Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Elder Grilliot in Uganda

Monday, February 18, 2013

Insight into the Lira Mission

        The mission in Uganda is about to become reborn. In the next 6 months were going to loose about half of the missionaries that are in this mission currently, and receive over 100 new missionaries (including a new mission president). I've also heard talk of them making Ethiopia its own mission sometime in the next year or so, that would be really cool to see while I'm serving here.
         Recently Ive been feeling very well adjusted to the heat here, the only time I really felt horrible about the heat was on Sunday when I wore my suit to church. I was sweating like crazy that day. The dryness is really what gets me though, I don't think it's rained since new years except maybe once or twice, and now all of Lira looks like a desert. The dust and dirt and sand everywhere is awful, especially if its a windy day. On some days you'll get home and your shoes will just be full of sand. I'm looking forward to rainy season next month.
          Probably the most difficult thing about doing missionary work in Lira is just dealing with such a different culture. The culture of Uganda goes almost against the culture of the church, and helping people to understand and develop Christlike attributes can really be a struggle. In Uganda the biggest things we missionaries struggle with is:
  1- Lazyness. Even if people have a testimony of the gospel getting them to church is so difficult to do. You can talk and talk and talk all you want but many people have such a trial in overcoming their laziness that for some people even if you baptize them they will become less active very fast.
  2- The law of Chastity (A.K.A. SEX). In the culture here in Uganda its actually acceptable (and sometimes even celebrated) for a couple to have their first child before marriage. This can cause so many problems for not just the marriage but also for the child, especially if the husband leaves before the child is born, or if the husband is expected to pay dowry before marriage and never comes up with the funds.
  3- Going to church for the wrong reasons. For about 90% of the people in Uganda they are Christians (I'd say about 9% Muslim and 1% Jew). And for all of these Christians only about 5% of them actually know why they are Christians, the rest of them are only a member of their church because that was the church they grew up in, and it's more of a culture than a church, Which wouldn't be so bad if the church's here did their part in teaching them true doctrine. Most of the churches here basically just rob their congregation. They make them pay for baptism, for repentance, for listening to the service, everything. And because people are so dedicated to their church they'll eat it all up, no matter how much they have to pay. Honestly these churches and these pastors have no idea what they're teaching most of the time either, they just do it because they know that there's money in it. I can't tell you how many people I've asked if they know what faith is, or what baptism is for, or why Jesus came to the earth, and they honestly have no clue. Its really disappointing to see, especially when people are so dedicated to their church that they will never leave it, no matter how much we teach them.
    Notwithstanding all of these problems Uganda is still a great place to serve a mission, the people here can be frustrating at times but really all of them have good hearts. And they're are lots of people here who really do recognize truth and convert to it. It's just that because people are so rigidly following traditions that they halt their own progression. I think it was Albert Einstein who said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result each time. That's really what you see in Africa today, people always talk about wanting a change but no one is willing to do anything about it. There was an apostle that was asked once "when will Africa stop suffering so much" and the apostle's reply was "When people stop following the traditions of their fathers, and members of the church consistently pay their tithing is when Africa as a whole will begin to prosper". From what I've seen here in Uganda, I believe that 100%.
    I would like to thank Aunt Linda and Uncle Gene for sending that care package (just got it this week), it was such a good suprise. Thank you so much!
    Have a good week everyone, and I'll talk to you all next week -Elder Grilliot

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