Praise God! He is able! I find myself writing today at the home of Paul and Jean McFate in Tororo, Uganda, our new hometown. After a few days of family gatherings and tearful goodbyes, we set off for the airport last Tuesday morning at 5:15am. After a lengthy check-in (because of all our excess bags), we boarded the 7 hour flight to London. Not far into the journey Hadassah developed a fever and started to get sick. She slept most of the way after that and when we arrived we had to run to the next 8+ hour flight. Upon arriving we discovered that the airline had misplaced 7 of our 13 bags so we waited at the desk to file a claim. I realized immediately that Africa runs at a much slower pace than the west. There is a lot of waiting and looking around before anything gets done. God is going to teach me patience! We spent the following 3 days at the home of Ron and Shirley DeVore who have a lovely guesthouse right outside of the capital city of Kampala. We would spent the day out in the city shopping and going through immigration, then our evenings at there home in good company. We had so much to accomplish and it all had to be done in a couple of days because we had scheduled the moving truck to pick us up on Saturday. By God’s grace and with the help of the McFates we were able to do all the important stuff in time.
When the truck came we loaded it up and set off on the perilous roads to Tororo District. We didn’t realize that the Ugandan national soccer team had a game outside the city that same afternoon, so we were stuck in very heavy traffic (including scores of motorbikes and pedestrians) for hours. We had planned to get into town by 7pm. Instead we had to travel by dark. The highway is a combination of badly deteriorated pavement with massive potholes, and red-dirt packed stretches, which are shared by vehicles, tractor-trailers, pedestrians, bicycles, livestock, motorcycles, you name it! Traveling by night is very slow going. When we finally pulled into Tororo is was after 10pm. Hadassah had basically slept in my lap the entire journey and was very patient. (Her car seat was one of the lost bags). She still was feeling somewhat ill so she needed the rest. As we rounded the corner with the house almost in sight, the big diesel moving truck ran out of fuel. We almost cried, but instead we laughed. We took another vehicle to town, stopped for a container, searched for a fuel station open that late, filled up the engine and eventually got it started. Then, we completed the last mile to our house, unloaded the entire truck, paid the drivers, and went to the McFates house, where we got to bed around 1am. Like I said, everything takes longer in Africa. The whole journey probably would take 2 hours on US roads.
Anyhow, we are getting our stuff moved in and organized at our place, which is just so beautiful. The property is like the Garden of Eden, with a giant mango tree, an avocado tree, and a small cornfield (I am not joking) all walled in by tall hedges. For the last 3 days we have been cleaning and organizing the house, interviewing Watchmen, and having the house fumigated for cockroaches :) Tomorrow we will spend the day in Mbale (about 45 minutes away) where we can get a propane tank and other needed supplies. Then we will be ready to move in by the end of the week!!!
There are three houses on the compound where the McFates live. One is theirs, the second belongs to Ken Knowles (another missionary), and the third is called Awinjo House. It is used as a house for children 6-22 who are orphans or whose parents cannot care for them. The house parents are Michael and Immaculate, some of the sweetest people I have ever met. Last night we joined them for worship and prayer. The children all gathers in the main room and sang songs and cried out in prayers for one another. It was so beautiful. Several of them had been in the hospital being treated for malaria that day. We were honored to join them in worshipping Jesus. The youngest is 6, her name is gracious. Every time we get out of the car or come out of the house she runs and jumps into our arms and hugs us. She is unbelievably precious. Hadassah has many friends over there. They pass her from person to person until she gets tired of it. Or they will swing with her on the rope swing or run with the puppies (oh yeah, we got a Great Dane puppy on our way from the city, his name is Zion). This has been a very busy time, but we have had the chance to stop and enjoy it too.
Finally, we are making many good contacts and relationships with others who serve the youth in this region as well as some of the Interns we knew from before. We are praying that God will continue to order our steps as we step out in faith. We miss our friends and family back home, but God is putting good people in our lives here. May God bless you!