Our student camp started yesterday.
We are having it at a boarding school outside of Arua.
Students were given two locations in town for pick-ups, and they could be at either one.
They had to come with not only their mattress, sheets and towels, but also their own basin for bathing and their own bowl and cup for eating and drinking (no one uses utensils here). How’s that for a camp experience?
The leaders of the camp, Doug and 6 other Americans, all had to bring the same things. I am one of the leaders, but I’m not staying at the school.
Every morning and every evening, I take a 40 minute side-saddle motorcycle taxi ride back and forth from home. I could have stayed out there this weekend, but that is a lot to haul out there for two days.
The reason I’m not staying on the premises is…language.
My teacher, Florence, is one of the translators for the camp, and I am one of the small group leaders.
This is a leadership camp designed to take students further in their walk with the Lord. In the morning-time, they will be learning a story from the Bible, and in the afternoons, they will take their testimony and the Bible story and go hut to hut in a village.
The translators are only needed in the villages, so they don’t have to stay at camp either.
After I’ve completed my small group duties each day, and after we have gone hut to hut in the village, Florence and I will spend the remainder of the day studying Lugbara.
All of that was the long way of explaining why I’m able to write this tonight – at a place that has internet (sometimes) and electricity (hardly ever –but I do have solar).
Twenty-nine students registered, and it has been a fabulous time with some incredible students!
I taught about Testimony on Saturday. I gave my testimony and explained the three parts: my life before Christ; the circumstances that led me to invite Christ in my life and make Him LORD of my life; and my life since I did that.
The students had to break up into family groups and not only write out their testimony in three parts, they each had to share it with their group.
Not everyone had a three-part testimony. These are all church-going kids but some of the students only know of their “life before Christ” because they have yet to invite Christ to be LORD of their life. But even this is exciting, as some of these students have this realization.
They are then forced to answer the question: “What do I believe about Jesus?”
The most important decision anyone makes in his life is about Jesus.
It has eternal significance!
Dinner is about to be served each night when I leave at 7pm. Jack drives out an picks me up in a huge ski jacket, because when the sun goes down, it gets a little chilly here.
My rides home have been fun.
Have I mentioned before how much I love this town?
I’m not usually out at night, for safety reasons, but it has been so much fun to see the nightlife as I drive into town on the back of a motorcycle.
Out in the “bush,” I saw a man who had stopped his bicycle on the side of the road for a small snack. Whatever you are picturing…it’s wrong.
This man was at a termite mound, and as they flew out, he grabbed them, tore the wings off and popped them in his mouth. No cooking involved! I draw my limit right there. My brain tells me I can eat termites as long as they are cooked. I know it doesn’t sound normal, but it is what it is.
As you come into Arua, on both sides of the road, there are many, many dukas (pronounced DOO-kas).
In America, a duka would be a small store of some sort. But here, they don’t get much bigger than the size of your guest bedroom. Most of them, however, aren’t even that big. They are usually a 5ft x 5ft “box” or a 8ft x 10ft “box.” Think “kids’ playhouse.”
They sell matches, bread, sugar, eggs, washing soap, tomatoes, peanuts, air time, etc; OR they might be a barber shop or a weave “center” for hair extensions; OR they could be a “not-so-legal” DVD vendor. You get the idea.
The fun thing about seeing them in the evening is the activites in and around them.
They usually have blue or yellow light bulbs, so that makes them look interesting. And most of them (even the 5x5 dukas), have a small 8 or 9 inch box TV inside. Some were tuned in to soccer matches, but a lot of them were showing movies from “not-so-legal” DVDs. If you want to watch a movie, you pay 500 -1000 shillings (about 20 – 50 cents), and then you just crowd in at the door or window-opening of the duka.
Tonight I saw about 30 people crowded outside a small 5 foot opening on a duka.
I know I’m not doing a good job describing this nightlife atmosphere and all the sights and sounds I saw, but I guess it’s hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it.
You are all most welcome to come see it for yourselves! (When a Uganda says this, it always comes out, “You are almost welcome,” and it makes me smile every time.)
Jack is picking me up early, early tomorrow, so I’m going to bed, but I wanted to tell my sweet daughter, Kylie, happy birthday. She turns 9 today! Her daddy will not have phone or internet access to talk to her, and I haven’t been able to contact her yet.
Kylie, we are praying for you. We pray for you to know the love God has for you and understand that He has a perfect plan for your life. We are so blessed to be your parents! We love you, and hope you are enjoying your time in Texas. We miss you and want you to have the greatest day ever!