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Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009, out with a bang

From Sipi Falls we took a well-worth-it detour north into Karamoja, the savannah of NE Uganda where cattle-herding, nomadic, historically-violent tribes make their home, as well as a group of OPC missionaries.  One family was our pastor in Virginia before we left for Uganda, and the other family, couple, and assorted singles we have come to know and respect over our years here.  This is a brave and dedicated group, content with small inroads into an ancient culture so different from the rest of Uganda let alone from us, a culture with strength and beauty but marked too often by alcoholism, rape, suspicion, envy, war with raiding rivals from Kenya, and resistance to outsiders.  They have labored to organize agriculture in a way that provides jobs in the chronic poverty, built a clinic that offers high quality and compassionate medical care, preached and taught.  They are writing booklets in the Karamojong language, which helps preserve and dignify the local dialect.  They are good people and faithful servants of God .. but mostly we went just because we really like the missionary team and wanted to spend our New Years' Eve with them.  Between our three families we have 14 kids between the ages of 10 and 20 . . . a pretty fun group.  There was lots of hearty food and drink, a very long game of coming up with songs containing certain obscure words or phrases, and at midnight a showering of confetti from a chinese-made party tube under a full moon while we toasted the New Year.  And after everyone went to bed, we spent the first hour of 2010 with our good friends talking and praying for each other.  A blessed way to end a tough year, and see in one that will stretch us with its transitions and challenges.  God is good.

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