Log Entry: Wednesday 10/10/18 Part 1

Well Tuesday (10/9/18) night, I went to bed early so I could get a little sleep before we had to leave at 5:00 am for Kabwobe, which is actually southwest, TIA.   That plan didn’t work out too well because there seems to be something in a closet in my room that has a very dusty smell. Kampala is unbelievably dusty in general but this in my room gave me a dry cough, which meant I spent Tuesday night coughing instead of sleeping. Somewhere around 3-3:30 am, I finally pasted out. Man, 4:30 am sure did come early!

In the morning when I was ready, I went out front where Rev. Medad informed me that he had something that he had to do in Kampala so he would not be going with me for the first part of this trip which would last through Sunday.  (I don’t think that Medad sleeps!)  There would just be me, the driver, and another friend, a reverend. In the Anglican Church in Uganda they don’t use the terms father or priest, they use the term reverend and pastor. I would meet this reverend for the first time on the way when we stopped to pick him up.

As we were leaving the house, I was feeling very left-alone as we started out on a 5 day trip with just my driver, who by the way is awesome!  I’m sure that I owe my life to him but I’m not sure exactly how many times or when they all were…but I’m pretty sure that he did it more times than I’m aware of.

So we take off on African time, 5:40 am.  As I get in the van, it’s impossible not to notice that there is a woman and two kids in the back of the van. What the heck?  I decide not ask questions figuring that the less I know the better off that I’d be. Here we go.  I settle in for what’s supposed to be a 5 hour drive.  Ten minutes later, we stop and the driver begins beeping the horn for our next passenger the Reverend. Now I’m hoping that we will finally be on our way but this is Africa so who knows? It’s now 6:00 am. Off we go.

Somewhere in Kampala, the heck if I have any idea where, we pull over and the women in the back jumps out and leaves the kids! I’m NOT going to ask questions. I’m afraid of the answer that I might get. For all I know they could now be my responsibility!!!!! I’m believing, really believing, not.

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Log Entry: Tuesday 10/09/2018

Tuesday (10/9/18) I went around Kampala checking out bus options for Aslan Roars’ May trip to Uganda.  Check this one out!  Believe me, you don’t see something like this every day in Uganda.

Upon arriving home, I was told we will be headed west to Kabwobe at 5:00 am Wednesday morning so that I can preach at 10:00 am.  I better get some sleep!

 

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Log Entry: Sunday 10/7/18

Sunday was a day to learn.

The day started off as only a day in Africa can start. I was to be at a church at 8:00 am to preach two services. First thing, my driver was late getting up, all the guys stayed up late watching soccer. We needed to leave by 7:15 and at 7:25 he is finally getting ready. At 7:30 we find out the vehicle won’t start, battery problem. At 7:40 we call a taxi, taxi finally shows up at 8, I get to this church at around 8:25.

This is  Bishop Steve’s church in Kampala (our guide that didn’t know how to get to where we was going Thursday night) which is an Anglican church so I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as the number of people and type of building. I was thinking that being an Anglican church and a bishop’s church it might be nice, maybe a little fancy, with a lot of people and several clergy that I would need to kind of coordinate with. It turns out the church is in a poor section of Kampala and it’s sure not fancy! It’s a iron sheet (tin) building. The framework for the iron sheets is made with small tree trunks. Ones no more 6 inches in diameter are the main supports and small 2-3 inch trunks for rafters and cross bracing to nail the iron sheets to. This a fairly large building, about 50×80, built on the side of a hill with the floor having a 6-8 degree sloop down to the stage.  If you fall asleep in this church you could fall out of your plastic chair and roll down front, one way to keep people awake. The building looks like a strong breeze might blow it down.

It’s 8:30 as we are make our way into the church and there’s only 8 people in a circle praying. I didn’t know that few people could make that much noise! Of course everything is louder when you are in what amounts to a large tin box. There are no clergy present so I take a seat and start wondering what I’ve gotten myself into. In Africa there is way to many possibilities of things I could have gotten into.

