I am at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi waiting for tonight’s flight to Amsterdam. It has been a wild weekend and I guess you could say this journey concluded with a bang.
On Saturday we went to Kakamega to celebrate the graduation of our largest class from the Redeemer Bible College certificate program. The journey was slow going due to bad roads. I should tell you that Kakamega is a district known for being a hotbed of witchcraft, so the rest of this will make more sense. As we got to Kakamega the car began overheating and we learned that the cooling fan had shorted out. We had to get a push and pop the clutch to keep going. I developed a pounding headache that was compounded by heat and potholes. I was unable to beat the headache even with Ibuprofen. We finally made it to the graduation ceremony and wouldn’t you know it we didn’t have a certificate for one of our students. Not just any student mind you, but the best student in the class. To make matters worse this young lady had been overlooked when completing a previous program. With some fancy footwork we’re able to smooth this crisis out.
We next went to the home of a local widow who wanted to host the students. It was getting late and the heavy afternoon rains were moving in, so it was suggested that we go ahead and leave. As I was leaving the widow came out and complained about me leaving without having a meal. Again fancy footwork was required.
So finally we were on the road. The rains began pouring we navigated several deep puddles and seemed to be doing well. Shortly after passing through Bongoma our driver struck a pothole and both passenger tires blew out simultaneously. The car came to rest precariously hanging out in to traffic and it was now dusk. Our driver and Pastor Adams began the journey on foot to Bongoma in search of a tire repair shop, while Principal Ngaina, Mary, little Judah and I stayed with the vehicle. As it continued to get dark I realized that our poorly lit car was likely to get hit, so I stood off to the side. I’m glad I made that choice. In the next 2 hours I watched a tractor trailer hit the same pothole and blow out a tire. I watched another one hit the pothole and nearly enter the ditch with us. I watched a third vehicle hit the pothole and also blow out a tire.
Of course the other danger was highway robbers. Everyone who walked past would look at us and comment on how dangerous of a place this is. I also determined that two men who stayed by to be “watchmen” were actually casing us. Finally after 2 hours Pastor Adams and our driver returned with a cab. They had been all over Bongoma and found no place to repair the tire until morning. They had convinced the cab driver (with a lot of money I might add) to come out to the highway to retrieve us. They also “rented” (for a lot of money again) a spare tire to get our vehicle back to Bongoma. The taxi driver took us to a hotel that he said was the best in town. As I was waiting on my dinner I noticed the prostitutes coming from upstairs and retrieving more customers (when I later told Mary I had seen this activity, she was horrified. She had hoped I wouldn’t notice). Needless to say we ended up at another hotel for the night and the cab driver returned with a friend at 3AM to retrieve his spare tire.
As morning broke the car was up and running again, but I noticed a large bulge in the wall of the driver’s side rear tire. I was assured that we would drive slow to protect that tire. We agreed we should pray before we left and off we went. We stopped about an hour into the journey for tea with Mary’s sister. We were scheduled to speak in my friend John’s church at 11AM. We told him of our journey and he asked us to continue on. We finally arrived at his church at 12:30 (when church is scheduled to end). John’s church is one of the most energized “alive” churches I have been in. The people received me well and through another service to hear me speak. I was also intrigued to see a white woman attending the church. I learned that she is a nurse from California on mission with Saddleback Church. After the service we had lunch with John and his wife, although we were already supposed to be in Eldoret to meet with more Bible College students.
Finally around 4:30 we returned to Pastor Adams home. I did a quick job of packing, sent my wife a Mother’s Day email and we were off to Eldoret. When we arrived at Pastor Maheri’s home around 7:30PM everyone had already left. She said they had used the afternoon to pray and worship. Throughout the evening several guests dropped by and we had a great time talking about faith and our respective cultures. Pastor Maheri also blessed me with a beautiful wall hanging to remind me to pray for Kenya. In spite of all of the difficulties of the weekend, and really the trip for that matter, the journey ended on a high note. Truly God saved the best for last.
I caught an early flight to Nairobi this morning and have about 11 hours until my flight to Amsterdam. The news says the Iceland volcano is causing problems again, so we will see what the day holds. After three weeks away I am ready to be back with my wife and children.