On to Kasese by Charlie King
It’s Sunday. We travelled from Gulu to Kasese yesterday, covering about 650 Km in 10 hours – about half of that was on murram, which is crushed stone that hardens over time, or just plain old dirt. Lazarus hung in there though, and we arrived in one piece. Sometimes the road was so bad, he drove on the shoulder! And once again, I am left to contemplate one of the mysteries of Uganda… how do people here stay so clean? I have seen women in colorful robes ride to church over muddy roads on the back of a motor bike, and step off without a mark. Me? I just climb out of the car and have mud all over me. I feel like Pigpen in Charlie Brown…
Church today was up in the foothills of the Rwenzori. Rich went one way and I went the other; James came with me via hired car along with our coordinator here in Kasese, Jophus. I spoke in an Anglican Church, and it was packed. The church began in 1977, which was a grim time (Idi Amin, civil war,). Originally it was just a church under a tree, but grew even amid civil war; it suffered two church buildings burned down, and is now working on #3. See pics below. Many of those in the audience will be attending TBI, I was told by Jophus, so I gave a much abbreviated message on just what the moral law is and why it mattered. As usual, knowledge of the 10 Commandments was sketchy . . . The church offering was interesting – while there was a cash offering, there were many offerings in kind: bananas, eggs, beans, etc. After the service, some of the men gathered these up, conferred about prices, and then began offering them for sale to the congregation. Apparently everyone stayed for this, as it was expected. James explained to me that the prices in church will be less than the prices in the market, so everyone wins: the worshipper gives an offering, the buyer gets something he or she needs at less cost than otherwise and the church gets the cash (which is what they need as they are slowly building the place). And it builds a sense of community. This is not an unusual procedure, James added. The picture below, btw, of James and the deacon, gives you some indication of the height of the Bukonzo.
Last piece of old business from Gulu is a link to what is a very pressing issue here. I don’t like to get political, but things do seem to be coming to a head. It’s hard to see how this will end well. One of the most popular musicians in Uganda, a man with the stage name of Bobi Wine, stood for election to Parliament last year, and won. Since then, he has been an outspoken opponent of the current president, which led to a very violent attack on him and his supporters by the authorities two weeks ago. His case is being taken up by the Western press now, and friends here tell me that this article in The Atlantic gets it about right. As I say, I don’t see any good coming out of this. Missionary work needs a stable government, but the current regime has the sort of stability that a parked bicycle has: static. Unlike a moving bicycle, which has internal stability, a parked bike can’t right itself in time of shock. And shocks are coming. We are praying for a just resolution of this current crisis.
Cheers and blessings,