API USA Blog

News from the field.

Desert Adventure

18/08/14

We had a very interesting Sunday.  In the morning we visited two churches, one right outside of Lodwar called Juluk, led by Pastor Beatrice Natto, and the other in town at Pioneer Ministries, led by Pastor George Lokwawi.  Pastor Tim spoke at Juluk and I spoke at Pioneer Ministries.

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In the afternoon, we took a trip to Lake Turkana where there is a small resort. Pastor Shadrack characterized this trip as simply 'entertainment'. which as it turned out was anything but entertaining.  It was however an adventure.  Things were going fairly well (given the conditions of the Kenyan roads) when we developed some mechanical failure in the vehicle about 12 km from our destination.  Normally this wouldn't have been a problem as we could call someone to pick us up.  But apparently this place was a vast dead zone for cell reception. Pastor George and Pastor Shadrack attempted to effect repairs but things were beyond mere roadside mechanics.

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Pastor Leonard and I decided to start walking to the resort to see if we could get a vehicle to take us back to Lodwar. Rob stayed with the vehicle to lend moral support to the others.

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As you can guess, this area is rather devoid of helpful passing vehicles.

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But there are goats.

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Eventually Leonard and I did run into a guy on a motorbike who agreed to take us the rest of the way into the resort. He wanted to take both of us but I'm not really a fan of three on a motorbike.

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Meanwhile I stayed in the shade to await his return.

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I finally got to the resort an hour later, after one minor wreck and a skinned knee and shaken confidence in the driver.  Our plan was to return with a vehicle to pick the others up, come to the resort, have lunch and then hire a drive back to Lodwar.  Meanwhile, ignorant of the planning going on back at the broken Land Rover, Rob was put on a rare passing vehicle to take him to Lodwar with George to get a mechanic to come and fix the car. When Leonard arrived to pick them up, only Shadrack was there.  Leonard brought him back to the resort where we negotiated a steep fee for a vehicle to take us to town.  Unfortunately, they demanded cash in advance but we were fairly stuck there so we paid.  It was now about 9:30 pm.

All was going well until we had passed the broken down Rover and gone about 3 km when the rear wheel of our vehicle decided to give up the ghost. My thought was 'Okay, we'll just put on the spare and proceed'.  Which would have worked had the spare been aired up recently.  It was just as flat as the other.  Thinking quickly, but not very soundly, it was decided that Shadrack and the driver would walk back to the abandoned Rover and pull a tire to put on our vehicle.  I took a nap.

When Shadrack and the driver returned, they had no tire with them as they had discovered that it was a much bigger tire and wouldn't do the trick.  We were pretty much out of options at that point and I was beginning to think I'd be camping in this desert overnight.  But we had prayed earlier, asking God to send a vehicle our way to take us to Lodwar; and just as I was settling down to go back to sleep, a car showed up. 

It was a small wagon type vehicle with four people already in it.  I was squeezed into the middle in the back seat between two rather large women, while Shadrack and Leonard were put in the boot - the cargo area that was about 3 feet by 3 feet.  Thus ensconced, we slowly made our way home. It became rather obvious that these travelers had enjoyed a bit too much of the happy juice, as my companion in the second seat kept offering me a drink from the bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream she was finishing.  I kept praying.

We finally arrived at our place of residence early Monday morning around 12:15.  We got out of the car, thanked God and these well-meaning Good Samaritans, and went to bed. 

 

 

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Travel to Lodwar

We left for the airport in Nairobi for a flight to Lodwar. There were some delays in getting some necessary supplies for the trip which put us on the road behind schedule.  Nairobli traffic was its usual hectic mess.  At one point on the way to the airport we finally got up some speed just to find out a car was crossing multiple lanes between other cars and we were destined for a high-speed impact.  All of us felt the hand of God guide the car amoungst the schreeching tires and certain impact.  We came through with un-belief that the crash did not occur and then thanked God for his obvious protection.

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 The flight to Eldoret and on to Lodwar was uneventful although we were all a bit fatigued from the trip; some of us more than others.

 

We arrived safely to the Lodwar International Airport:

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A previous flight was not so lucky:

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We gathered our bags in front of the terminal.

