It's been a full busy week-packed with lots of travel. Dads been a real trooper as we travelled far and wide (to the western border near Congo, to the northern border only a few Kilometers from South Sudan, to the eastern border not too far from Kenya!). I was so blessed and encouraged spending time with friends who are serving and loving Jesus throughout the country-many of them in unpopular and dangerous areas; but seeing Christ use them to spread the gospel and love people!
I also met some new friends who's commitment to Christ challenged me. One father (who had been planting a church in a town that was 98% Muslim-and a hostile area for 7 years) was taking shelter with his family at the very place we were staying. This was because just A few days before, Muslim gunman had come to his home where he was eating dinner on his porch late in the evening with his wife and 3 children. Three men with guns shot at he and his family from only 3 meters away-BUT God blocked the bullets from hitting any of them!! This town is amazed at Gods power-none of them were hit. I video taped his testimony and will share it with you when I get home! He gave a special challenge to his brothers and sisters in Christ in America
This week as some of you may have heard we also survived an elephant attack. Crazy! But we all so love adventure.... Here's the story...
This week we were passing near a national park and I told Dad he had to take advantage of this opportunity to see the animals so we did a quick one night safari. When we set off for our morning game drive, we were approached by a ranger asking us if we would like to hire him to come with us. I've never hired a ranger before on previous Safaris, but I decided why not-he might have some interesting tidbits to share with Dad. (Looking back I realize God knew we would need him and his rifle later on!)
We had a lovely morning and saw all sorts of animals grazing in the cool morning before the sun got too hot. We were about to make our way out of the park when we came across a vehicle VERY stuck in the middle of the dirt (that morning mud) path. Dad and our driver got out to go and see if they could help rescue these Belgium folks. Another jeep pulled up behind us, blocking us in-and the men in that vehicle also got out to see if they could help. None of us could get around the stuck vehicle anyhow because of trees on either side of the path.
The men were pushing and strategizing when I happened to look behind us and saw a bull elephant walking up behind the vehicles. I took some pictures and told them there was an elephant coming... A few seconds later the bull elephant began to charge flapping his ears and I yelled for our ranger "elephant charging!"
We all began banging on the metal sides of our vehicles and the ranger was hollering and trying to shoe the Elephant away. (He was coming towards us from the only direction we could depart from... We were all stuck!) The ranger waved his gun and yelled... for a few minutes we thought we were successful when the elephant stopped Charging and ran into the thick bush.
Dad and I spotted the trees bustling and moving and shouted to the ranger that it looked as if he was about to emerge once again. Sure enough-this time charging right towards the vehicle hopelessly stuck in the mud. Those poor people screamed and we all started banging and hollering again. The elephant seemed less deterred so when he was a few feet away, the Ranger fired his rifle sending a warning shot beside the elephant. He went to fire another shot but his gun jammed (Our Ugandan driver is still laughing about this:).
Suddenly the elephant finally decided to turn away and began to slowly make his way farther down the path. Close call!! Elephants weigh a few thousand pounds and can easily turn over and crush vehicles-but we all lived! And now, Dad has a pretty good story to tell his friends back home God was so good to provide protection through that ranger for us!
Dad still enjoyed viewing elephants later on that morning-but he smiled because they were at a little more of a distance away and we had lots of open space where we could speed away if necessary! Haha.
Yesterday Dad also got a little more of a taste of everyday life in a third world country:
- 1. While you try to make wise food choices, a few hours later you come to realize something was bad... Such was the case with the African tea (hot milk) we had yesterday morning for breakfast... We are both still feeling it.
- 2. Short distances can become very long when combined with construction, heavy rain pour, and the resulting consequence of some very impatient and aggressive drivers Yesterday our short 5-6 hour drive turned into a 10 hour affair. AND when combined with the aforementioned gut issues makes it a very long day! We were so thankful for our clean beds and peace and quiet when we arrived at our destination last night! We're hoping to rest up a little today before Dad gets set to travel home
It's been fun to have him along and show him bits of The country and people that I love. He said last night he's going to try to explain to others what it's like here-but he acknowledges what we have all at one time or another said-it's just so different I don't know if one can really explain or understand it until they see it for themselves!
Pray for our brothers and sisters who are faithfully sharing the gospel-especially those in the heavily Muslim populated areas of Uganda. Pray for God to provide the needs of the ministries who are seeking to serve, reach, and provide medical care to these Muslim women who are abused and abandoned by their husbands. (The men don't work at all-but make their multiple wives do the work and then they take the money the women make and spend it on alcohol, drugs, and food for themselves.
The pastor up north told me of one young girl who came to faith in Christ through their church. She was continually caned (beaten) by her Muslim family. She was good at running so always managed to get away before it got too severe. Because the beatings didn't deter her, her parents forced her to marry a Muslim man they thought they had finally "taken care" of her faith. However this husband too was cruel to her and finally she courageously completely ran away-the pastor thinks she may have run into South Sudan to a community where no one knows her.
I was challenged by the courage and faith of these sisters and brothers in Christ. We have so little to complain about in comparison! Yes we may deal with people speaking falsely about us, or being insincere-but this is nothing in comparison to being beaten for simple faith in the gospel.
We have a sure hope that is secure in our loving God who is in control and has promised to work everything out according to His plan for the good of those who love Him!