Friday, February 06, 2009

residing in a land not their own

As the bus driver neared, a young lady midway up in the bus, turned and looked at me. She offered me her seat. She had offered it before. Previously, I did not think it right to accept her offer.

Now, Lopeyok would speak out. "Brent, she is offering her seat. If I were you, I would take it!"

He knew I was suffering, and in need of a break. I felt funny doing so, but I decided to switch with this young woman. My hope was that further up in the bus, meant a less violent ride.

She moved to the back and I went up and sat between Melcy and her 13 year old daughter.

In peering back on occasion, it became quite evident that the young woman who yielded her seat had an additional motive. She wanted to get to know Lopeyok. Later. when I brought this up to him, he agreed. They had exchanged numbers and info.

The ride from this point to Lodwar, Kenya, was far more tolerable. It was still a ride that shook your insides with force, but it was not as bad as the back of the bus.

I began to get to know Melcy and her daughter. She was a business woman who lived at Mt. Kenya, but made the three day bus trip to Lodwar to set up shop for extended periods. I did not know it at the time, but later I would learn how much product she had packed into this bus.

She spoke of her daughter next to me, who had survived a severe illness. She spoke of her other children, who were with family.

I talked to her about the love of our Heavenly Father. How much He cared and desired that we be in personal relationship with Him. She listened but seemed not to want to talk about this.

We were silent for quite a while, then she would occasionally bring up a topic. I tried talking to her daughter, but she struggled to understand my English, as I don't speak with the clear diction they do. I had to learn over the few days that if I wanted to be understood, I could not be lazy with my words, but must clearly articulate each syllable.

We arrived at Lodwar, and this was their stop. She asked me to help her unload their gear. I rose to begin the process. I grabbed a couple of bags and gladly headed for the door. We had been on this bus for nearly 12 hours.

When I got outside, she asked me to remain with her bags and boxes. I agreed, while she went back to retrieve more. Boy, did she have more! I don't know how early she arrived to get it all stowed in the nooks and cranny's of this bus, but it explained why I struggled to find room for my own bag.

Michael and Larry were each involved bringing her boxes forward. Lopeyok was saying goodbye to his new seat partner.

Melcy came to step off for the final time. When she did I offered my hand as the decline was steep. My hand was not enough, she fell flat on her back. Men rushed forward to assist me in picking her up. She was no worse for the wear.

What happened next made me wonder if it had happened on purpose. She asked for my contact info. I gave her my business card and told her this was the best way to reach me. She began to weep and asked if she would ever see me again.

I was taken off guard, and blankly offered that I would be coming back through Lodwar the following day, but would not likely see was a big village.

I gave her a hug goodbye as another man asked for my business card. I smiled and said, "I'm sorry, I don't even know who you are."

Perhaps that seems harsh, but I have had others from this country seek our (Awe Star Ministries) assistance to get to the US.

The bus pulled up a hundred yards, then made all of us get off. We were told we had to change buses for the final leg to Kakuma.

I was glad to change bus drivers!

But when we got on the next bus, the only open seat was next to a man right down front, by the door (my favorite spot). He told me the seat was taken and I moved on back. This bus was standing room only and we still had an hour or two to go.

As I prayed, God must have moved his heart. He called back to me, and gave me the spot. Another man of peace rises to the forefront!

I began to speak to him. He was from Kakuma and did business there. As a matter of fact, he was the bus administrator. I knew it was going to be near midnight when we arrived, and we had no place to sleep. I asked if he knew a place to rest for the night.

He began to open up to me, and we talked about many things. He was a believer, and we talked about our Savior.

This leg of the ride went quickly. Probably because of less vertical roads with less potholes and washboard erosion.

We arrived in Kakuma just before the generators were shut down for the night. All would turn pitch black very soon. He walked my team a couple of blocks away to the Guest House. He met with the proprietor, and got us settled in. We parted for the evening, and he asked me to look him up the next day if I needed any further assistance.

After stowing our gear for the night, the proprietor of the Guest House, walked us down the main road in hopes of finding food. It was not easy, and I was not fond of this midnight dinner trend, but we found a place. We barely had time to eat before being hurried out, as it was time to turn off the generators.

I had never seen such an explosion of stars in the sky, as when there was not a twinkling light anywhere in sight. It was an unbelievable display!

As we walked, we recounted the unusual day, bus ride, and thanked God we had made it to Kakuma!

Michael and I shared a room this night. As we each crawled under our mosquito nets, we prayed together, thanking our Savior for delivering us through such a near death experience. We were in awe that we had arrived safely and that the Lord had even provided the men of peace, each step of the way, to get us to this place we could sleep.

We could hardly wait for tomorrow! We were excited to get to the refugee camp! We did not believe the Lord had brought us sooo far, to find a closed door. Even so, we asked Him to show us the way. To reveal to us the men of peace who would assist us in getting to where we needed to be.

We drifted off sleep with high hopes, and thankful hearts!

I could hear Larry in the next room. He called his wife Terry and told her of our unbelievable day. I believe this was the first time I realized how truly serious all had been, for I knew Larry and his family had endured being shot at, and many other things in their time in Uganda. This really unnerved even him.

God had protected us and prevailed over the enemies schemes. I was strengthened for a new day!



At 8:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am REALLY loving reading about your trip! These stories and the people are so precious and I am SO glad you are safe....
Thanks for sharing all of this with us - I feel as if I can really understand a bit of your trip :)

Love you - I hope you can get some rest this weekend

At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


These stories are amazing! I'll stop griping about Rt 39. I can't wait to read more! I absolutely love the pics on fb. So glad you are home safe!


At 5:05 PM, Blogger Hopeful Pediatric Oncology Nurse said...

As I read, I keep coming back to the thought "Brent would be the perfect person to come to our Spring Week of Prayer in 2010"... but then again, I have to talk with my teacher, Mr. Perrin... and make sure the position is still open. I wish... But God is in control right now.
I lke reading about your trip. Glad you got home safely. :) If only I could go to another country. How I'd see the world we definitely change...
Thanks for writing and telling us.
Amor, Leslie

At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your journey is so amazing! I can't wait to hear more about how God through this trip!


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