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February 15, 2019
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Tuesday morning

Jul 10 2018

Tuesday morning. I stayed back at the house this morning while Sue and Rose have gone over to the children's home. I woke with a headache and knew I wouldn't be good for anyone, although I'm a bit better now. This afternoon I should be fine.

On Sunday we went to a church here in Kampala. It was housed in a large tent with open sides that looked like they could close in bad weather. We went with our American neighbors, Simon our security guard, Joseph's wife Gladys and their kids, and five teenage girls who are the oldest of the Agape kids from the other home. First, I need to say that Rose and the teens really hit it off. What is it about young people that all they need in common to make friends is that they're young people? These girls are in school Monday though Saturday, so there won't be a lot of opportunities to interact, but I do hope there are more. Watching them laugh as Rose taught them ballet was a highlight of my day. At one point after the service (we hung out for over an hour after church before ever leaving) the pastors wife introduced herself. Meanwhile, Rose and the five Ugandan girls were standing in a circle talking and laughing. I said, "I'm Richard, this is my wife ,Sue, and that's our daughter, Rose... the one in the blue skirt." As soon as I said it, it occurred to me that she probably didn't need a hint to figure out which one was ours.

There is something fascinating but not necessarily frightening about being in the minority. I've noticed this when we've done other trips to South America and the Indian reservation. But it is hard to be a minority. We think differently than the people around us, and we often come across as, I imagine, really stupid. We don't know whether to put the hot sauce on the rice and gee nut sauce on the boiled bananas or vice versa. When we had supper at Joseph's house, the food was set out on a rather low table. Instead of bending over, Rose knelt down to fill her plate and Gladys complimented her on doing it the Ugandan way. So, when I went for seconds, I knelt too, only to be told that men should never kneel down to serve their food. Worst of all, I am a high strung American who always wants details: what we will be doing next and how I can help in any given moment. I wonder if I'm coming across as overbearing? And then I think of the brave immigrants and refugees who have come, and are coming, to America, not for a month but forever. What assumptions do we make about them that are really just the result of their being in a completely new world?

Back to the church service now, the music was loud and joyful, the preaching spot on, and the people, as they always seem to be in Uganda, warm and welcoming. The biggest difference I noticed between this congregation and congregations in Maine and New Hampshire (and we visit a lot of congregations in New England in the course of a year) is who was present. The people in attendance were primarily young families as opposed to our aging churches at home, and there was roughly the same number of men as there were women. I can't remember the last American church I've seen that wasn't noticeably more female than male.

The other day, Joseph said, "People in America will send money, but very few are willing to come." Remembering the expense of our trip, and all the people back home who supported us financially, I asked him, "What's the benefit of Americans actually coming over?" Immediately he said, "We need you to tell the story. People will believe you because you were here. You've seen the ministry and met the children. By you going home and telling the story and showing the pictures, they will feel like they are connected to us as well." There's a prideful part of me that wanted to hear,"You're such a skilled juggler, we really need you here." or "You know so much more about educating children" or "families like yours are such a great example to us." But no, the major goal is to participate as co-laborers with our fellow believers here, then tell the story. Although it's only been a week since we left, I look forward to sharing the story when we return, and ask that you consider giving us that opportunity, whether at your church or school or in your living room over a cup of coffee: Ugandan coffee, of course.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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