Sunday didn’t start out well for me. The devil isn’t happy about what has been going on with the children, and now Christian is teaching from the Bible early before the regular service. My interpreter Derek texted me to say he wasn’t coming. It was short notice that Christian would also be preaching the second service so there went my support and photographer. It just seemed nothing was going right. I was crying and decided I wasn’t going to do this anymore. I asked God why it had to be so hard. Next thing I know, Derek arrived and I knew that God was listening to my cries and He wiped my tears. I still didn’t have a photographer until after the story, but that isn’t the most important thing. We had a great time again with the children, they talked about what they learned last week and I have to say I could tell they were really listening last week. I am so very thankful God has sent Derek, he explains things so well to the children, in a way they can understand. He sings and dances and gets the kids involved. I believe God has big plans for him in ministry.
The Bible study Christian did was mostly our workers, which is awesome. They are almost all muslim, in name and upbringing mainly. It was good to see that they have interest, and eight of them said they didn’t have Bibles but would like to have one. The people around us mostly speak Lusoga or English. But the language that is more common is Luganda. We had already bought a few Lusoga Bibles but we found out that the schools do not teach how to read and write in Lusoga. (Doesn’t make much sense!) So they asked for Luganda Bibles, which we found in Jinja and bought. Please pray for these men and women. It is very hard on them when they do come to Christ, some get shunned from the community and have even been chased away. And pray especially for the men. Our regular church services usually only have a couple men besides the two Pastors. So we are really excited that there are more wanting to learn more about Jesus.
I posted on Facebook that we are now the parents of 17 kids! We came here as parents to three kids, but it seems here if you help kids by caring, feeding or paying school fees you become their parents. In one way that is a good thing – I know it is for the kids that don’t have one or both parents, but on the other hand some parents use that to just quit taking care of their kids thinking we will do it! Really we have 7 that we support, feed and send to school 3 of that family. We have Derek that we are trying to keep in school. The others have a mother and we have helped with their education but have had to stop that. It is one thing to help but another to be used. And where we were afraid or didn’t want to say no, we learned that most of the time they have a way other than us. So for now we are sticking to the widows and orphans and some medical for children. Our workers still have their medical fund so that works out great.
Last week was a rough one, this week has started out rough already so please pray for us. For perseverance, for compassion, and for God’s direction and His Will be done. Pray for us to help keep our focus on the One that knows our hearts and has His hand always out to pick us up when we falter. The devil doesn’t win in the end of God’s story and he won’t win here! Sometimes we run, sometimes we stand, but always we have faith in the One that holds us in the palm of His hand and never, NEVER let’s us go!
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
[ Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith ] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
Traditional Marriage Ceremony
“The traditional marriage ceremony is a battle of cultural tongue-twisting between representatives of the two sides who engage each other in a question and answer challenge or in knowing, mentioning and following century old norms and traditions. Both families are required to have a spokesman to speak for them. The spokesman takes the role of the final emissary on the day of introduction and he has to pull a lot of antics learned from tradition and experience to engage or answer challenges from the other side’s spokesman. It is the battle (friendly and of words) between the two that makes the Kwanjula and the whole ceremony memorable and unique from any other ceremony. On this Kwanjula day, little is required from the husband to be or the Son in-law. He has to say nothing on that day. Having bought everything required and dressed properly in coats and Kanzus for males Gomesis or long shawls for females, all he has to do, together with his entourage is sit and enjoy the battle between the two spokesmen.The rest of the ceremony is as interesting as the gifts (which are left outside) are brought and allocated to the different beneficiaries, and the hosts lay their demands and wishes on the new family. Once the gifts are brought, the host’s spokesman may ask the bride and Ssenga whether they should accept the gifts. The obvious answer is “yes.” This is followed by more clapping, and more excitement. On this day of Kwanjula, the son in- law comes with rings that denote marriage. It’s at this stage that rings are exchanged and cut the cake to crown the ceremony that ends with meals. The official church wedding takes place some few weeks or months after Kwanjula. (3)”
(excerpt from http://megan08.weebly.com/uganda-wedding-ceremonies.html)
One of our workers got married this weekend. There were only two meetings, one actually was the morning of the ceremony (after the party had started at midnight) because they hadn’t raised quite enough money yet to finish the day off! Christian was asked a week ago if our truck could be used to go “just pick up the bride’ and bring her to our village – to the groom. He said yes, he would go with our driver. Well, the party was going pretty strong, the xylophone players were playing the same beat for over 8 hours, the DJ would turn on the blaring music, competing with the xylophone. I went over a couple hours after Christian had left our house to go over (the groom lives right next door) and was told Christian would be back any minute, they had gone to get the bride. Two hours later (in total Christian and crew were gone 4 hours!) they arrived. It was dark,, so I couldn’t see anything. Wondered how we would see the service and was informed the service was performed at the brides village! Christian said it was quite the ceremony to witness. We aren’t sure if the bride and groom had met before this day, but he said the groom was sweating bullets! We left the partiers to it, and when we went to bed around 10 pm it was still going!
Another site that describes the ceremony pretty close to what Christian said went on is http://www.ugpulse.com/heritage/traditional-marriages-in-uganda-marriages-in-buganda-kwanjula/378/ug.aspx. You should read it, very interesting. The only difference is that all the bartering and gifts was done away at the bride’s home and after it was finally agreed they would marry, they went in private with a muslim cleric who actually married them. Then they and some of the bridal party were loaded in the truck and brought back to our village to the groom’s home. There, the party had been going on full force without the groom! We didn’t know this is how it all would work, so unfortunately I had to miss out on the best part! Hopefully this marriage will stick – it is the groom’s fifth! His parents decided to try their hand and pick a bride for him this time – maybe fifth time is a charm!