Riots, Fires, and the National Anthem… The last 24 hours of my trip!
There I was, sitting in an internet café in center city Kampala the day before I was to fly home. I had just sent all of you my “Leaving on a Jet Plane” email stating how my trip had ended as quietly as it had begun and that I would be home soon. Little did I know! I had no sooner hit the send button then my friend Rhona came running into the building, “Papa! Papa! We must hurry and leave the city; there are riots breaking out!”
Wow! Never been in a riot before – this will be a first! We rushed to the car and had no problem getting out of the city; but as we had to circle back to take the road to Rhona’s house, we began to encounter road blocks (yes, I was driving!) – some were official set up by the military to control traffic back into the city, others were randomly set fires to add to the confusion of the protest (in one round-about, there was a tractor trailer completely engulfed in flames), and still there were others just taking advantage of the disruption to set up their own little toll booth operations… 1,000 shillings here and 2,000 there (approx one US dollar). After many such road blocks and a number of fires and detours, when we were almost home, we encountered a block with a huge fire and a great crowd of people yelling, shouting, clapping, crowding around and pressing in on our car. I did not sense an atmosphere of anger and hostility but more like a pep rally of sorts.
They were yelling something in their own language so I had no clue what they were saying until I asked Rhona, who was by then in tears of frustration. She said “They want us to sing!”
“To sing?” I said, “sing what?”
“They want us to sing the National Anthem to their King.”
“That’s it and they will let us go?”
“Yes Papa but we can’t!”
“No, no, Rhona, we must!”
So we got out of the car to the wildly cheering approval of the crowd and joined them in the singing of their National Anthem. Of course I had no clue what I was singing but there was an older gentlemen right in front of me that was singing very enthusiastically, and so I just mimicked his mouth movements and even his body movements and hand gestures (I was probably getting in to it a bit more than I needed to!). The crowd went wild, laughing, clapping and cheering. With the final refrain, we were on our way and soon home!
My flight was not until late the following night and the airport is well out of harm’s way, so it seemed best to slip out of town at daybreaks before things cranked back up – it worked like a charm. I spent the day in the lobby of an airport hotel and the long flight home was extremely welcomed and very peaceful.
“For He will give His angels charge over you and to guard you in all your ways” Ps. 91.11.
Let me conclude this by sharing with you how special it is to me to be partnered with you in this mission. As you can see by the riot story, that as you pray for me, you never know how essential that prayer is at any given moment. So thank you for keeping me covered. And as many of you share financially, the “return on investment” is huge as we literally are transforming the course of people’s lives. God is expanding my vision for Uganda and for Rwanda. In a subsequent email, I’ll share some of that vision. But with increased vision and opportunity, there comes increased need for financial resources.
For those of you that stand by us financially on aregular basis – I deeply, deeply thank you. For those who have not yet been able to help, will you please consider a onetime donation or regular monthly support and/or consider the sponsorship of a child. A full sponsorship is $100.00 per month. This allows us to send a child to a very good school, provide all of his clothing, school supplies, medical needs and food for one full year (Partial sponsorships are very welcomed!). If you commit to a full sponsorship, I will send you the name, picture, and profile of the student; and then you and your family can send letters, pictures, and gifts to that child, and the child to you.
We currently have the loving care for 37 orphans;
we have identified another group of about 15 that we would like to add to the “family” in January.
Let me know if you have further questions about sponsorship and/or if you would like to get started.
A reply to this email will come right to my desk.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you in fullest measure …
Gratefully His …
– Pastor Gary
A Special Thank You Note … to Karen Ruby and her team at Signature Advertising of Denver CO for making these emails look so great and for getting them out to you … you guys are the best!