This House-A Lesson in Advent

In August, we left Uganda wanting to buy a house. It is perfect for the kids. The process of buying it has been a lesson in Advent-a lesson in waiting, and waiting, and waiting...

Me, in an email to Patrick and William on November 10th: We had our fundraiser tonight. It was such a privilege to tell people your story tonight. Please tell all the kids how much we love them and how proud we are of them. We are hopeful that we will have all the money needed for the house soon!

Patrick, November 13: Hello Caleb and Sonja, Today we had a meeting with a lawyer and Henry. Henry was kindly asking if we could do the purchase this week. thank you very much and we are so excited! God Bless you

Me, November 17: We would like to connect one final time before the purchase of the new house. Can we please skype sometime tomorrow?

Sunday, November 18 Skype with Patrick:
Patrick: Hello Hello!! How are you? How are you? How is mama RUHU?
Me: Hi Patrick, We’re doing well!
Me: How are things with the house? Have you met with the Local Council and the lawyer?
Patrick: We have met with them. They have been so supportive, you know. They had been wanting, you know, the children to have some more space as it was too little. So, yea, everything is going on so well here. We are just waiting for the funds now.
Me: Ok, well, if you have prepared everything with the Lawyer and the LC and the bank, then we are ready. The funds are here!
Patrick: Eeeee! Ya Ya, Praise God, Praise God! Ha ha. That is the best news!

November 19: We sent the money and waited to hear about the new house.

On Thursday, November 22nd-Thanksgiving:
In the basement of my grandfather in law’s house in Minnesota my phone lights up and the +256 prefix tells me that it is a call from Uganda. I slide to answer and Patrick tells me that he went to the bank and that the money was not there. The bank needs confirmation of the wire or something. I can’t understand Patrick. I say that Thanksgiving may have delayed the wire-they would probably have to wait an extra day. He tells me Happy Thanksgiving.

Patrick calls again later and asks me to send an email confirming the money. I typed up the most official looking unofficial confirmation letter I could.

Me, in an email on November 22: I have attached a confirmation letter for a wire transfer made from Beautiful Response to Raising Up Hope in Uganda, the authorized persons being Patrick and William.

Friday, November 23 In the Hallmark of the Mall of America: Patrick calls to tell me that the money has still not arrived. He is in Kampala at the main branch trying to receive the money. Can you please ask your bank to confirm the transfer?

I try because Patrick went into Kampala and is waiting, hoping, waiting. The least I can do is make a phone call. So I am on the phone with Wells Fargo in Christmas-Hyped-Hallmark on Black Friday in the largest Mall in the United States of America trying to get money to Uganda to buy a second house for a group of orphaned kids. I pick up bright birthday cards and chuckle at them-trying to blend in with the mom and strollers. All I can get is machines and transfers and odd stares from Hallmark employees.

Me, November 26 in an email: Hi Patrick, I’m sorry for all of the trouble this has been. I went into our bank today and talked to them. If you have not received the money yet, our bank will connect with the your bank to investigate the matter.

Patrick, on November 28: We last communicated when the money wasn’t here yet and since then we haven’t been there as I have been sick with Malaria. Please pray for us.

Patrick on November 29: Subject: funds are here!!! First I would like to thank you for all the effort you have put in raising this money and the love you have for these children, we actually don’t know how we will give you back to show you how much we are appreciated but we just give all glory and honor for God to who you are both in our lives here in Uganda. surely so many lives has been saved and given hope just because you came and showed sign of love in action!.

But...for some reason, the exchange rate was not what we had anticipated. We had sent a few bucks under what the agreed price was for the house.

Negotiating in Uganda
Patrick to us on November 30: just want to drop some few lines to tell you where we are about the purchase of the the land! today the committee and lawyer sat at around 12:30 due to people coming late and the heavy rain that was here. When we sat we told the meeting how much money we have got and henry said that he doesn’t get money installment he wants it full. we had no more money to pay.

so we were not able to purchase the house today i am sad very sad!
Our hearts are broken and we are very upset.

The seller wasn’t willing to wait on the rest of the money, and so the deal didn’t happen.

Then Patrick went to Gulu, up north, for a week on a service trip.

December 6: Sonja is sitting on a white carpet in front of a red fireplace and I am on a white couch. We are sitting around a coffee table with others in our young married’s small group. I am sipping a cup of coffee. My phone is sitting on the glass coffee table when it starts vibrating. It is Uganda, and we still don’t know what is going on with the house. I look at Sonja. She gives me the nod to take it. I miss the call-I slid too late. I sit back down and wait for it to ring again. Patrick and William always call more than once. Soon it lights up again.

William: Hello, Hello! How are you?! How are you?!
I slip away to the kitchen and talk quietly.
Me: I’m good, good. How are you doing? What is the news?
William: Yes, I’m doing very fine. How is mama RUHU?
Me: She is good. We are out at a meeting currently, but I really wanted to hear from you! Thank you for calling!
William: O! Yes, of course. I thought it would be good to give you an update on things here.
Me: Yes, that would be great.
William: Yes, because I think maybe we have not spoken in some time now, so you would want to know the latest,
Me: Right. Yes, thanks for calling. What is the latest?
William: So, we are just waiting, because, you know Patrick is up in Gulu. So we are still waiting.

We talk for a little longer. William is one of the best men I know, and I wish I could talk to him for hours, but nothing is new. Still waiting.

I sit back down on the couch and Sonja moves towards me and looks at me for a sign of news.

I shake my head and shrug my shoulders. She moves back in front of the fireplace and gets comfortable.


(Post-script: William called yesterday. It looks like it may not happen until January now. He said he was calling because Patrick was too upset to talk on the phone.)