Monday, October 19, 2009
Monday, the launch of a new week, feeling portentous after the rumbling introduction of Sunday's earthquake. On the cell phone with SIL (Wycliffe translation team) by 6:30 to confirm the lack of rain so that their early AIM-Air flight could land by 8 am. Several Americans and Ugandans stretched their legs and smiled tentatively as they climbed out of the the Caravan airplane, glad to be on the solid ground after the cloudy sky. We loaded up 3000 new copies of Acts in Lubwisi and with Pat transported the team to their first venue. There is a translation consultant here for two weeks to check the book of Romans: like our CSB consultants this summer, a mature Ugandan man, not a foreign missionary, who will go chapter by chapter, verse by verse, through the book with our two translators. Also along for just the day, a literacy group following up on the use of an AIDS-prevention story booklet, and another group of Ugandans who will help develop a Lwamba orthography. Yes, the Lubwisi Bible still leaves out a significant minority of Lwamba speakers, so SIL is launching plans for a second translation project! We left all this in Pat's hands and saw patients for a couple of hours . . then back to the airstrip for the arrival of another flight, this one bringing the smiling faces of Dan and Karen Thrush. Dan is a Physician Assistant Student, and his wife is a marriage-and-family-counselor, and we hope they are both potential long-term Africa missionaries in the future . . at least if a few weeks with us does not discourage them too much. We left them in Nathan's capable care, the hospital in Scott Will and Heidi's hands, and then spent much of the rest of the day at the special welcome ceremony for the new Bishop of the Rwenzori Diocese for the Church of Uganda. This occurred in a a semi-outdoor all-day church service with singing and preaching and prayers. I know some of the theology becomes distorted as we hear it from the periphery . . but from the Bishop himself we heard a humble and Biblical message. In fact the theme of weakness came through again, as he said it was not his wisdom or power that enabled him to serve, but the power of Christ in him. And he challenged the assembled hundreds of people to respond to God's grace by presenting themselves, separating from sin, leading transformed lives, that demonstrate the Gospel (Rom 12:1,2). Probably 80% of the congregation stood and came forward for the altar call, which is frequent here as people respond en masse and feel compelled to do so multiple times. From there it was back to the airstrip to pick up the pilot who had spent the rest of the day in Sudan, some interactions with team mates, and dinner. Ran into CSB teachers who had been monitoring exams . . .Monday was also the first day of O-level exams, the all-important month-long 20-some papers of testing that students must complete to graduate from hight school. And our day ended when we heard our dog making strange choking noises about 10 pm, ran outside to find her straining at her chain because she was being attacked by biting ants. THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of them! All over our yard. Scott got out with industrial amounts of ant-killer and did battle. The Kingdom goes forward in outreach, translation, conversions, dedication, health care, schooling . . . but the ants remind us that we're still in enemy territory.