Monday seems like an eternity ago, but it was only 2 days! I think it is because so much happens in one day that should happen over a few days span! What I love during the week is that we have morning devotions with the hotel staff. That is one of my favorite things to do. To start the day in praise, worship, prayer and devotion with my family here at the hotel is so inspiring. Normally, the person in charge of the program asks if I want to bring the Word. If I have a team then we share together. Yet I had not talked to anyone beforehand since I arrived on Friday. But when I walked in, one of the ladies approached me and asked if I would share. Again, always needing to be prepared, I shared the song, Giants Fall. But this time because it was a teaching time, I shared from 1 Samuel 17 that is the account of David & Goliath. The key verses were 1 Samuel 17:11 & 45 :
11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.
45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
Our focus was on the fact that Saul & the Israelites faced the Giant they were terrified and deeply shaken. They were intimidated by the height, the armor and the threats made by a man. But David looked at the same Giant and was not afraid because he came in the name of the Lord. He knew that God was with him.
This story of David & Goliath not only impacted the people in the fellowship that morning. It has been encouraging us all through this short week that I am here. The reminder that no matter what we face in our life, no matter how big the “Giant” seems to be, we face it IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HEAVEN’S ARMIES! God is on our side. This simple truth from His Word is giving people a renewed sense of courage and boldness. I am watching people come alive in front of my very eyes. Nothing is impossible with God on our side!
Robert Otile has been in contact with the owners of the home trying to work out the exchange of the keys to the house. There are also issues of previous tenants and making sure we do not inherit any of their outstanding balances. I am so thankful for Robert as he is taking care of all of our legal paperwork and dealings with the owners. Things are done different here in Uganda and I have been blessed to have him take care of us in this way.
I needed to stay close by the hotel as we waited. So I took a boda boda to town to see some of my friends. I was able to do a little shopping at the shop of my friend, Faith. We looked across the street at the newly remodeled building where our friend, Rita used to have her shop. Faith’s comment was how much she misses having Rita there & how much Rita is struggling to care for her family. But she also shared how concerned she is for their own shop. There was talk that their building as well may be sold to make way for other businesses. To hear the concern in her voice brought a concern to my heart. A shutting down of a business means no food on the table, literally. Please be in prayer especially for our friends here in Jinja town.
Godfrey met me in town to drive us back to the hotel. As we walked passed the vendors that made “Raining Hope” bracelets for me in July, the shouted, “KISAKYE!” It surprised Godfrey that they were calling me by my African name! It surprised me that they remembered my name at all! They were standing ready to make more for me!
Then I received an unexpected and totally unrelated blessing. Godfrey & I went back to the hotel for lunch. For those new to the updates, I want to first give you a little history. The hotel next door is called, “Sunset Hotel.” I take teams there at least once as the view of the sunset is one of the most beautiful I have seen. I saw on the menu they had chinese food, but wondered how good chinese food could be in Africa! When I travel I always like to eat the cultural food of the area. Yet, since I began coming more often, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try it. Wow! To my amazement, it was the BEST chinese food I have ever had! Really. Those who have come with me to Uganda you know what I am talking about! So all these years, I make sure I have at least one chinese meal at Sunset.
The hotel I stay at starting serving chinese food a couple of years ago. It is good but not as good as next door. Sunset Hotel is a sister hotel to ours so it surprised me that it was so different. Still, at lunch I tried to order chinese food for the past couple of days but the chef who could cook it was not around. It was not a big deal, but my friend, Selevus who is the Food & Beverage manager wanted to take care of me. So he said, “ I am going to arrange to have the chinese food chef come over from Sunset to cook for me!” I couldn’t believe it. But it gets even more amazing.
I have been trying to figure out what makes the food so good. I thought there must be some African spice they add that is giving it the unique flavor. So when I asked Selevus if I could just meet the chef so I could see what ingredients he uses, he was more than willing to have me go to the kitchen to inquire of him. The cook is an elderly African man who I learned has over 30 years of experience with cooking these kinds of food. Not only was he willing to share what he used, but he had me stay in the kitchen so he could show me how he cooks the meal! It was like being in the kitchen with Bobby Flay and being given personal cooking lessons! I tell you this story because this is really unheard of. Because of my relationship with the hotel, no one even looked twice to see me standing in the kitchen with all of the cooks, following this African man from station to station. Only God. I’m amazed.
