About 5 years and an Airplane Saga later (Airplane Saga to be shared at a later date:-))another container became a reality for the Ft Portal mission.
Through a "Master-full" feat of endurance, my "never say die" hubby had a repaired airplane engine that had to be shipped. In the same months, the Martin family had made their commitment to serve in Ft Portal and needed to get their household items here.
The shipment took shape.
All the logistics are daunting for such a shipment. The cost of the container itself and the fees for moving it hither and yon are expensive, so it is inherent in every missionary heart that each tiny bit of space be used effectively. We are paying dearly for it...we should fill it well.
On our last furlough, we worked with the Martins on preliminary plans. We discussed companies and costs. We made lists and shared ideas. Then we began to budget.
We enlisted a wonderful couple to gather our items in Tyler, TX. Charlie and Joan offered their time, know how and storage space to help us with the container. We flew back to Uganda thankful for their willingness to help.
As the months drew near for the actual packing of the container, we began to discuss our being present for the daunting task. We felt that Jeff would be a blessing to completing the process, so we bought one ticket and sent Jeff back to the States.
He, Andrew and Andrew's cousin spent three sleepless days and nights shopping, filling, building, organizing and securing a world of physical blessings into one big metal box. As the box rolled down to the nearest sea port, the guys crashed hard, weary to the bone. Their efforts were successful and the box set sail for our foreign homes.
Within six weeks we received word that the box was on African soil. We all rejoiced, but Jeff and I set our minds to wait. We knew, now would be the hardest part.
The container moved somewhat smoothly through Mombasa clearing and customs. We received regular updates (which impressed us considerably) of the clearing process. By early November, the container had reached Kampala.
And then the real fun began. We were optimistically hopeful that we could get the box by Christmas. There were some treasures for the kiddos that would look lovely under the tree. So we hoped and set our hands to the task.
It is indescribable what took place next. Derrick and his uncle and Jeff began to go from office to office to office to office.... from desk to desk to desk...from person to person to person. We would be told The Process. We would set out to complete The Process. Upon reaching completion we would told that we must begin again. On another Process.
After several rounds of The Process Shuffle we were informed that we owed alot of money for taxes. Alot.
We've been living in this foreign land for awhile now and have well honed our reactions to such atrocious bits of news.
We simply inquired of The Next Process. The Process for People Who Cannot Afford Alot of Money for Taxes.
We were respectful. We were resolute. And we began to follow still more procedures.
Month after month passed. Reams of paper were filled with letters and rubber stamps, then carried from one official to another. Derrick basically moved to Kampala for awhile. And Jeff wisely navigated us all through a maze that could have very easily had no end. We had no idea, really, where the maze would take us. We just continued turning the corners, overcoming the obstacles and asking for direction.
In mid March, just a flow of visitors began to grace our home, we received word that we had, in fact, reached the end of the Process line.
The final papers were signed. We could bring the box home.