Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Bottle For A Weapon...

Northeastern Uganda.

Is such a beautiful place.

Surrounded by mountains and jaw droppin' gorgeous! 

You all would just love the beauty that surrounds Mbale.

Wild flowers roam the streets and trees line the roads.

It's a piece of paradise.

It is no wonder that they call Uganda the "Pearl of Africa".

When I began to prepare for coming to Mbale for surgery I began to plan.

At first it would just be James, Nakato - his mom, and me.

But one bummer was I'd be alone at a hotel in the middle of northeastern Uganda.

Alone.

I was at first a bit afraid so I prayed.

A last minute plan changed everything!

Yippee Jesus! 

My sweet friend Lynne was about to be arriving in Uganda.

Just four days until the scheduled date to leave 
she would land in my Uganda.

Only God.

I wrote to Lynne and sure enough she agreed to join me for this adventure.

I hired Joseph {a dear friend of mine} to drive and rented a hotel room for Lynne and I.

Early Monday morning we set off for Mbale.

As soon as we arrived here we immediately headed to the hospital 
and waited for an appointment.

We prayed for favor and actually the doctor was able to see us right away.

We waited and waited for results.

They decided to take some blood work, and we continued to wait.

 We prayed that they would be admitted 
{meaning that the surgery would happen this week}

After about 4 hours of waiting and no news I decided to let Joseph 
head back to Kampala.

We would remain and wait and, Lord willing, 
James would have surgery this week.

First though, I requested that he drop Lynne and I at our hotel
 with our bags so we could check in.

He drove us there and we quickly checked in.

We said our goodbyes and Joseph headed back to Kampala.

I looked at Lynne and declared,  

"Wow...we are alone now."

I knew God was with us but still there was a sense of urgency.

Us being alone in Northeastern Uganda for the first time.

Our room wasn't ready so we decided to grab a bite to eat since
 it was 4pm and we hadn't eaten all day.

I called Nakato and asked if there was any change in the situation.

There wasn't.

So we waited after about 2+ hours and finally got word that our room 
was ready so we moved our bags in.

Lynne and I smiled and thanked the staff for our room.

With closing the door we decided to explore our room more.

With a closer look holes in the door made it visible to see the outside world.

We decided we would be able to survive.

At least if a stranger knocked on the door we could see them first :}

My phone rang and Nakato shared how she had been admitted to the hospital.

We cheered.

 Such good news!

We grabbed her things and headed to the front desk to grab
 a taxi that would take us to the hospital to give Nakato her things
and take her some food.  We would only be gone long enough to do that and 
then return to the hotel.

The front desk called someone "they trusted".

I asked if they had set a price yet with him and she said she hadn't.

Oh great, I thought to myself, now here comes the bartering.

When I met the driver I immediately didn't trust him

and he wanted way more then was reasonable.

With the sun quickly sinking we agreed on the price and hopped in.

First I told him he would have to stop by a store so 
I could buy some food for James and Nakato.

He left us standing there, rounded the corner and disappeared.

He then came back and shared how the guard was just getting 
off duty and was insisting on a ride.
I didn't feel safe with the driver and now there would be two men in our car.

Red flags went up!

He wanted a ride?!

What?!

We are paying for the taxi, but with no way to decline, the man hopped in the car.

We drove outside the gate and headed for town.

Over dirt roads we pressed forward.

I listened nervously as they talked in Luganda.

The longer I am here the more I understand.

At one point I heard something that made me cringe...

"Stranded"

What?

 I thought to myself the word "stranded" means 
they are going to hurt us.

How am I going to protect Lynne and get us safely out of here?

He had clearly said "stranded" in Luganda.

What would I do?

Two men.

Against two small women.

Our chance was limited of escape.

What have I gotten us into I thought to myself?

I am the one responsible.

Lynne is new to being in Uganda alone.

I hadn't even shared with anyone where we were staying.

How would people know where to come looking?

I quickly started to think.

I will start asking questions in English and try to figure out 
what they are thinking.