 

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After packing up we made it about a half mile before we had a flat tire in town. It was a great chance to meet some of the locals.

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It is now Sunday morning and we are well rested and heading out to worship in some of the local churches.

 

Please continue to pray for the team.  Your prayers are felt and are critical to our time here.

 

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Pastors Conference Lodwar and Eldoret 2014

Pastors Conference Lodwar and Eldoret 2014

 

15/08/14

 

 

 

We made it to Nairobi late Thursday night after a couple of flights – Seatac to Paris; Paris to Nairobi – and arrived at the Hampton House around 10:30. After a good nights sleep, Rob and Tim and I went to one of my favorite spots, the Java House, for a thoroughly western breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast...and of course some of that famous Kenyan coffee.

 

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We went to the Village Market to exchange our dollars for schillings and to take care of our communication needs and spent a couple of hours at the Maasai Market looking (and occasionally buying) some of the local products. In between, we met up with Kenneth Mbugua, an associate pastor at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Nairobi. I had contacted Kenneth prior to coming because we have been using his book, Gaining the World, Losing the Soul – How the Prosperity Gospel Distorts the Good News to great effect in our pastors conferences. He was very encouraged by our ministry to his people here in Kenya and we invited him to come to our conference in Eldoret so he could see firsthand what we are doing. He indicated that he would probably come up for a day or so while we are there.

 

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We then spent two hours in Nairobi traffic to go to our favorite bookstore – ACTS – on the campus of the Africa International University, where we loaded up on books to supply the pastors at the conferences.

We head out tomorrow at 3 pm for Lodwar and the Pastors Conference there. We're flying there because of the extremely bad roads that are often frequented by bandits.  But the downside to flying there is that our weight limit is severely challenged. Please pray that the airline will grant us much favor with regard to excessive baggage fees.

 

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API Service Project February 2014

Monday February 10

We arrived in Nairobi last night about 8:30 pm and were picked up by Frank at the airport. We spent the night at Brackenhurst near Limuru Town and the next morning went into Village Market to exchange our money and buy some stuff for the trip – stopping of course at Java House for coffee and beans.

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We drove through to our first night's stay at Bishop Stam's – a Catholic retreat center around 35 minutes from our first project site – Matete.

 

Tuesday February 11

We had a serviceable breakfast at the center and then drove to Matete for the first day's work. The first order of business was shifting all the rock and sand by wheelbarrow to the actual work site; and drawing hundreds of gallons of water from a well and storing it onsite for our project. The Kenyans do concrete work a little differently than we do – using manpower instead of machinery so we all got a real good workout.

The first course to the floor consists of a soil called maram that is laid about 3 inches deep. Then the next course consists of large rock, sand, and a thin layer of cement that is laid out on the ground and then mixed together with water, loaded into wheelbarrows and poured on the church floor. The top is left with a rough finish to facilitate the final layer after drying for three days. We were all pretty tired when we got done today. But it was a good day and we all were happy that we finished this part.

Wednesday 12

Today we traveled from Bishop Stam's to Amagoro to begin the first phase of our second project. This church is about twice as big as Matete and we began by excavating the entire interior of the church. The soil is very fine sand and we created quite a duststorm inside before we were through. Our health and safety expert, Butch, was not happy with the work conditions so we mazungus mostly stayed outside during this phase. But we all got busy as next we filled the floor with the first course of maram.

It was at this time I was informed that we had a water problem – to wit – no water on site. So a plan was quickly drawn up with the local water agency to run a pipe 350 meters to the church. The problem was that a 12 inch wide by two feet deep ditch needed to be dug, and then the pipe laid to bring water to the site. This was around noon today. We needed water by that day to wet down and compact the maram so we had to move quick. Fortunately, everybody responds to the prospect of earning money here so we found seven guys who wanted to work, negotiated a price and they went to work digging over a thousand feet of ditch in a little over five hours – by hand! The water company came and laid the pipe and then the whole thing was backfilled. It was well after dark by that time, however the four of us had gone back to Bungoma by then.

 

We moved our lodging to Bungoma today because it is really more central to both Matete and Amagoro and we are staying at a lovely hotel called the Elegant.

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