The prayers stop and everyone greets me as they take the stage and begin worship, and much to my dismay they of course have a sound system and really big speakers. There is only one volume, as loud as possible, and we are in a tin box with a concrete floor so it’s way past loud. Not only can you not hear your self think, you can’t even think. It feels like your brain is being turned to mush. I’m thinking that the sermon that I’ve prepared is just not going to work with this group so I, bring the spiritual giant that I am, start getting an attitude about not having  enough sleep, wanting to be back home in bed getting some much needed sleep, my body is on Alabama time which is 2 in the morning.  Oh yea this day is off to a great start. I utter a desperate prayer, “Lord.” That’s it. “Lord.” One word. It was the only word that I had in me that was not a word with an attitude. So here I sit, music pounding away in a tin box that could fall over if the wind blows, knowing that if the wind doesn’t blow soon my brain will begin to fry as the sun begins to bake us inside this tin box. Oh yea, I can hardly wait for the temperature to get to, God only knows, around 120-130.

Remember the prayer, “Lord.”? Well, I didn’t really expect the answer that I got. As I looked up, instead of seeing a bunch of young men and women just making a terrible racket, I saw young men and women singing and dancing and praying their hearts out. My eyes were opened, I began to weep, I bowed my head in shame, and I began to repent of such foolishness.  I asked the Lord what I was to do. How could a sinner such as me minister to saints like these? He said to look at my notes but not follow my notes.  To begin with Colossians, Christ in you the hope of glory, and He would do the rest.

When I finally looked up, more people than had come in while I was repenting. People continued to come in until by the end of worship there were 35-45 saints gathered from the slums around us to hear a word from God. The second service was the same, just new people, except now I didn’t have to repent before preaching. Oh yeah, one of the of the best times of my life!!!!!  Really.

Not sure what the temperature got to, it just didn’t seem that hot until we got in the even hotter car.  TIA.

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Prayer Request 10/6/18

Today I attended a CEC House of Bishop’s meeting which allowed me to talk with the CEC Ugandan Bishops and fill in my schedule.  Your prayers are appreciated as I travel and preach.

Travel Days

October 15 Kampala to  Mbala. 15–25

October 25 Mbala to Jinja. 26–2

November 2 Jinja to Bundibugyo. 3–5

November 5 Bundibugyo to Hoima.  6-19

November 19 Hoima to Kampala.

November 20 Kampala to Entebbe and home the evening of November 21.

🏡
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Log Entry: 10/4/18 On the Road

I left off just as I discovered that we will be traveling at night to a small town called Aduku which is about four hours to the northwest. We are going to travel in a small SUV, a Rave.  The African version of a Rave is even smaller then the ones that we have in America.  There are five of us stuck in this thing; two in the front seats and three in a SMALL back seat.

Well here we go, it’s about 5:30 pm and I think we are on our way but nothing goes like you are thinking that it’s going to. As we are getting ready to leave, I notice that our driver is playing musical tires. That’s where you start switching out tires from another vehicle trying to find a good spare tire for your trip.  I did find comfort in knowing that we had the best tire that was available for our trip. Oops, forgot this is Africa.

We finally get on our way but at 6:00 pm in Kampala, you can walk faster than you can drive. Of course you would never try that, there is some small measure of safety by being in a car, at least that is what I keep telling myself. Kampala traffic during rush hour is a lot like a really large ant hill that someone has kicked over and then stirred up just to make sure the ants are really happy.  We finally get clear of the Kampala traffic, kind of.  You can no longer walk faster but I think that a good jog would still put you in the lead.

A couple of hours out of Kampala, we stop to get some petrol and the good feeling that I’ve had about the spare tire is dashed, all this time it’s been flat!  It was the best looking tire but not a tire that had air in it, just the best looking, TIA.

We are finally on our way. I’m not sure where we are going but we are on our way. After about 30 minutes of travel we stop again to buy some minutes for Rev Medad’s phone. In Uganda you don’t do phone contracts, you buy time as you need it.  Now to be honest with you, you’re not buying time but shillings, that’s their money.  Now I’ve tried to find out how much time you get when you have, say, 10,000 shillings put on your phone but no one can tell me that. They keep telling me, “Until you run out.”  TIA.

So now it’s getting dark and I notice that the windows in the back where I’m sitting have a very dark tint, which is nice during the day but at night not so much.  Since driving in Uganda seems like one long game of chicken in which you can’t help but imagine that you might die at any moment as a big truck or bus or a taxi van runs into you head on,  I choose to stare out through the front windows thinking I would rather see it coming.  The problem with that is that when they miss you, God only knows how, and you look out your side window, it’s like you’ve changed worlds.  Your vision is cut down to two thirds of what it was and the headlights on the cars go from bright yellow to a dark black green.  It makes you feel like your living in a science fiction movie.  All that’s missing is an alien monster that’s consuming everything.

