A Week of Firsts

It’s been an interesting week in Gulu. The electricity in my house was out for a week.  I had solar power from about 9am-5:30pm but I could not run the fan…only the refrigerator and computer and nothing else.  The fridge was without power every night so I had to throw some things out.  I had to make sure my solar lamp was charged daily so I could have light at night. I just carried it around with me from room to room. By about the 5th day of this I found myself becoming really irritable.  Life is so much harder without electricity…and many people here do not have it at all.  Then one day the water was off. Oh, the trials of a first worlder.  When the lights came back last night I was doing the happy dance.  My mood lifted immediately.  I was also dealing with intestinal issues this past weekend, plus I found bugs in my favorite crackers.  I got a huge blister between my big toe and second toe on my left foot which made walking in flip flops a bit challenging. Just a few highlights of the week which really got to me for some reason.  But…it’s a new day!  Onward and upward.

Preaching at Cathedral

First Time Preaching in Uganda. Left to right: Rev. Sandra, Rev. Necolyn, Elizabeth, Pamela and Rev. Canon Odora

Last Sunday I preached my first official sermon in Africa. I was invited to preach at St. Philip’s Cathedral.  It was fun.  I hope it was culturally relevant.  I’m still learning which English words or American idioms may not be understood by the people.  But I enjoyed it thoroughly and I hope and pray the Word was received.  I look forward to more preaching in the future.

For the next six weeks I am without my Ugandan mentor, Rev. Sandra Earixson. She is the American principal of Janani Luwum Theological College.  She has been my guide for the last four months.  I don’t know what I would have done without her…except now I’m about to find out. She is visiting the UK and US. This will my first time flying solo at the Diocese without a fellow white person…except for Phoebe, the Australian who is helping to teach English four days a week but she is not around that much.  I think I’m ready.  I have many projects to work on and I am feeling like one of the staff now. Rev. Willie watches out for me too.  I have many friends so it should be okay. ;>)

I have been named the official Bursar of the college. This is my first official week on the job.  Although I completed putting the bookkeeping on Quickbooks a few weeks ago, I was not doing the day to day accounting operations.  Now I am.  Of course without Sandra here I suddenly have a million questions, it seems. Leah, the bookkeeper at the Diocese has been very helpful.  She’s going to be a good friend.

Today was a big day for me. I got up my courage to actually drive in Uganda.  My first time behind the wheel in four months.  Sandra left her vehicle for me use and also for any needs that might arise at the college.  I was going to ask someone to drive me around but this morning I just decided that I had to get over the fear.  I’ve driven on the left side of the road before so that is not a problem for me.  It’s the fact that there seems to be no traffic rules and there are motorcycles everywhere.  Here they are called bodas.  It’s how people get around…they use a boda taxi.  They dart in and out of traffic and my fear is that I will hit one.  Of course there are pedestrians everywhere and the roads are bad.  So I just bit the bullet, got behind the wheel and drove myself to the college.  It was a short distance on an easy road.  Easy peasy.  Then I had to go to the bank on college business.  I decided I would be bold and drive into town.  Rev. Jane went with me for moral support.  I did just fine.  Like a pro.  It felt so good to drive again…I was almost giddy the rest of the day.  Sandra has generously offered to share her vehicle with me if I ever need to go to town.  This is a big deal.  A vehicle offers a kind of freedom I have missed.

Otherwise, things are moving along. I’m still seeing a language tutor twice a week but I’m finding it difficult to learn Acholi. I’ll keep at it and hope that something will click soon and I’ll just start speaking fluently.  (LOL)  That will be the day pigs fly!  At least I’m trying.   The weeks are flying by and I find myself thinking about Christmas break…and mostly dreaming of food, carpet under my feet, hot showers and a comfy bed.  But for the most part I am amazed at the grace the Lord has given me to be here.  Of course, I pray daily for all that is happening in the world.  As I have shared before, being so far from home when this war with ISIS and other Islamic Extremist is escalating has been a bit stressful but I am feeling much more at peace now.  I know there are many people praying for me and for that I am very grateful.

Praying for the homeland.  Stay safe.


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3 Responses to A Week of Firsts

  1. Paul Cooper says:

    Hi Elizabeth, So glad to see you continuing to become independent and confident. I remember losing power in Mexico – you are right, it is a drag. We are so spoiled. Remember reading “One Second After”. the story about the EMP attack and the collapse of society. You will be much better prepared than most to handle it.

    I’m proud of you handling all of the challenges of being in the mission field and still being upbeat and positive. Praying that God uses you in a mighty way to bring the Good News to Uganda.

    We had a great Kairos weekend depsite the entire facility being locked down. We were fortunate that the warden decided to let the Kairos candiates continue to attend the weekend. Get this – they had 2 guys cut the steel bars of their window, tie sheets together and scale down the wall, cut through the secondary fence and were at the base of the outermost fence receiving contraband packages from accomplices outside the fence. They got caught and caused the entire prison to be locked down. Those guys have a lot of time on their hands. It is just amazing! But we had some major breakthroughs with some of the men who particpated. I pray that it sticks and they find peace in what is a real hell hole.

    much love in Christ, Pablo

  2. Carl and Gill Green says:

    Isn’t it awesome to see that God gives you His amazing grace and strength to go through such an challenging week. 🙂 A few months ago we wouldn’t have thought it was possible to rejoice with all these issues, and now you are mounting up with eagles wings and soaring over the trials. What a mighty God we serve! Praying for you daily and sending love, and blessings.

  3. Brad Dean says:

    Elizabeth – you remain in my prayers. God is definitely working through you! I’m curious – what was the topic of your first sermon?


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