I rattled off and asked the most random questions 
so I wouldn't sound sneaky.

I tried to memorize any land mark so we could find our way back
 to where we had come from...

About a half hour past and we made our way to a grocery store.

Lynne and I jumped out of the car and I led her to the back 
and we quickly grabbed some items from the store.

At one point we grabbed some crackers and juice.

I nervously looked around and asked Lynne if she had a bad feeling about the men.

She nodded in agreement.  She felt the same thing. 

She shared how they could easily overpower us....

Then I felt the Lord tell me to grab a glass Soda bottle.
I figured I would use the glass bottle to hit him in the head, if need be.

But inside I kept the urgent part of what God had put on my heart a secret.

Then the driver stumbled in the store and asked for his money now.

I told him "No" as he left us and waited outside.

I knew we didn't have much of a choice but to hop back in the car 
and continue to pray for protection.

I shared with Lynne my plan of action...

"If the man is still there and we are driving and I lean against the door get out asap!"

It would be our secret language.

I shared that if we reached the hospital we would to take a boda home.

Yes, it was almost dark but safety was first.

Or at least sort of..

Both were dangerous but I'd take one man versus two.

As we left the store and got back in the car the other man was gone.

But I looked down and began to panic.

On the front seat where the other man had been was his coat.

Which meant he was coming back.

I told the driver,

"The other man left his coat"

He looked panicky as if I had just read his plan as he quickly shoved the coat under the seat.

and loudly said "No, ummm that's... mine."

I wasn't convinced.

We finally reached the hospital as I grabbed the suitcase and Lynne grabbed the bottles and bags.
We couldn't get to the ward fast enough.

We were safe.

We quickly gave Nakato her things and headed out again.

The soda never left my bag.

I held tight to it.

If needed it would be used as a weapon.

Now I shared with Lynne what the soda bottle was really for.

She had actually caught on after all.

We rounded the corner and quietly climbed back in.

I watched anxiously as we drove back towards our hotel.

With every land mark becoming familiar I began to relax.

When we reached our hotel and the driver pulled in..

We jumped out as fast as we could, and quickly I paid him.

He asked if we wanted his number.

I shared how I was sure if we ever wanted his number again the front desk had it...

We couldn't get to our room fast enough.

God had watched over us.

We were alive and the soda bottle was still whole.

Needless to say we moved hotels and have put the whole sketchy scene behind us.

We are so thankful to be alive and safe.

Today I was at the hospital as James was having more tests run.

Tonight we received such joyous news!

The surgery has been scheduled for tomorrow at 2:30pm Ugandan time.

Making it 12:30am PST.

Please be praying for peace, comfort & protection for James, 
his family and for us as well.

Sending lots of love from Uganda,


-Xo


6 comments:

Renee said...

As a mom I am thinking yikes and good grief! S.c.a.r.e.y!
Will be praying!

Stephanie said...

Thankful for your safety, but you write like your mom... with great detail, so the reader feels like they are reliving every moment with you!!! I'm out of breath and have a pain in my left temple! Praying for your safety in Uganda as you follow where He leads..

inked33 said...

glad you are safe and using the gut instinct that God has given you. joy for the surgery :) looking forward to reading about more of your adventures.

inked33 said...

glad you are safe and using the gut instinct that God has given you. joy for the surgery :) looking forward to reading about more of your adventures.

you only live once said...

Next time will you PLEASE go ask the hotel for a different driver! I can't stand it! So glad you were able to get the medical attention needed. Taking food to the hospital reminds me of stories my son tells me of his life in an African country. On a different note...I'd do just about anything for a MIRINDA. Do they have apple Mirinda where you are? Aaaahhh...they are the best.

Mom Of Many said...

Emma,

I am so grateful that God protected you.

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them."

As you know that verse is on our foyer wall and it's one of my most favorite verses ever. And you, my sweet girl, have the angel of the Lord encamped around you.

My guess is that when you went into the store, the Lord put giant warring angels around you, so the one guy took off - leaving his coat behind and the other backed off....

God is mighty to save!

I love you so much! Mom