermont.

Let me divulge into something that has got me thinking a little bit. I had read and heard about this before, but had never taken keen interest and thought in it—The nursing homes. Where i come from, the youngest son’s responsibility is to take care of his aging parents until they died. The rest of the children are given their share of the land which they then move to after they get married. However, the younger one and his wife would stay in the same compound with their parents to take care of them during their old age. The youngest son would inherit the land that belonged to his parents on top of his share. Some times though, the parents would choose another son if the youngest was deemed not fit for the task. Grand parents’ main work in their later years would be to entertain their grand and great grand kids with stories (mostly around the fire in the evenings) and provide counsel on several issues. Their opinions are highly regarded and they felt very important. They also help take care of their grand kids as their parents go to the garden and always had special delicacies that they would prepare during family special occassions  Here however (and pardon me if i am wrong here), they go to the old people’s homes when they reach a certain age. And before that, their kids grow up and leave them alone; they go and start their own families and visit occasionally—some even stay in distant states. I know this is part of the norm here, but, the thought of it was scary; it made me not want to grow old here. I found myself thinking deeply about it and it’s something that i will want to get more information and knowledge about, and if it were possible, hear the experience of someone living in one of these homes.

Another remarkable thing i have noticed this week (again, i don't know whether it’s always the case), is how students seem to establish a close and deep relationships with their teachers (professors). I have a great relationship with some of my former teachers; but i was one of a kind. My wife and her friends seem to have a great time with their former professors. Some of her High School teachers were very excited to see her (and me!) when we went to Catholic Central High School in Grand Rapids). It was the same story at Gordon College—in fact, even more. Professor Kelly exhibited a very high level of happiness when we visited her house. I couldn't believe she was that excited to see two of her former students and their spouses and child. It’s uncommon in Uganda to witness what i did. Likewise was Professor Coleman. But then, i also later thought that may be this was down to the ratio of teacher to student here. Our classes can be as high as 200 students to 1 teacher. At the University, there was a class where we were over 700 students to 1 Lecturer! Surely it becomes difficult for the poor teachers to remember and be in touch with most of their form we students. What was unique about this however, is the fact that these guys were there over 5 years ago! If it’s a common phenomenon, then it’s a very unique one!

Next week, i will weigh in my views and rant a little bit about somethings that may step on a few people’s toes; and i know i may not have the audacity to opine about them, but it will purely be my thoughts and perspective about these contentious issues—Divorce and same sex marriage. They are probably two contentious and touchy issues i have heard about since i came here.
May the peace of the Lord garrison you this week and may he keep you in health this week, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Till next week,