We haven't forgotten our goal of finding people to be baptized. Although it feels like we are always running from place to place, the Lord puts people in our path. As we were getting into our car in Lira, President Collings called to a man who was walking by the church. He asked if he knew this church. The man said he walks by it every day. Then President asked if he'd ever been inside. He said he had not, and was promptly invited in. He was introduced to the missionaries, and his whole countenance changed. He said he was interested in learning more and will come to church there on Sunday. We aren't sure how we will meet our goal, but the Lord knows our heart, and we really believe that we need to set an example for our missionaries.
Our next stop was Mbale. We had training planned for that evening for the Mbale Branch Council. It was an extremely long day of driving, I think 8 hours total from Kampala. The last time we went to Mbale it was raining hard, and then was overcast the whole time we were there. This time it was clear, and the landscape is so much different from the rest of the country. They have amazing mountain views!
I couldn't get enough pictures. There was also a village we passed by on our way to Mbale that is right at the base of a mountain. As we drove past it, I could see that there were people all over the mountain breaking rock into gravel by hand. There were small piles all over the place.
It was so interesting to see. I also saw fields of rice and corn growing.
As we got into Mbale, I guess it was time for school to be out and everyone was walking home. I took a picture of all the school kids, then we turned the corner and there were so many more! It was amazing.
There was quite a group of people waiting for us when we arrived at the Mbale Chapel. We had training again, and every auxiliary of the branch was represented. It went very well. After the meeting, there were around 8-10 people who needed interviews from President Collings. Because they are not a stake yet, Steve is the person they go to for any stake business, like temple recommends, priesthood advancements, submitting mission papers, etc. We only get to these outer branches every 6 weeks or so, so they have quite a few things lined up when we get there. We were at the chapel until late into the night.
The next morning we had interviews for our Mbale missionaries. President Collings has said that he really feels like he is being blessed. He is still new, and doesn't know the missionaries very well, but when he sits down with the missionaries he receives impressions as to which questions to ask. He understands what they may be struggling with. It's one of those tender mercies of the Lord with this calling.
We had training in Busia that same evening with the Branch Council. Busia is on place in Uganda we haven't been yet. When we came for zone conferences, the Busia elders came to Mbale. Busia is a border town. It sits right on the border of Kenya, an hour and a half outside of Mbale. We thought while we were there that we could find a hotel. When we looked online, the hotels on the Uganda side were poorly rated, but there was a 5 star rated hotel on the Kenya side. Unfortunately it costs $50 each to cross the border and permission from our church leaders in South Africa. We decided it would be easier to just find another hotel. We were told that there were possibilities in Tororo Uganda, and had a room reserved at Green Meadows resort.
The training went well again. There were representatives from every auxiliary. Again, after the training, there were interviews that needed to be done. We didn't get out of the church until after dark.
Busia Branch Council
Agnes and Jackie
Then we had to drive 40 minutes to Tororo, to a hotel we have never been to. Addresses in Uganda are very hard to find. There aren't a lot of house numbers. It was just listed as a hotel on a certain road. We called and got directions, but that doesn't always go well. It was very dark, there are diesels coming toward you with their lights on, on their way to the border, and there are still people walking up and down the roads in the dark. It's very hard to see them. Luckily we made it. It was clean, and they had a restaurant where we could eat before going to bed.
The next day we were able to visit with the Busia Elders. They are doing really well here.
We drove back to Kampala that same day, and decided that Saturday needed to be a day off. We had been busy every day for two weeks straight. It is really starting to feel like home in Kampala, and we were able to get some much needed R&R.
On Sunday we decided to go to our Kololo ward. That is the ward where the mission home is located. We have been so busy attending all of the mission branches, that we haven't been to this ward yet. We have been teaching an investigator, and this week, he and his cousin came to church. It was so fun to see his excitement. He had his Book of Mormon, which he says he takes everywhere with him now. He also had a red marking pencil, and throughout the meetings he would look up the scriptures that were discussed, and would highlight them. He asked lots of questions. I really loved going to this ward. It felt a lot like home. The Kampala Stake is very strong, and it's really neat to see the Gospel growing from this strong foundation. We were excited to see that our missionaries were on the program to speak. Two were invited to give their testimonies, and two others gave a talk. They ALL did very well! We love these missionaries!
Later that evening the investigator came to our home for dinner and another lesson. He said that as they left the meeting, his cousin turned to him and said, we really need to be baptized into this church! There is a baptismal date scheduled for them on September 11th. We are all excited.
It has been a very good week. Monday we leave for meetings in Johannesburg. I'm so excited to see our friends who are serving as mission presidents throughout Southeast Africa. We were really able to make a connection with them at the MTC in Provo. Now 2 months into our missions, it will really be neat to see how things are going for them.