MARCH 20, 2019 by annette
One of The refugee camps where Jesse was staying didn’t have WiFi. He called it Bidi bidi. Ken first recalls seeing Jesse (on fb) on a motorcycle with a local guy sitting on the back with him. They appeared to be in a small village and Ken said he could hear Jesse say the words “bidi bidi.” At the time he didn’t realize it was an actual place when those words were coming out of his mouth.
Our first call from Jesse was after about 3 1/2 weeks of him being in Uganda. He let us know the mission team had gone into a bigger city with WiFi and he could only talk for about 5 minutes. I asked how he was doing, I thought it was funny when he said, it became pointless to take a shower because it was just so filthy everywhere. We both got a good laugh out of that. He said everything was going well. It was such a very brief conversation, I wished we had more time to catch up. Little did we know this would be the last “normal conversation” we would ever have with him.
He seemed happy to be there. And that made us both very happy. Practically from the first time we met him, Ken and I knew there was something very special about him. For Ken, it was hard to explain but more like a mentoring relationship but even more or a friendship bond a deep sense of brotherhood. For me, it was almost a parent but even more like an ‘Auntie’ and for sure a friendship bond. As we ended the brief conversation, Jesse let us know he would call when he could, but said it wouldn’t be for awhile.
In Kona whenever Jesse would send us messages he could be so silly on the phone. He would usually do a talk text message or text in pictures. He played a phone game (apparently with lots of people), he would text three images and then ask what three words first pop into your head. Of course, his were always so creative, but no matter how ridiculous they were, he always managed to make a story out of it. We prayed often for him and for his team in Uganda. We sure missed him.
For us back in Kona Hawaii, life went on. We were reminded of Jesse often, and one of the biggest reasons was the Van. Our second vehicle was a community van and we had started calling ‘The Jesse van.’ Not just because he drove people everywhere in it but he found people that needed rides all the time. Personally, I try to avoid giving people rides but Jesse actually looked for them. The Jesse Van is also where he stored his stuff just before he left for his mission trip. He was a simple guy and didn’t own hardly anything so it was an easy fit to keep it all in the back of the van.
Until one day our friends Inna and Ben were visiting from the mainland and were borrowing the van, they said there was a horrible smell in the van, then they found tons of cockroaches in the back, it turned out there was also some food stored in the bags. Disclaimer is I never said Jesse was the ‘neatest’ guy in town and to be fair to Jesse, he did warn me about certain items that shouldn’t be stored in the sun. Coffee was one of them. Dried mangos was the other! Lesson learned. Thanks Inna and Ben for immaculately cleaning out the van that day!
We really didn’t get to find out a lot about Jesse’s experiences in Uganda. He didn’t talk much about it when he was in the hospital. In fact, he couldn’t really talk at all because he was so sick. But again, we believed that in time we would learn so much more about the things that he did when he was there.
This picture was taken from the internet, it looks like sometime April 2017, it’s a Sudanese refugee camp in Uganda. These people have lost everything. It’s really hard to make something of your life when your whole world has been disrupted by corruption through government and religious hostility. Keep Praying for the country of Uganda and Sudan