Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Rise in Crime

We met with some Baptist missionary friends yesterday and were saddened to hear their stories of the rising crime rate in south Uganda. Our friend, Brenda, had gone to the market with some friends. She was carrying $1500 U.S. dollars in her bag and some Ugandan shillings. While walking through the market, someone reached into her bag and stole her wallet with all the money. In the eight years of living in Uganda, this had never happened to her before. When I told this to another friend, she shared that a bag vendor at the market had seen where she kept her money and had bumped into her with the purpose of stealing from her. She was a little luckier and felt him trying to get into her bag. When she turned around, he ran off…without the money. In this situation, my friend is a mother with three kids under the age of 12 that she must look after while at the market. Watching your belongings and your kids at the same time has to be complicated. In yet another story, some missionaries stopped to visit friends in Entebbe at 4pm in the afternoon. For some reason, they had to park their vehicle outside the gate of their friend’s compound. They didn’t think they’d be long but ended up staying for an hour. When they came out, they discovered that their car had been broken into and many of their belongings stolen, including the electric window controls. I’m still shocked that no passersby sounded an alarm on the crime.

 

These recent stories reminded Terrill & I to be particularly careful in the south of Uganda as well as the north. We have to keep our guard up when it comes to security. I just heard these stories yesterday and you’ll never guess what happened today…

 

Terrill & I were walking down a busy street in Kampala on the way to church. Terrill had parked along a curb several hundred feet from the church. He turned around to look at the car and realized that he’d left his four-way blinkers on. I told him that I’d wait for him while he went to turn them off. I must have stood on the sidewalk for five minutes. As always, people were passing and staring at me. Towards the end of the five minutes, Terrill had almost crossed the street and returned to my side. Before he made it, a man started walking towards me. In a flash, he grabbed for what I was carrying…my Bible. I had no money on me and no valuables. I did have a gold cross necklace around my neck and he could have been reaching to pull the necklace off. My first reaction was to hold tighter to my Bible. I felt assaulted at the moment and wasn’t willing to give in. If only he had come and asked for something instead of trying to take it from me. In hindsight, I wish I had let him have the Bible. I don’t know if it would have made any difference to him, but it might have made a difference to someone. So…he made a grab at my Bible and when he couldn’t get it out of my grasp, he ran down a walkway to my left and disappeared as quickly as he had appeared. All this happened in broad daylight and nobody flinched. I was sad. Somehow I expected a different reaction from the people around me. I wanted them to stand against injustice.

 

Going into church and trying to worship was a little more difficult after that. I had to forgive that man and everyone else who allows crime to thrive in this place. Tonight I’m praying that those who would commit crime against another might feel loved and learn how to love others. Please also pray with me for the safety of the missionaries in south Uganda who frequently become targets of crime because of wealth.  

5 comments:

The Reeds said...

Wow.. That does seem much much more prevalent. I'm glad your car was okay and that you guys are safe. Maybe it seems safer in Karamoja now. :) when do you head back up?

Tammy On the Go said...

my first reaction is with the reeds, wow!

so glad you are safe friend.

Anonymous said...

Praying tonight dear friends. Love you. Mary

Shelley said...

Will keep you in our prayers! Have you heard of this girl in Uganda http://kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com/
I think it is amazing those of you who go abroad to do God's work. Found your blog through a Lehman's link.

Leslie said...

So glad you are OK, Amber! Your response to pray for essentially "your enemies" is beautiful. Not sure if I would have handled it so well . . .