Uganda Update #2 - Welcome to the Village

Afoyo (“Hello” in Acholi),
Our first 10 days as residents of Lalogi have been nothing short of amazing. The people are so warm and inviting, and their hospitality is unlike any we have ever seen. We’ve had village leaders, elders, pastors, traditional dance groups and so many others stop by to introduce themselves, offer us some helpful tips for village life or drop off a meal. We’ve been given a chicken (alive and clucking - we were thankful for our translators, Douglas and Clare, who did the dirty work, if you know what I mean...), greens, local nuts, sweet potatoes and little treats in between. All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better welcome. We’ve met so many wonderful people, and already, in just our second full week, our days are full of meetings with a number of different people who want to discuss everything from the Bible to struggles within their churches to just getting to know us. It’s such a blessing to have all of these people around as we get settled into village life.
Nicole put it well this week, “Everything about village life is so simple, but nothing is easy.” We walk about a mile round-trip to get water each day, cook over a little charcoal stove that’s no more than 10 inches in diameter, walk miles to visit some of our neighbors and live by a small lantern every night once the sun goes down. However, there’s a certain beauty in the difficulties. It’s life -- raw and genuine. There’s no time for superficiality. The usual frustrations of life -- traffic jams, time constraints, slow internet connections, and busy, stressful schedules -- don’t exist here. Everything just moves a little more slowly. And the stars are completely indescribable. Overall, we’re making it quite well. Of course, most of our success can be attributed to Douglas and Clare. Undoubtedly, they are the reason that we make it through most days with more than just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat. They’ve been so patient to enlighten us in everything from cooking to knot-tying to speaking Acholi. We couldn’t do it without them.
Our projects are in full swing. We’ve been distributing mosquito nets all over Lalogi. We actually have a couple of large-scale net distributions coming up in the next week. By next Monday, we will have given out over 300 mosquito nets to pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers and the caretakers of orphans. We still have a long way to go, but these distributions will be a great opportunity to develop a real presence in the community and meet more of our fellow villagers. We could not be more thankful for Ethos Church of Nashville for partnering with us in this and getting the ball rolling on all of our physical projects here. Also, a shout-out goes to the kids of First Baptist Church Olive Branch, MS who cracked open their piggy banks at a recent Vacation Bible School to provide 100 more nets for kids just like themselves here in Uganda. Thanks to you all!
Also, there’s a final, cool story that we wanted to mention here because it is the embodiment of the Tuli Initiative. We hope that Tuli will empower the local people to fight for a better future for their community. Every resource that is poured into Tuli is meant to bring about both physical provision and heart transformation. We want the people here to be the ones to truly bring about change in their homeland, and one of our volunteers here, Douglas (not the translator), is doing just that. He spent a lot of time helping us this past week, distributing nets, showing us around, getting us to meetings on time and managing our local office. During our time with him, he really shared his heart with us, so we wanted to share with you. Douglas has been working with Tuli for over a year now. The people here know and love him. He’s one of their own, and he has a heart for his people and above all his God. “I know the situation here. I’ve grown up here. This is my home,” he said. “I want to serve my people and, most of all, my God. I want to see change.” This is the attitude we pray God would instill in everyone we work with here -- locals working together for the good of each other and the glory of God.
Your turn... Prayer requests...
We’ve met so many pastors in just the past few days, and many have invited us to come visit them and their churches. Some have even invited us to preach. There is such a need here for men of God like them who are willing to lead and instruct people in the gospel, but, as always, it doesn’t come without challenges. Bad teaching, a lack of discipleship and little funding all plague these small churches. Pray for their pastors who work tirelessly each week. Pray for the people of their churches and that they would follow the lead of their pastors. Pray they would not lose heart when things get tough but would press on and understand that suffering produces endurance (James 1). Pray that God would use these men to capture other hearts like He has theirs and to bring revival to this community and this country.
We’ve also come into contact with so many people who just need to know Jesus Christ instead of the rules they’ve been told to follow. Many people, like a man we met the other night named Anthony, have just been confused by the complexity of out-of-context Scripture and just need to see the truth and simplicity of the Gospel. Pray that God would speak this message  through us clearly and simply and that the Holy Spirit, as He did in Anthony, would open their eyes to the freedom found in Jesus Christ.
Pray also for the men - that they would rise up to serve and lead their families and point them to Jesus. The women here carry most of the burden of their homes and families, while many of the men struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Pray that God would break these chains and that He would bring redemption to what has become part of culture here. 
Lastly, one of the greatest needs here is for Bibles. We’ve found a local distributor who produces Bibles in both English and the local language, Acholi, and they are $8 a piece.  If you would like to be a part of what God is doing here through providing Bibles for the people of Lalogi, visit our giving website, and put Bible in the notes section of your donation. 
This ministry is so much bigger than us. Your prayers and gifts are an absolutely essential piece of God’s plan for this wonderful place. Thanks for being part of this team.
Peace out muzungus,
The Switchboard Team
P.S. Muzungus is what they call the white people around here.
P.P.S. Now, you know some Lugandan.