On Monday some of the missionaries had arranged to play soccer with some of the members of the church here in Kololo. They were all meeting at the Kololo church, and President Collings wanted to enjoy some soccer with the missionaries. We went to the church at 10:00, where there were a few people already, and waited for the rest to trickle in. While they were waiting, somebody pulled out a basketball and they started a 3 on 3 basketball game. President Collings, 2 missionaries, and 3 members. They played for quite a long time, and really had a good workout.
Once all the missionaries arrived, and changed they all started walking to the field. Silly me, I thought they were going to play on the grass at the church... I forget how important a game of soccer is here in Africa.
When they got to the soccer field, I was shocked at how huge it was! It's tucked behind a school, and on the other side is a steep drop off to one of the busy roads here in Kampala. You would never see it from the road. We have some very talented missionaries! It was so fun to watch them play. Once in a while, the ball was kicked out of bounds and you'd see it bouncing around on the road below. It was pretty funny. After a few hours with the missionaries, we went to the office to get some work done.
On Tuesday and Wednesday we had interviews at the mission home again. After the interviews, we have been feeding pizza to the missionaries. It's pretty funny when you look at the all the rubbish after 4 days of interviews. I call this our tower of shame.
I have loved these interviews so much. President gets to talk with each of the missionaries one on one, but the Assistants and I have asked questions, and one by one the missionaries have shared spiritual experiences with us. I'm growing to know each of them better, learning of their sacrifices, their challenges, their joys, their families. President has said that while he is talking with them, several have told him that he is quoting phrases from their Patriarchal Blessings. We finish the day and both Steve and I say, "Wow, that was Amazing!"
We left after interviews on Wednesday and drove to Jinja. We met with the Assistants for dinner at a fun restaurant called The Keep. We really enjoy the time we are able to spend with these missionaries. They are such great leaders in our mission. And they really like milkshakes.
Our room in Jinja was at a fun hotel called Two Friends Resort. It's quiet, and feels very African. We stayed here for two nights while we had interviews for the Jinja and Iganga Zones. The last time we were here in Jinja, we had a senior couple who made lunch for all the missionaries. They have returned home from their mission, and I wasn't sure what we should do to feed these two groups. One of the Assistants told me that there is a pizza restaurant in town (why not?), he even ordered it and picked it up for me, because they don't deliver. That will be day number 5 serving pizza to them, haha! I'm gaining back the weight I lost!
I have really enjoyed talking with the sisters after our meetings. I usually get the same questions, "How will I know who to marry?" "How did you two meet?" "Is it possible to live happily ever after?" I always have a prayer in my heart that the advice I give will help them. Some don't have any other example of what a husband and wife should be. I asked one sister to tell me about her family, and she said she lives with her grandma. No mom, dad, or siblings. We talked about how this mission will help her to learn to get along with a roommate, and learn to deal with disagreements, and challenges. Because every relationship takes work, she may not have the happily ever after that they show in Fairy tales, but she can be married, and raise a family, and experience more joy than she has ever known.
I did have a fun experience in Jinja. I have been praying to be able to have a missionary experience. President Collings talks to a lot of people, and has 2 who he has been teaching that will be baptized next month. I know them well, and have been so happy to see them progress, but honestly if President Collings had not approached them, I wouldn't have, and they still would not know about the Gospel. I wanted to have that experience for myself, but I'm a little more timid about approaching people. In Jinja, I had a man approach me and asked about my name tag. Deep breath, this was it. I just started to tell him about what we believe. We had a very nice conversation. He told me that he lives close by the church, and always wondered what we believe. He has a family with 5 children. I gave him a booklet about the Plan of Salvation, and he gave me his phone number and said he would like to have the missionaries come to his home and teach him more. I was so excited. I wish he lived closer so I could actually see him being taught, but I passed his information on to our missionaries in the area. I just felt like this was such a tender mercy. It was a good day.
After our last interviews in Bugembe, I wanted to snap a picture of the group. It was pretty funny, the security guard at the church stood in the picture. I didn't mind, but then he approached me afterwards and asked if he could see the picture. I pulled it up on my IPad, and he said, "Why am I not smiling?" I said, "I don't know, why aren't you?" He said, "I thought I was!" Haha. I asked if he wanted me to take another picture of him smiling and he said, "Yes, please." I took it, he looked at it and was happy, and then left. He didn't even ask for a copy. It was pretty funny.
I'm getting used to the crazy things we see when we drive now. It was pretty funny as we were driving home from Jinja, Steve says, "Wow, look at that!" I looked out the front window of the vehicle and didn't exactly know what I was supposed to look at. We were behind a HUGE diesel piled high with Matoke, there was a taxi, which is a van that had about 50 live chickens tied to the top of it which was passing the diesel on a solid yellow line (maybe a car was coming from the other direction?). There was a bota-bota on the left side of the road with a chest freezer strapped to the back, and on the right side of the road there was a woman walking down the side of the road with a baby strapped on her back and a HUGE bag of something that was on her head. I had no idea which of the many things I saw that he was referring to. We both just started laughing. I guess it was the freezer on the back of the bota. But you really see so many crazy things ALL the TIME. I'm glad I have been writing it down, because it's becoming our new normal.
I don't usually have my camera with me for the best shots, but here are a few fun pictures I've been able to snap.
One more fun memory. While we were driving to Jinja, we were stopped by a police officer. Police here in Jinja are dressed in white uniforms and stand just to the side of the road. If they see you doing something wrong, they raise their hand for you to stop. You pull over and receive your ticket or your lecture. Haha. On this trip, Steve pulled over, he wasn't doing anything wrong. They looked at his license and let us go. At the beginning of our mission, we drove past a police officer, she stepped forward and waved her hand, and Steve waved back and kept going. He mentioned how friendly people are here in Uganda. A couple of miles up the road another police officer was standing in the middle of the road with both of her hands up stopping us. He pulled the car over and rolled down his window. She said she didn't know what he had done, but the previous officer had called her and told her to stop us. The officer called her boss and said she stopped us, now what should she do? He asked to speak with Steve. Steve apologized for not pulling over before and told him that he just thought the officer was being friendly. They let him off with a warning and a chuckle. Steve promised he would stop in the future when a police officer waved to him.