Reflections on our life and lessons in uganda
So we wanted to get this blog post up in order keep everyone informed on what happened here in Gulu last night. Late in the evening right as we were getting into bed, we started to hear distant pops that sounded a little more like firecrackers than gunshots. After about two minutes they got close enough to tell for sure that it was gunfire.
Thankfully the Nolley’s, whose guesthouse we are staying in, have a night guard on their compound, so we had eyes on the situation from the beginning. That was probably the scariest part of the night because right after we were able to tell that it was for sure gunfire, Martin (the guard) closed our windows, so then I thought there was someone trying to get into our room. I spent about 2 minutes being terrified from that point then after nerves cooled a little and we were able to walk across to the Nolleys house for two reasons. One because the door on the guest house is busted so it doesn’t lock, and two because they have three kids to worry about so Kent was comforted to have another pair of able hands and Becca was grateful to have Kristin here in case she needed help getting the kids out. We prayed and waited in the dark house. We wound up spending the night on the night on the Nolley’s couches and everything passed just fine. After 50 minutes of intense gunfire and firefights coming up and down our street plus about 2 hours of sporadic machine gun fire afterwards, the sun came up today on a peaceful morning.
So the news sources here are not the most reliable in the world, but here is what we know, though not all of makes perfect sense. The fighting started at a bank, and it was first thought that there was a bank robbery and subsequent chase. The next report that we heard was that there was an assault on the central police station in town.
Apparently back in May there was an attack by an upcoming rebel group on a police armory where eight guns were taken. This is potentially related. Also a few weeks ago the government arrested a member of the Uganda People Congress on suspicion of planning a government coup. Also probably related.
From reading as much as we can and putting it together, this seems to be the prevailing story. The government arrested this guy, and his supporters came up with a plan to rescue him. So they hit the armory first to get themselves armed, then assaulted the police station where he was being held in order to break him out, but were thwarted by police. The gunfight ensued through the streets of Gulu and hours afterward the sporadic fire was probably armed night guards letting people know not to mess with their places. Somehow there was a bank related in these events, but no one really seems to know how that fits into the mess.
The one road going out of Gulu to the south is currently closed at the Nile bridge, so no one can go in or out.
God protected us and saw us through the night, there should be little to worry about now. We don’t have reports of any innocent people injured by the events but with hundreds of rounds fired, chances are there are a few casualties. Pray for them and their families, and for the safety of the police. Also please pray for Terebinth Ministries, today is the first day of this month’s class that we have been working up too and spending all our time preparing for, and I believe the timing is not a coincidence. Also please pray for our team as last night was the cherry on top of a bad week for some of our folks, and discouragement is so easy to fall into.
We are so blessed to be able to be here. We thank everyone who prayed for us and continues to pray for us. The world is full of darkness but light has come into the world! It's such an honor to serve our great King Jesus! :)
Yesterday we made the long trek from Kampala to Gulu. It was somehow one of the most stressful and enjoyable drives I’ve ever made.
Stressful because driving in Uganda is not for the faint of heart; really it’s a sport for adrenaline junkies. As soon as we left the parking lot of the hotel where we enjoyed the weekend after graduation we had people trying to kill us at every angle. You can’t go a foot down the road without 14 boda-boda (motorcycle drivers) cutting you off and almost removing your sideview mirrors with their heads, but you better go that foot down the road because if you leave a foot of space between cars someone is going to squeeze a 14 passenger taxi in there.
But one of the most enjoyable drives ever for a few reasons. First because it was great quality time spent with Kristin where we could really enjoy each others company. We spent the five and a half hour drive laughing about the things we saw, how driving here is so different than driving in the states, how you never see a military truck with 3 guys sitting on top behind loaded .50 cal machine guns driving down I-70, and if you did you would never pass it (I did). How two people can spend five months living in the close quarters of a small round hut, but still be able to laugh together and desire to be around each other is not a testimony to us at all but to God’s work in our marriage. It was enjoyable because we were going somewhere we’ve never been before, but we know that God has some work for us to do. There’s excitement when we know that we aren’t just moving somewhere for a home or a job but because the first priority here is ministry; man, that is enough to get me amped up. And finally it was super enjoyable because of the scenery. I think of all the places in the world, God has called us to one of the most beautiful. We were on a road paved only this last year though lands basically untouched by human influence, thick lush forrests, and dense swamps for miles, some hills, some mountains, some flatlands, more trees in 100 square feet than Colorado has in the whole state HA. But the most beautiful spot was where the road crossed the Nile river. Just upstream, we could see about a 20 foot waterfall coming down over jagged rocks and where the pillars of the bridge when into the water there were 10 foot swells in the rapids, with amazing jungle overhanging the waters edge. AND MONKEYS! right on the side of the road we saw only one chimp, but its the species that is known for breaking into Kent and Becca’s house, so who knows what more we will see while we’re here. We also saw about 4 dozen or so baboon, so that was pretty great; just a gentle reminder that the creatures we share this beautiful area with can rip our arms out and eat us for lunch…
So Gulu is a really beautiful town, by far the lasgest town in northern Uganda and one of the biggest in the whole country, and it’s growing fast. Kent has shown us arround town just a little bit, it’s all still confusing to get around, obviously, and we’ve met a few of the folks involved in the ministry. Kristine is the Nolleys day security, Adam works security at night, Jimmy is one the disciples with Terebinth who assist Kent with teaching the monthly class. Later on today, we are planning to meet Pastor Fred who leads Calvary Chapel Gulu, the church that Terebinth ministries is under. Kent has three different ministries he wants us to get our eyes on and pray specifically about a vision of what God would have us to do here in Gulu, and how we should be getting plugged in with the small group of missionaries from around the world here in Gulu and plugged in to Calvary Gulu, and to the different ministries that could use help and support. Since we just got here yesterday, there isn’t really much else to say, it’s all a little overwhelming still. We are certainly happy to be here in Gulu and feel like we’ve reached our destination that we set out for so long ago. We are pleased to be a part of what God is doing here.
Kent shared with us this morning some of the vision of Terebinth and what sets it apart from the church that it supports and what I found very interesting is the simplicity of the vision. We are not chasing after big dreams of school and church networks accross Uganda, but we have something much easier in mind. Kent’s vision for Terebinth and what we so easily fall in line with is to 1. Simply teach the Bible, and teach how to teach the Bible 2. Disciple 3. Serve. Teach, disciple, and serve. It’s exactly the pattern we see that Jesus takes with His twelve disciples in the gospels, and it is even evident throughout Acts and the epistles. It is what we are well equipped for and frankly I think if it was more complicated than that we would be stepping outside of what God has called us to everywhere we go. It fits so perfectly into the great commission and God’s commission on our lives.
Even with this clear agenda ahead of us, it is easy to feel a lot of uncertainty of what our future in Uganda is going to hold. But, one thing is sure “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”