30 May 2012
29 May 2012
A Letter from Uganda
Lily and I went on several short-term mission trips before we headed off to Uganda. Each time we returned home from a trip, we always had a deeper appreciation for what we had in our home.
But long-term missions are different. We are now appreciative of several things that we used to take for granted in the States, like running water.
Water for our house comes from Uganda's National Water Corporation. Everyone has a water tank in Uganda since there is the occasional day where National Water does not pump.
One day, Lily ran several loads of laundry. What she didn’t know was that our guard had watered our vegetable garden to make sure the newly-planted seeds would grow. What nobody knew was that the National Water was not pumping to our neighbourhood that day. We had depleted our tank water by 11am, and National Water was not pumping water to refill it. There was now no water for dishes, washing hands, or flushing the toilet.
We dealt with it in stride. Lily left the soiled lunch dishes for later. That evening we went shopping, had dinner at a local Greek restaurant, and used the restrooms at both places. We sent the kids to bed without a bath. Nobody complained.
My guard called me at 10:30pm telling me the water was back. Lily and I took our showers, delighted to retire to bed feeling clean.
But that was only our first day without water. The next week we ran out of water again and again. Lily and the kids now had the routine down: no washing dishes, use the toilet (but don't flush), and wash hands with hand wipes.
Another missionary family (Brian & Jill Kanyike) live up on Naguru Hill. National Water had not pumped to their house for an entire week. Wow, we had it good in comparison!
Lily now has some paper plates and plastic utensils. She usually only washes one load of clothes a day. We will also store water in the garage so we can flush the toilets. Now we all appreciate something that we used to take for granted, running water.
John Eastham, New Missionary to Uganda
21 May 2012
The other day I was driving to church and was pulled over by the police. This happened before at the same location. It was a random police check for explosives. I recognized one of the policemen. He was older, and I remembered him for being very professional. Unfortunately another, younger policeman came to my car.
The car inspection was first. I got out and opened the car’s boot. That was no problem since it’s their job to look for bombs, and that keeps the city (and me) safe from terrorists. Then came the request to see my passport. I expected an unusual demand or two since they are tests to see how people react (a real bomber would get nervous). Since I didn’t have my passport, the policeman then threatened to take me to the central police station. I figured that was just another test.
Then the policeman wanted to get in the car with me. I’ve heard of policemen doing this before, so the request was not so unusual. When he got in the car with me, the young policeman made two clear and unmistakable requests for a bribe.
Then I snapped. I looked at him in the eyes and said, “I don’t pay bribes. I’m a Christian, and Jesus told the soldiers that they should be content with their wages.”
The policeman had a look of surprise on his face and then began to listen intently.
“The soldiers were not paid well, and sometimes their pay was late,” I continued. “I don’t think you are well enough, and I don’t think I’m paid well enough. This month I am short. But Jesus told us to be content with what we are paid.”
I finished by telling him that he should trust God to meet his needs but that I’d pray for his job advancement. The policeman thought for a moment and then released me.
Most Ugandans are not paid very well, and the cost of living is high. Rent, food, and transportation are expensive (petrol is now $5.85 a gallon). Making ends meet can be difficult.
Still, the Bible teaches us to be content with how much we are paid and to not be greedy.
Jesus’ statement to the solider is from Luke 3:14. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 reads “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” This is a good reminder for all of us.
New Missionary to Uganda
18 May 2012
16 May 2012
When the team from Russia arrived here in Kenya, their ministry also included a Bible study for the ladies in our church. Tatiana, my friend and sister in the Lord shared from John 15:1-8, It was such an encouragement to hear her heart and the things the Lord spoke through her were so challenging and the Holy Spirit touched many hearts…
The ladies from Calvary Chapel Vladimir also prepared a craft. It was a Bible verse in Swahili, that they put in a frame. It was so cool to see how diligent that our ladies were in making this craft beautiful… J The women from Russia also sent little presents…You know, the Lord really touched my heart when I saw beautiful smiles on the faces of our ladies, they were like children receiving the love that Jesus poured out on them through their sisters from Russia.
Ugandans have their own snack foods, and one of them is now our favorite. Fried peas. The brand we like has them dusted with chili powder. Even Gabby loves them.
But Ugandans also have some other snack foods. One of them is fried grasshoppers. Just drive down any major street and you are bound to find vendors with plastic bins selling small envelopes of these green insects to motorists.
The grasshoppers are caught at night. These flying insects are attracted to bright lights, and there are people waiting below the lights to capture them. The grasshoppers are fried and sold on the street to passers-by and drivers stuck in traffic. I've heard the tastier ones are cooked with diced onion. The vendors will even give you a free sample so that you can be assured of their freshness.
A few days ago I was approached by a grasshopper vendor. A colleague of mine made sure they were fresh, and bought a small tin of these formerly flying insects for about $2.
Fried grasshoppers taste a bit like french fries, but that description does not do the insects or their cooks justice. They are definitely crunchy, but the aftertaste can be on the oily side.
Joseph, who typically consumes anything, declined my offer to eat the grasshoppers. I expected Lily and Gabby to turn away from the food, but not Joseph. My only taker was Benjamin. He had a small second helping but indicated that he was not particularly fond of this snack food.
So, if you ever come to Kampala, I'll be happy to help you find a fried grasshopper vendor. In fact, I'll probably share them with you. The rest of my family, however, will probably prefer their fried peas.
New Missionary to Kampala, Uganda