This man’s name is Mutete. He was so kind to me. Gentle at heart and smile a mile wide! To my amazement he said, “Tomorrow come and I will teach you how to cook sizzling plate! Then next day I will teach you sweet and sour fish!” I just wanted to know what ingredients he used. God gave me a bonus and I had 3 days worth of valuable cooking lessons during our lunch hour. I was overwhelmed not because I now have the secrets of the dishes! I was overwhelmed at the truth of Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in him and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It was all just a bonus for me.
But then I left our lunch and went to the home to spend the rest of the day with the kids. We were having a great time of just fellowship and sharing. Then the questions they asked started to take a funny turn. They had been reading all of the letters that Desiree Vigo’s 3rd graders had sent. Desiree had done something brilliant. She printed out questionnaires on stationary with questions that all her 3rd graders had to do was fill in their answers. The questions were things like, name, age, favorite color, favorite food etc. Who would have thought the answers to “what is your favorite food,” would be so intriguing! Someone raised their hand and said, “Aunty Eydie, what is a hot dog?” I stopped and thought to myself, “what?” Then it was as if God opened up a new part of the Ugandan part of my brain! What proceeded from there humbled me but also filled the room with so much laughter! They wanted to know what a hamburger was. When I said it was like a sandwich...then the question was, “what is a sandwich?” Bacon, ham, lemonade, ice tea, root beer...were all on the list. I tried my best to explain what they were. It was the most interesting experience for me to try to explain what a hot dog was. They has already asked Godfrey the day before. Godfrey joked with them and told them it was an actual dog that was too hot to touch! That did not help the matters! We take those foods for granted. Try yourself to explain those items to someone! Try to explain, “ice cream.” I had a hard time with that one. So Godfrey & Henry spoke up and said, “That one I think we have to be practical!” I did not know what that meant. Basically it meant that we can only understand what ice cream is by experiencing it ourselves! Godfrey said that we can theorize about it or just be practical and eat it! So the next day, we picked up some ice cream cups from the market and practically ate them!!!! The next day I also came back with pictures from the internet of all of those items they asked about. You should have seen their eyes filled with wonder as for most of them they had never seen any of them. I asked them when we got to “hamburger” if they knew what McDonald’s was. All of them responded with a puzzled look and a “no.” Amazing isn’t it? But as I thought about it, they eat posho, beans, rice and at times chicken or beef on rare occasion. They know pineapples because they are plentiful here. They use onions, tomatoes, cabbage & carrots. And of course they know fish. But there would have been no reason they would know what all those foods are we eat. It was so humbling and it bonded us together even further as we celebrated the differences in our cultures. The amazing thing was, they didn’t show any signs of envy or disappointment when they saw the pictures. They were happy to see what the items were I so poorly was trying to describe the day before! They laughed at some of the pictures and I told them they weren’t missing much! We laughed and we laughed. But it caused me to love these kids even deeper.
The next part of the day was the best part. I am going to send this update off to you while I write about it. It deserves its own section. I have been having internet issues the past couple of days as the network was acting up. But this update is long enough to keep your reading for awhile!
A funny thought to leave you with...
When Godfrey and I picked up the ice cream the next day, he had a confession. He said, “Aunty Eydie I have only had ice cream twice in my life. The first time I tasted it it was TOO COLD. I didn’t like it. TOO COLD. So I decided to let it sit for awhile to warm up and not be so cold. But then when I went back to it, it became like soup. Ah! It didn’t taste good. I couldn’t eat it !” We laughed so hard! I told him you have to eat it cold! He said, “I found that out...but it is still too cold! We celebrate the differences in our cultures! What a blessing for me to be a part of both!
Overwhelmed by His Grace,