We had officially been in Uganda for 7 whole days! Eeks - it was going by so fast and yet so slow at the same time! We all woke up to get ready for church - church in Uganda starts at 7am... and it can go all day... We didn't show up until 9am and they had reserved seats for us up front. There was a lot of singing and dancing and waving of banners and loud whistles. It was more of a celebration. It was awesome. The thing that I loved about the African people, is that it really doesn't matter if they can sing or if they're on tune - they really just shout for joy to the Lord. Literally. We were also able to partake in communion with them. It was so lovely. I was hoping that we could hear Pastor James - the head pastor of COTN speak but they had a guest speaker - kind of the Dave Ramsey of Uganda. He has books and everything.. It was very interesting and kind of hard to follow because he was speaking in English and then there was a translator speaking in Luo.. it was wonderful, blissful, chaos. Like no church service I've ever been to!
Our "family" after church on sunday
top (L-R) Brian, me, Naomi, Meghan, Steph, Julie, Papa Dave
bottom (L-R) Michelle, Brittany, Oseana, Shelby, Jamie, Michelle, Mama Jean and Amber
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
Some of Jimmy's sweet family
Sunday lunch.. I bet you were wondering what we ate - well you were right - rice and beans and the yummiest peanut sauce you'll ever eat..
A little post-church, post-lunch nap
After church and lunch we were scheduled to visit the local hospital, we were a bunch of nurses after all. We were informed that we had actually not been approved to visit the hospital in Lira and there was a quick change of plans... imagine a complete 180 from the hospital.. That's right - I know you were thinking it already - we were going to visit a prison instead... Pastor Richard - another volunteer with COTN knows the warden of the prison SHE goes to Truth Fountain Church also. I know a lot of people - but talk about an inter webs of people knowing other people! They know people all over! And not just know "of" them, but know them! And she was like legit military. Anywho... the prison.. So change of plans. Um, sure, okay. A prison!? But we were assured of our safety and that Pastor Richard frequented the prison often and it was not a high security prison.. (we had passed a prison earlier in the week where certain detainees - if you will - were allowed to go to the market as part of privelages) Most of the boys were in for fights and theft - also in Uganda you are guilty until proven innocent. So the closer we got, the less reserved I felt. I was definitely nervous, but up for anything. As nervous as we were, and made even more nervous when we weren't allowed to bring anything in with us except for our Bibles and all the boys were in the courtyard and there weren't many smiles... We were all piled into a small meeting room and we were placed to sit in front of all these boys and men and it was just a moment of umm.. what next!? There was no plan.. (note: there is hardly ever a plan set in stone - such came the term TIA - this is Africa - you just go with it..) So we were encouraged to share our testimony, or a word of encouragement - and when I tell you that the holy spirit just took over and led our little get together - he took over y'all. I myself did not speak but I know listening to everyone speak I was just blown away. I wish that I could've video taped or at least taken pictures - Shelby - one of the coolest chicks you'll ever meet - y'all I couldn't tell you two words that she said at this point but it was not from her and she knew it wasn't from her, and we knew it wasn't her but I was speechless and there wasn't a whole lot to say after that. So we did the next best thing - we sang songs. And that was wonderful. Here we were in a place, in a room and we couldn't understand one another but God knew our hearts. It was so awesome to listen to them make wonderful music with their adungu's - a type of harp that had a soprano, alto and bass and some drums... And many of the men came forward to be saved. This unplanned, kind of unwanted (just keeping it honest) trip to the prison became one of my favorite things that we did in Lira.
The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound:
We spent the evening and ate dinner at the Children's home.