Wednesday and Thursday - Nairobi
Now that was an extraordinary day! When I got up Wednesday in Adama, it was our last day of the conferences. We had a good crowd and the spirit of the meeting was strong as we started. Today was the day we were doing a crash course in basic systematic theology. My assignment was to lay the ground work for the discussion and begin the conversation with a discussion of the doctrine of God. I took more time than was allotted to me – I’m not proud of that – but a good portion of that was answering questions and discussing how this applied in their daily life and service to the church and their people. It was time well spent. I’m pleased at the questions they were asking. Clearly, they have sharp minds – they just haven’t really taken the time to challenge themselves mentally. Or maybe they’ve never had the opportunity. Or maybe this WAS their opportunity and they were eager to have it. At any rate, they were eager and willing students and I was deeply grateful for the opportunity to talk with them about it.
Immediately after I finished teaching, it was time for me to go. While I knew it was definitely time for that, I was still saddened to leave behind my new friends. I said a brief “see you later” and got in the van to head back to Addis.
The ride itself was remarkable! I had slept most of the way coming in from Addis – the plane ride caught up to me – so this was the first time I was seeing that country side. A unique and unusual beauty and things like I’d never seen. Like a dead hyena, lying in the road as roadkill. Nocturnal animals, the odds of seeing one at all were rare. And yet there it was. Little did I know my adventure was just beginning.
Wodineh dropped me at the airport far too early but his responsibilities were more important than anything else I was doing so I was fine. I was there at 12:00 noon for a 4:25 PM flight. I needed the time – apparently – to get through security (TWICE!) and get to the gate. I had to clear security before I even walked into the airport and then AGAIN (everyone did) when we wanted to go to our gate. They aren’t kidding about safety. No problems. I had good books to read and plenty to pray through, so time was in my favor.
Time for the flight came and away we went. An exceptionally large Muslim cleric sat in the middle seat. He was 6’5” or so and at least 375. He needed two seats so he took half of mine! It was a long two hours but we did indeed get there.
When we got to Nairobi, I got stopped at the health desk, like everyone did. Apparently, I didn’t have the proper information on my shots so I needed a yellow fever shot. $40 and 40 minutes later, I had my shot and away we went.
The only problem was, because of the shot and the money I gave Wodineh for bringing me to the airport, I only had $40 cash left after the shot. The entry visa cost $50 – cash only. My gracious Lord had already prepared the way. There was another American who also needed the yellow fever shot. We got our shots and had a minute to talk. He had $10 to give me in exchange for the use of my phone. A better deal I can’t recall. I got $10 for a $3 call. David, from Seattle, is working with the UN. So we cleared customs and security and finally exited the airport.
It was a ZOO outside! Jim was waiting for me, just as he promised. He took the cart and we walked a LONG way to the car. The ride home was a little over 3 hours down some of the worst road I’ve ever seen! Perhaps we could’ve covered the distance a little more quickly on better road, but we got here just the same. I’m staying in the “Presidential Suite” – a corner bedroom facing northeast. The bedroom has a MATTRESS! How about that! The hotel in Adama had a thin layer of foam rubber laying on top of a sheet of plywood. It was a mattress in the sense that it was flat and held a sheet. Other than that, it had little to speak of in terms of soft qualities. While I was grateful to have it while there, I was blessed to find this nice, soft REAL mattress here.
It’s early now – just after 7 AM on Thursday morning – and my stay here will be brief. I’ll be leaving to go to Beirut tomorrow evening. I wanted to make three stops while here in Nairobi and I’ve made this one so far. My prayer is that I can find a way to make the other two. They both are eager for me to physically see their ministries and I don’t blame them. But I’m also keenly aware of my commitments to our friends in Beirut. My prayer is for wisdom, discernment and good stewardship of my very brief time here.