After a while you begin to have a kind of split vision where you see one world out of one eye and another world out of your other eye. It’s all very confusing and my jet lag doesn’t seem to be helping me keep up.

After some time, I’m not sure how long because jet lag overcame any self preservation instinct and I’ve actually been napping… by the way when I wake up, it takes a few minutes for my eyes to stop bouncing around in my head and focus, and of course I have that where-am-I-and-what’s-happening feeling that takes a while to figure out.  My I’ve-woken-up-on-another-planet feeling is quickly confirmed with one glance out the dark side windows.

About the time my eyes stop bouncing or twitching and I’m able start seeing again, we are stopping, not sure why. Oh, we are stopping for food. We grab some chapatis and some drinks and off we go. But after awhile Rev. Medad asks our guide, the bishop, “Where are we?”  He says we are maybe here or there but it won’t be long now. It’s now 9:30 pm and at first I get excited that we will be where we are going soon, but ever so slowly the reality sinks in that TIA and there is a high probability that we are not going to be any where soon.

It’s 30 or 45 minutes since we stopped for food but now we are stopping for gas, not sure why we didn’t get gas while we stopped for food. We were at a gas station/food/restaurant. TIA. However by this time I’m very  grateful for any chance to get of the car since everything aches, so I put it down as God’s love for me.

Off we go again.  As we near the Nile river, lots of baboons are sitting on the side of the road looking for handouts, at night.  That’s weird. You would think that they would be sleeping. Looking through the dark black green windows seeing baboons whizzing by just inches away you really begin to think maybe you have traveled to an alien planet.

After we cross the Nile and take a few turns, I begin to have a bad feeling.  Shortly we come to the fact of the matter at hand; WE ARE LOST, WE DON’T KNOW WHERE WE ARE.  We must have missed our turn so back to the Nile and we start over. Once again we find ourselves Lost, by now it’s really late, 1-1:30 am. Now we have been, or I should say they have been, on the phone trying get directions but for some reason we keep winding up lost.  We go through the same routine several times, look for this sign, turn left, turn right, no you must have taken a wrong turn. Now we have to get gas again! No we haven’t driven that far and no the car doesn’t get that bad of gas mileage. In Africa they usually only put small amounts of gas in at a time. TIA. Yes, we tried to get directions from the guy at the gas station. Lost again.

We stopped two guys walking. I think that we scared them because they almost took off running, but after much reassurance they finally give us directions. You know the kind: go to there to somewhere, turn right, go till you get there, then turn left, go till there.  Now I’m pretty sure that these guys have no idea where they are sending us and they just want to get rid  of us. Our guide, the bishop, says that the reason they didn’t want to talk to us was that they where former rebels. Maybe they did know where they were sending us and it might not be good. At this point, I’m saying over and over, “I’m in Christ, this is His story. I’m in Christ, this His story. I’m in Christ, this his story.”

This will go on for about two hours. All this time we have been in contact with a gentleman that’s trying to help us get where we are going, where ever that is.  As it’s getting later and later, we are getting more desperate with each new lost adventure. Our bishop guide sees some men sitting around drinking. It’s 2:00 in the morning and one of them is dancing to a tune that only he hears. Now I know that there are a lot of things that I don’t understand or know about Africans, but I’m  pretty sure that this is a universal truth; Drunk guys at two in the morning are not a good source for directions. I don’t think that these guys could find their own way home let alone get us where we need to be. By the way I was right. Lost again.

Now about this time the guy on the phone taps out, he has no idea where we are at, we’ve been driving around northern UGANDA for a couple of hours pretty much lost. Me, I’m in Christ, this is His story, I’m in Christ, this is His story, over and over.

The gentleman that tapped out hands us off to another gentleman and after some more driving around he finally thinks he knows where we are and he sends us to find another turn that will will finally get there, where ever there is. Me, I’m in Christ. When we find the right turn we find a sign that says that it’s 35 km to the town we are trying to get to, that’s about 23 miles.

NOW we have a discussion about gas. We might not have enough Gas!! You’ve got to be kidding me! It’s 2:30 in the morning somewhere in northern Uganda and we might run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, actually we would need to get somewhere in order to be nowhere. We take a quick tour of the village that’s at this crossroad hoping to find something open where we might be able to get a little gas. Sometimes in the small villages you can buy gas from small shops. They sell gas by the bottle, small water bottles and 1 lite bottles mostly to motorcycles which they call Bodabodas. No such luck, back to the crossroad where we are to begin what will be the last leg of our journey.  We will get to where we are going or we will be out of gas in the middle of nowhere in northern Uganda, but the journey will shortly be over for tonight.

