What a wild time we had this week! We traveled to Amudat, Uganda for a pastor’s conference. The village was so excited when we arrived. They appreciate and love hearing the Word of God and frequently jump and sing in celebration.
We were given a “hut” to stay in, with all the accommodations possible. Most of the people there slept on the ground at night with just a blanket over them and it was cold and damp. Their desire to be there was stronger than that of comfort. We were blessed with shelter, cots and mosquito nets.
The first afternoon, there were 3 pastors preaching, then lunch, then more preaching, then tea, more time for rest and then the preaching started again. After a late dinner, we had one more service. It was a long day, the first of several, but the crowd was growing.
The villagers there were previously involved in witchcraft. They live at the bottom of Mt. Garam which is known for harboring witches and warlocks. The people have just recently heard the Gospel and the numbers are increasing. In the beginning of the conference, mostly women were attending because of their husbands needing to watch their cattle, sheep and goats. Cattle rustling is a huge problem and the herds can’t be left unattended. But the number of men increased continually which probably meant their children were left behind to guard the animals.
These people are sweet, gentle and generous. Until recently, there was constant war in the area until a Pokot pastor from Kenya traveled there to visit. One of the elders told us that we were sitting on what was once a battlefield where death was frequent. It was amazing to think of what had happened at that site and what was now happening.
The next days were a repeat of the first one. Lots of preaching and lots of eating. Each morning we were greeted with either milk tea or black tea and mandazis. Lunch was usually beans and rice. Dinner was ugali, cabbage and frequently, goat liver or roasted goat. I did pass on the goat although Coney enjoyed it.
Music is such a huge part of the services and since we were camped on loose, silty dirt, the jumping and dancing caused a constant dust cloud. Every item I took is covered with dust. When we arrived home and I washed my hair, it looked like a muddy stream going down the drain.
Living in somewhat primitive conditions makes people creative. With no speaker stands, they used what they could. A generator kept things hopping.
The cooks for almost 500 people rose early each day to start the cooking fires and breakfast. They also cleaned the floor of our huts, washed our clothes (I thought someone had stolen mine) and took great care of us. I handed out earrings to all of them, thanks to Lori Bon and Hana Caric. You would have thought they won the lottery! They were thrilled and appreciative. Here are just a few of them.
As it came time to leave, they brought out the gifts. We had provided all the food for the conference, feeding all those 500 villagers for 4 days. They were happy, grateful and wanted to express it.
This was one of the gifts.
I generously gave my chicken to the boy’s home. Hard to do, but I sacrificed!
Then they brought out the gourds full of yogurt.
Beautiful gifts of appreciation. The yogurt isn’t made by Dannon and it looks like very lumpy buttermilk. They grind up the bark of a tree in the processing of it. Again, I passed.
It was especially hard to leave everyone. They gathered around the vehicles when they saw us packing. Although we could communicate with hardly any of them, you don’t need language to connect. They knew why we had come and they were thankful.
We will return next year.
Kwaheri from Uganda,