This past week I got to follow my cousin Leland around and I got to experience the ministry that he helps run. Every minute of it was mentally exhausting, but it wasn’t an unpleasant exhaustion. I’m in a culture that I’m not used to seeing especially smell, sound, and even behavior on a regular basis. I went to a village in Dokolo this weekend with Leland and some of the people he works with in the ministry. The purpose going to the village was to share a method of how to lead a bible study with pastors and families. Then they could spread to their village about the bible study.
The village we went to was in the bush of Uganda away from the trading centers. When we got there no one had showed up at the church and people were supposed to be there when we got there. We waited for everyone to show up but while we were waiting I had some cultural experiences! The village served us breakfast. They served us sweet potatoes and tea. The sweet potatoes they served don’t look like the ones in the U.S.; they look like potatoes but imagine them sweet.
In Uganda if you see two men or women holding hands in public it does not mean they are together. It’s just saying that they are great friends in that friendship and/or if they want to talk about something with that person they hold hands. It is very rude to take your hand away from the person trying to hold your hand when they want to talk to you. A girl who was between 17 to 19 years old shook my hand but she didn’t let go of it. At that moment, I did not know exactly what was happening. After she asked me to go on a walk with her. Well after a minute into our walk we were a good distance from the village. All I could think about was “I’m holding hands with a girl and I’m getting farther and farther away from the village.” I was thankful that Leland called me so I had an excuse to go back to the village. But she wanted to buy sweets for me, which is a big deal because she was buying me something instead of me. I got back to the village and they already started so I went inside and sat down.
Leland and JP took turns talking about the purpose of the Discovery Bible Study and how to use it. After they finished talking, they made bible study groups so we could help them understand the study. It was frustrating at times because I felt like we weren’t going anywhere with the study. People would be too scared to say the wrong thing, they wouldn’t stay on the passage we were discussing, or they didn’t have an answer of their own but what they had heard before. They would say truths about God, but they would say it out of context and it wouldn’t be related to the passage we read.
The language barrier was a tough because Leland nor I knew if the people in our group were translating what we wanted them to translate. At one point, we had a four-way translation, which was funny (including my cousin translating English to American for me). After the study, we had lunch around 3:00 pm and they served us posho, sweet potatoes, chicken (one that they killed that day), cow peas. Which it doesn’t look very appetizing but the taste was great. We left for the hotel when we were done eating and all of us were exhausted so we relaxed for the rest of the time. The next day was more bible studies but with other people leading the study.