As we pull up at our turn off, we look at the sign and check with our guide on the phone to be sure it’s the correct turn.  We now have no room for error; the little yellow gas pump light comes on, you know the light that reminds you that you’re fixing to run out gas very shortly. At 2:30 am in the middle of nowhere that little light sure does get your attention. Now being a highly spiritual person, I’m hoping that His story does not include running out of gas on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere where there are former rebels still wandering around in the night.

It’s funny all the weird random thoughts you can have, I’ll leave that to your imagination but trust me, very weird, very random. Let your imagination run wild, mine sure did. I’m still saying to myself, “I’m in Christ, this is His story.” I’ve now add “His gas”, I mean “His grace is sufficient in all things.” And it is, there is always enough.

We finally reach our destination around 3:30 am and we need to be up around 7:00 am to get a shower and get ready to preach to a gathering of Anglican clergy. My room resembles a cell; very small, one small window and a cot.  As I’m laying in bed trying to go to sleep, it’s hard to go to sleep while you are sweating, I’m thinking, “This should be interesting. I will have had about 10 or 11 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and I’m still a little jet lagged.”  Oh, I almost forgot,  I’m in Christ and Christ is in me living His story.  I finally fall asleep with those words on auto repeat in my mind.

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Log Entry: 10/4/18 Kampala, Uganda

The weather is is great, cool at night and in the mornings. Temperatures are around 80 at 10:00 am and very nice in the shade. I’m having fresh pineapple for breakfast with my coffee.  Now don’t you wish you were here?

But in the spirit of full disclosure, I had my first COLD shower this morning.  I don’t remember the water being quite so cold, brrrrrrrr!  I was doing the Hokey Pokey for sure.  You know the kids song:
You put your right foot in
You take your right foot out
You put your right foot in
And you shake it all about
You do the hokey pokey
And you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about (or rather that’s how you take a cold shower.)

Maybe we really did learn all we need to know in kindergarten, hummmmm.

Moving on. To help save words in this post and probably all future posts about this trip, I will be using the abbreviation TIA which stands for This Is Africa.  It basically means “We are not in Kansas anymore, Toto.” so don’t even try to make sense of it with your western mind. 🙂

We are going to try and get all my stuff done today; exchange money, get a SIM card for my phone and buy my malaria drugs.  I truly know I’m in Africa now because I was told that we would be leaving in about 20 minute.  That was about an hour ago. TIA.

Well I got everything done and thought my day was complete.  But upon arriving back I found out that we will be leaving this afternoon to travel to a small town called Aduku which is about four hours to the northwest.  That means we will be traveling at night which is always something of an adventure in Africa (and this trip will prove to be no different).

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Log Entry: Amsterdam 8:20 am 10/3/18

Log Entry: Amsterdam 8:20 am

It’s been two years since I’ve been in the Amsterdam airport and, man, it has really changed.  I feel like I’ve walked all the way across Amsterdam!

Well, this trip has started out pretty cool.  Yesterday at the Atlanta airport a young man stopped me since I was wearing clerics and ask me to pray for his family.  His niece’s young son, Orlando, had become very ill and it looks  like he might not live.  So in front of my gate as we are getting ready to board, we stopped together and ask for  Jesus to heal this young child.

I’m still learning what it means to be a priest and I debated about traveling in clerics.  I think that the Lord is trying to teach me that it’s 24/7.  I wish that I could know the outcome of this encounter.  I not only believe that this child will live but, at a level that I can’t explain, I know that Jesus has restored this child’s health.

 

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Greetings from Uganda

October 3, 2018 4:24pm central time

Greetings from Uganda.  I made it here with all my luggage and the trip went well.

I was wearing my clerics as I traveled and got to pray for a young boy and his family in the Atlanta Airport.  Pray for Olando’s healing.

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Leaving On A Jet Plane…

…don’t know when I’ll be back again.

Actually I do know that…I just don’t know any details. 🙂  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

A friend suggested that I should start posting again, especially since I’m going back to Africa in October. I’m not sure what these postings will be like or even what they will be about, maybe a little of everything.  So stay tuned to the website for posts and even more.

The person who keeps up my site has added a few new things, the biggest is audio recordings of some of the homilies that I’ve done recently. Most of them are around 10 to 12 minutes in length and you can listen to them online or download them. If you listen to the most recent ones, you can hear about what I’ve been learning from Christ lately, which is mainly about walking daily by faith and finding Him to always be sufficient in all things.

