It's so good to be back again!
(THIS ENTRY WAS WRITTEN ON SUNDAY)
The short story:
We had a long and exhausting trip up to Karamoja yesterday, with some of us not even arriving until this morning.
I am very thankful that it was not worse, and that no one was hurt.
It's wonderful to be back with everyone here.
For rest as we recover from a very eventful trip.
For peace as I adjust to being back on the mission and settle back into my banda.
For picking up relationships as I get back to work here.
The LONG story:
I suspect that some of you have already heard what an adventure I have had as I've traveled back to Karamoja. I am very thankful for all of your prayers, we have all arrived safely back here.
I am exhausted, and the only reason I am writing this now is that there are people who will want an update at morning worship at my sending church. I have had a good night of sleep last night, back in my own bed, and a blessed Lord's Day morning. It was so wonderful to greet my friends here, and especially exciting to see the children in church. They had some songs prepared to share with us after morning worship, and they did a beautiful job.
My trip started four days ago with a great send-off by my Wednesday night Young Adults group. My family saw me off to my first flight to London, and I got five hours of sleep! I made my connection in Heathrow with no trouble, bypassing the long security line and arriving at my gate even before boarding started. Once I was onboard, I was able to greet Dr. Jim and Jenny Knox, and their little one, Eoin. I tried my best to stay awake, since I knew I would be arriving in Entebbe at 11:00 PM local time. I watched a few movies, and chatted with my neighbor, who had been in NY attached to President Museveni's trip to the UN. When we arrived in Entebbe, we were able to collect all of our luggage, after they took our temperature to make sure we were not sick. We met up with Pastor Al and Chris Verdick who had come to pick us up.
The next morning, Pastor Al, Erika, and I were going to try and make it all the way up to Karamoja. However, after lunching in Jinja, the roads were congested, and the rain was reported to be heavy. So when we reached Mbale Pastor Al decided it was too late in the day to start the next leg of our trip and we spent the night at the Sunrise Inn.
This is where the adventure really begins, or stops, depending on how you look at it. We left Mbale by about 10:30AM, with the other car, including the Knoxs and Verdicks. We made great time until we entered Karamoja about two hours later. This is when I started to lose track of time. First we were waiting to see if the trucks that were stuck in the mud in front of us would be able to get out. We spent some time trying to pull them part of the way, and evaluating a passage off to the side of the road. Then we tried to go around the trucks, and one car made it through, but mine got stuck, up to its axles. The women and babies got into that one, and drove to the next tough spot. Then Erika and I walked back to the other car to get some things we'd left behind, and stretch our legs. When we got back, it was starting to rain, but we were going to drive through the next stretch of mud. We all walked through ahead of the car, except for Jim who was driving. It got stuck on the side of the road, but Jesse had come from the Mission and between digging and pulling they got it out. The rain had stopped, so with Jenny driving, the women got in, while the men went back to try and help the other stuck car.
We were through the worst of the mud, but there was still some, so Jenny was being cautious. She mentioned that it felt like she was overcompensating a lot for the mud, but it wasn't until we lost all steering as we were coming through a soggy place and ended up slowing to a stop that we realized we had lost the tie rod on the driver's side. This story is already long enough, so suffice it to say that Pastor Dave, Bobby, and Josh came from the mission, and after they had tried to fix it for a while, we just ended up getting into one of their cars for Chloe to drive us, while they clamped and tied up the tie rod and slowly drove it the rest of the way.
Pastor Al, Jesse, Chris and Jim tried to get the other car out, with assistance from a tractor, but there were too many cars in the way for them to get home that night. Chris and Jim came back in Jesse's car, with the valuables, and Pastor Al and Jesse spent the night with the car, arriving back this morning after morning worship.