The opposition began a few weeks before my departure to Kenya, scheduled at first for December 5th, 2006:
The first attack was on my voice when I awoke one night choking on liquid that had refluxed into my throat. After coughing for a full 15 minutes to clear my windpipe, my voice was gone.
The second was a fall from a ladder. It was as if someone had grabbed the shoe off my foot when I lost my balance. Twisting my body and knee I fell on the bed behind me and not on the floor. Nevertheless, I sustained a very painful knee.
Next, while walking our two dogs, a sudden, sharp jerk on the leash the very instant I had one foot off the ground caused me to tumble down the steps onto the stones of the sidewalk beneath. I twisted the ankle of my right foot, and landed on my right knee, side, elbow and hand. I was in great pain, crying out loud. But G-d is so very good and kind. He already had sent someone who would see me falling -- a lady doctor who immediately came to “minister” first aid to me. How comforting it was to have my heavenly Father send this lady doctor just then, as I was bleeding and home alone with no one to help.
As a result of my ordeals, my right side and especially my right leg were very painful. Moreover, having recently had surgery on my left leg (vericose veins) I could not stand or walk for any length of time, and had to postpone my departure to the 16th according to the surgeon’s advice.
Immediately other obstacles appeared, as it was now impossible to rebook my seat on the flight from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. Since Christmas is a season of family reunions for many Ethiopians and Kenyans, flights between Addis Ababa and Nairobi are fully booked.
But supplication to the Lord prevailed and my travel agent managed to get me a seat. However, due to insufficient funds, my reservation was about to be cancelled. The Lord moved my travel agent (the manager of the agency) to pay for them herself until I could repay. Hardly had I rejoiced in thanksgiving when the next hurdle popped up: the airport in Kisumu – my destination from Nairobi – shut down. The runway was deemed unsafe and major repairs were required.
How would I now reach Kenya’s Western region, meeting with Bishop Bera?
I called my two pastor friends in Nairobi to see if my tickets with Kenya Airways could be transferred to East African Safari Express Airline who rerouted their flights to Eldoret town5. After numerous phone calls and and my friends’ visits to the offices of Kenya Airways and EAA, the transfer would be done upon my arrival in Nairobi.
My flight from Ben Gurion airport to Addis Ababa with Ethiopian Airlines passed without incident. However, upon our early morning arrival in Addis Ababa I and a good number of other passengers were forced to wait for 10 hours for the next flight to Nairobi, the morning flight having been greatly overbooked.
I was very tired, having prepared and cooked that weekend for 12 family members to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah together before leaving them for 3 weeks. I hadn’t slept for nearly 40 hours, and now needed to wait another 10, while my legs were constrained in very tight, special stockings since the surgery. I tried to sleep – unsuccessfully - on the hard metal benches set up throughout the airport mall.
Furthermore, I had only $ 9 cash on me as I had given our daughter the $ 140 friends sent to minister to our needs. Her need, being mother of 4, without a job and alone, was more urgent than mine. Hence, purchasing refreshments was out of the question. But – our beloved Lord came to my aid by sending 2 kind airport employees across my path who told me that I was entitled to certificates for free food and drink, due to our overbooked flight.
Upon arrival at Nairobi Kenyatta airport, my pastor friend Joseph Walubengo, was not there as promised. With luggage in hand, I searched up and down the hall looking for Joseph who was no where to be seen. We were supposed to go immediately to the office of Kenya Airways and EAA to verify the transfer of my tickets.
Feeling rather lost and increasingly unsettled, the Lord sent me another of His “angels” to help me – this time a taxi driver. He took me to a window where we called for Joseph 3 times, and then to the Kenya Airways and EAA offices, where I was told that for the day of my flight, Dec. 19th, Kisumu airport would be reopened.
I told the taxi driver that I probably would not need his taxi but he just smiled, said “Never mind,” and stayed at my side.
In view of the possibility that I might need to go to a hotel, I tried to withdraw money from an automatic teller, only to be told that my pin # was wrong. At the third and last teller I finally realized I had been typing in my Israeli credit card # instead of my Visa, due to my concern over Joseph not having shown up.
I already had waited for 1 ½ hour when other taxi drivers began to gather around us, noticing my distress. They offered to call Joseph on their cell phone but just his name, without his phone number, was written in my phone book, which I only found after much searching since it had slipped through a tear in the suitcase lid under my clothes in the suitcase.
Exhausted and in pain, I could no longer hold back my tears. My taxi driver “angels” (by now they were 2) tried calming me down. It worked, for the Lord succeeded in reminding me of my tiny little address book in my purse. There was the phone # of my contact person at the Israeli Embassy in Nairobi with whom I was in touch in relation to an agricultural/marketing project for my Kenyan friends in Webuye. He gave me Joseph’s phone #, my “angel” gave me his cell phone and I finally spoke to Joseph who said they were on their way but stuck in heavy traffic.
By that time the whole arrival hall knew about my dilemma.When Joseph finally turned up and I called his name out loud in exasperation and relief, everybody clapped, laughed and shouted for joy. I gave my taxi driver “angel” half of the fare it would have cost to the hotel. He certainly deserved it. Finally we left the airport, accompanied by loud well wishes from all the taxi drivers, airport security personnel and bystanders.
Such was only the beginning of my 3rd mission to Kenya. Never shall I forget it!
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