Some Holiday

Posted: 17 July 2009 in On the Pilgrim's Road
Tags: ,
Wanda chats during a church visit

Wanda chats during a church visit

“Nice Holiday in UK?”  Having been in UK for two months, people in Kisiizi ask us whether we enjoyed our holiday.  We visited nine churches. We went to 42 church meetings/services/lunches/fellowships /dinners.  Not to forget visits to dentists, GPs, hospital specialists.  We travelled 5346 kilometres by car alone.  We slept in 12 different beds.  It was not a two month holiday.  However two dear families did let us stay in their homes while they were away (in Battle and Worcester).  Five days in Lee Abbey was a blessing too.

There were some surprises in UK.  Many of those favourite foods one longed to eat that were not readily available in Kisiizi (Ardennes Pate, Mascarpone Cheese, Cornish Ice Cream, fine red wines, Brie, fresh crusty bread rolls, big oranges, apples, etc), many did not taste quite so wonderful.  Like the fish that got away, these things grew grand indeed in the fondness of remembrance.  This is worth knowing, for it helps one manage with the much much narrower range of foods here in Kisiizi.

We were asked “aren’t you upset by what people spend things on, when the money could be so much better used in Uganda?”  Certainly, flat screen TVs seem to have swept aside all the old TVs in the last year.  People in UK will not simply give places like Kisiizi Hospital the money, if they delayed replacing their old TV.  This is because there is no awareness that consumption at a certain level is harmful, to the individual as well as society and the environment.

We discovered a paradox on our visit to UK.  Having visited quite a lot of churches and met Christians from other churches, we thought that in some ways English churches were poor and the Ugandan churches we knew of were rich.  A lot of churches in England seemed beleaguered, a small number of the faith surrounded by a indifferent or hostile environment.  In Uganda, a lot of churches are full of people with lots of faith – or at least with people willing to fall into line during the service.  Using Jesus’ parable of Sower & The Four Soils, it is as if in England so much is like The Path.  Hard.  In Uganda, much is either The Rich Soil, or The Soil with Thorns (where weird things grow to challenge young Christians).  Real challenges.  But has real growth too.

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