Note: If you have come to my blog to follow my Uganda trip this is the second of two posts. You may want to start with the one preceding this.
21 June, 2009
Today was a very long day! We arrived in Amsterdam early in the morning, with three hours to wait for the next flight. I was so tired of sitting that I walked circles around the automatic walkways for three hours. It felt good to move, even though I was tired from lack of sleep.
Denise and I were seated together for our next flight, and what a rough one it was! We were served two meals and two snacks, but who can eat on a roller coaster ride? The passengers erupted into applause when the plane finally landed at Entebbe. (Many eruptions of a different nature had occurred before that time!)
It was late in the evening when we arrived, and of course we had to go through immigration and then collect our bags. Each of us had between three and five bags, plus a carry-on and a purse! Just outside the baggage claim area Pastor Ruth awaited us with her entourage and many open arms: Sanon, Saphan and Alex, and George. Our bags were loaded into two vans and we began our trek through Entebbe to the guest house.
Vehicles travel on the opposite side of the road in Uganda, so that was an immediate adjustment in thinking. Since Pastor Ruth occupied what we in the U.S. would consider the driver’s seat, I fought panic each time she turned around to talk to us. Although it was nearly 9:30 p.m. (their time) the road was buzzing with activity –pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles, vans, and cars. It was all a bit much to take in, in my sleep-deprived state.
Soon we left the main road and began bouncing down side streets toward our guest house. I have never seen such cavernous potholes! After many bumps and turns we soon came to a gated home. We had arrived at Stephen and Mary’s guest house. All of our bags were carried inside for the night, filling a hallway. Mary had a meal prepared for us: chicken, rice, cabbage, brown nut sauce (which tastes like peanut butter, but is poured over the rice), and pineapple.
We learned that Stephen is a music minister, who writes music and leads a traveling worship team. He and Mary started the guest house because they have so often been on the receiving end of hospitality and wanted to be able to “pay back” to other believers. Their home is very nice and comfortable, and includes several bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Saphan and Alex are a couple who recently lost a two year old daughter to cancer. Saphan was serving as a soldier with the Ugandan army in Iraq at the time and received materials from Jan through Heart of God International’s soldier ministry by way of a U.S. chaplain. When he learned that our Heart of God Int’l team was visiting Uganda, he was determined to meet us.
As we all visited and shared a meal around the table we felt such kinship. It seemed as though we were all old friends. Pastor Ruth summed it up by saying, “The body of Christ is spread throughout the entire world, so it should not be surprising to find that no matter where you go you have family.” It’s not that I’ve never considered that fact before. I’ve just never experienced it quite like this. Besides, it is obvious that Pastor Ruth has a way with words. Her accent is beautiful, her voice low and resonating like a cello, and she frequently ends her sentences with “mmmmm,” for emphasis, like a noble story teller.
We have now retreated to our bedroom. The windows are barred, but not screened, so we are thankful for the mosquito netting provided. Denise and I will share a bed, and I doubt either of us will find it difficult to sleep. God has been so gracious in providing this lovely home for our first night’s stay, and for demonstrating to us so clearly the bond of Christian brother and sisterhood.