Sorry it’s been so long since I posted any kind of an update. I’ve mostly been in Alabama serving at the cathedral in Selma or preaching some in Alabama churches.  I did make a trip to Tanzania in 2017 but didn’t manage to write anything down.  I hope to write more this time around.

As for my upcoming trip to Uganda, I don’t know many details but here is what I do know:

  • I leave on October 2nd and come back November 21st.
  • As before, I’ll be living with the people that I’m going to be helping and ministering with them in their local churches.
  • I plan to visit Kampala, Hoima, Masindi and Mbala. Emphasis on “plan”.  Once I get there, there is no telling where God will send me. 🙂

As always, I ask for your prayers.
Fr Ron

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You Were Where?

Well, it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything for my blog/website and there have been a lot of things that have happened since last August, for sure. Here’s the story of one of my little adventures.

I was supposed to go back to Africa in April 2015 but, four days before I was to get on a plane to Uganda, I ended up in the emergency room. I was with my son at a small festival in midtown Atlanta. He got us the tickets thinking that it would be a fun day before I headed to Africa.

Now this wasn’t just any old festival, this was called a bacon-fest but the bacon was not that good so we were fixing to leave when things got really interesting. I had a mild heart attack! Now I know you’re thinking, “At a bacon festival? Really? You’ve got to be kidding!” Nope, I’m not kidding. I really was at a bacon festival when I had a heart attack. You can’t make this stuff up and yes, my life can be strange and weird at times.

I have to tell you the details just to show you how every part of our lives is ordered by God, even when we don’t think much about Him ordering our every step. Because we were at this bacon festival in midtown, I was less than ten minutes from Emory Hospital, one of the best heart hospitals in the world. That meant that it was less than an hour and a half from the time when I had my first chest pain, which was really bad, until my heart cath. That’s really quick!

When they, mostly my son who is a paramedic, got me to the hospital and into the ER, the lady doc and all the nurses thought that it was extremely funny that I was at a bacon festival and, of course, had a good time making jokes about it. The doctor said that if she had not had to work that day she would have been at the festival with her boyfriend. Then she added that that was where he was right now, so I suggested that she should call him to tell him that he should leave before it killed him. Just saying.

So they finally run out of jokes and send me upstairs to have a heart cath where they find a 90% blockage, which they fixed with a stint. I don’t know about you, but having people put things in my body just seems a little creepy and weird. Now I’ve got this expanding mesh thing to let the blood flow to my heart or maybe it’s from my heart, anyway something like that.

The heart cath was no big deal, but, as normal for me, things are not always simple even if they start out simple. I mean, who knew that I would have a reaction to the dye that they use and not just a reaction but a severe reaction, as in, one of the worst that they had ever seen! Everybody got really excited and started yelling about reactions, pushing meds, getting meto ICU, and yelling at people to get out of the way, kind of just like on tv shows. The last thing I remember, as they are running down the hall to ICU, is doing a quick confessing with the Lord. I was telling Him that if I was going to die could we make it kind of quick because I had quit having fun some time back when the whole throat swelling shut, skin burning and everything else started to almost freak me out!

Later, I wake up in the ICU unit with all these people running around giving me shots and putting in IVs and new stick-on leads for ekg stuff. Just a side note, did you know that nobody will use somebody else’s stick-on leads? So now I’m on my fourth or fifth set of these stick-on things. I mean, if they had to put another set on me they would have to start ripping old ones off. So anyway, all of these people are sticking me, poking me, and hooking me up to stuff, all the while commenting on the fact that they had never seen anybody so red and broken out with such a rash. I mean, I had a rash between my fingers, toes, and every square inch of my body but at least my throat had not swelled completely shut so I could breath. You learn to be thankful for the little things.

As you’ve guessed by now, I didn’t die. I’m still around and kicking. I’m doing well but still need to lose some weight and all that kind of stuff… but, all in all, I’m doing pretty good.

I’ll be going back to Africa, I hope, in February 2016 and in the meantime, I’m staying busy helping Archbishop Jones. I’ll also be traveling with him and a team to Brazil in October to minister to some of our CEC churches there.

Please pray for me. It’s been a busy summer and its looks like a busy fall coming up. For sure, pray for me to hear the Lord better so that He doesn’t have to almost kill me to get me to do what He wants me to do.

Oh yea, I still like bacon!!

Bacon

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