Sunday we went to Pabbo, which is a village that used to be an IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp. Jerry and Candis would minister in the IDP camps early in their ministry here in Gulu. Where we went this day was the village of one of their staff named Charles. Charles works with children and is an amazing evangelist. They picked us up at our hotel about 9:30am and after buying gas we were on our way. We headed out of town on the road that will take you to South Sudan.

We passed a lot of trucks that were going or returning to Sudan with supplies. One thing about the situation with Sudan is that many NGOs are setting up camp in Sudan and they come to Gulu to buy supplies. Now from an American point of view that would seem like a great opportunity for capitalism, but the result for the people who live in Gulu is short supplies on basic needs and high inflation. So the quality of life goes down. Pretty ironic huh? The NGOs are coming to “help” but they are really causing harm here.

Anyways back to our adventure. I know I’ve mentioned that the roads here are bad. Well I didn’t know bad roads until this day. The entire road was either completely washboard, potholes or something worse than a pothole and I wouldn’t even know what to call it. It was so noisy the entire time as the van shaked and rattled. So they have a ‘thing’ here in Africa – about every half hour or so the host will tell you “we are close” and then after about another half hour they say it again, “we are close now”, and this continues on and then they might say, “It’s just past the next few hills”. Apparently they don’t want you to get discouraged by telling you that it will actually take about 2 hours to get where you are going. You learn early on here to stay flexible and not get upset when things don’t go as you expect – because they will NEVER go as you expect.

We did finally arrive at the turn off to the village. Waiting by the side of the road were about 10 children. They waved and clapped and did their little African screaming thing they do. Then they all piled into the van and immediately started singing. Now when I say they started singing I’m not talking a sweet little childrens choir type singing. This was LOUD!! I mean REALLY LOUD! Pour Guy! He even tried putting his head out the window, but there was just no help for it. They just have the pipes for it, like nothing I’ve ever heard. And they praised the Lord the whole way to the village.

The “road” to the village wasn’t a road at all. It was a walking path, but Jerry just drive right through. Through the grass and bushes, over the tree roots bumping and singing all the way. We thought the village would be “right there”, but again it was “just a little bit further”. Whoa! What a ride! When we did finally enter the village it was a few cement huts with thatched roofs and the people were all outside waiting to greet us. There were about 20 people in this village. That’s all.

Church here is very informal. They prayed and then Charles introduced Jerry who shared a short message about God. He is so great at it, so enthusiastic and the people loved it! Then Candis shared. She talked about loving the children as Jesus did. She’s a natural! We could tell that both Candis and Jerry were in their element. This type of outreach is what they love to do and it showed. Then it seemed like a good time to sing a song, so Charles pulled out his guitar – an old nylon string with half nylon and half steel strings on it, and we sang. Then they invited Guy to speak and he shared from the word and shared his testimony. Then it was my turn (I was completely unprepared – hadn’t even thought about sharing) so I prayed and shared my testimony as well.

Then Charles invited the people to share if they wanted to. An older lady stood up and shared how her husband was a pastor and there was a white man that used to visit and help them, but when her husband died he stopped visiting her. She was obviously hurt and bitter about it, but she wanted to return to the Lord. Then another man rose his hand and said “because of what I’ve heard, by the end of the year I will become a Christian”. Candis spoke right up and told him that the bible says not to wait, that today is the day of salvation. So there was a spontaneous altar call of sorts and the woman and this man came forward and knelt and we started to pray for them and then another come up and knelt and another and another! It was such a blessing to see these people who have so little decide to put their trust in Jesus.

And then we sang!!! whoo! did we sing!! The only fomality of the day was that we were invited to eat. It is awkward because we are the only ones who eat, but it is their custom. They finally eat too, so that made us feel a little better. It was good food – cooked cabbage and cooked greens and posho, which is like a corn porridge that is thickened to the point that you cut off slices of it. I was so thankful they didn’t serve meat!! As it is Guy and I both have a little instenial trouble this morning . . . oh well, what do you expect? It was definetly the Lord’s day! Makes me tear up just recounting it. ah, but then I remember the drive home . . . yikes!!