After I entered Nairobi, a warning was issued from the U. S. State Department asking travelers not to go to Kenya. Kenya had invaded Somalia, and Al Shabaab (Al qaeda) was threatening to bomb American citizens in Nairobi. All of a sudden I was a target! The shopping malls now had security screening for people and cars. I could not walk on the streets or even think of public transportation. I could not leave the church compound unless I was in a car with a trusted driver. Being thankful to not be staying in a hotel is an understatement. I knew the American hotels were a prime target for Al Shabaab. Our church compound always felt safe.
We did not have much in our house, but I had a good bed! Those who know me well know I need a good night sleep in order to function the next day. We had hot showers, a small communion table borrowed from the church, with 3 chairs. In the small kitchen we had a sink, a 2 burner gas camp stove, and a microwave. No refrigeration, oven, or any place to store kitchen utensils. We also borrowed 3 plastic chairs from the church to sit in the kitchen. I learned how to cook stews, rice, and cabbage African style. They have wonderful spices, many from India to flavor all their dishes. I had fun experimenting with all the spices; always trying something new. Chai is a staple. We drank Chai all day long, so there was always a pot on the stove filled with tea. Tea Masala spice was added, or mashed fresh ginger for taste. We shopped daily for the perishables, as well as bread to make honey sandwiches for visitors. Everyone likes honey sandwiches! I added banana and some orange marmalade to mine and had a breakfast treat! We always cooked with fresh produce, the farmers bring produce in daily from the hills the papayas were so sweet and good. When I arrived, the house had been freshly painted and new curtains had been hung. It all was clean, and we had green plants all around us. The air was crisp and sunny most of the time. When rain came, everything dried up quickly so mud was not a big problem.
When I was leaving Nairobi, I met a woman of Indian origin waiting to board my flight to London. Her grandfather was an India Cooley the British had brought to Kenya in the late 1800’s to build the Kenyan railroad from Mombasa to Uganda. She grew up in Nairobi but moved to London in her teens. We talked about how the world had changed, and all the violence that we now see. When it came to terrorism, she kept saying “they are brainwashed. Don’t they know we have to live together respectfully in peace, and work together? Jesus is coming soon, I tell my sons this every day. All the signs we are told to look for are happening in our world now”. She asked me if I was a missionary, and I told her I was. I asked her what church she went to, and she looked puzzled. She then said “I am a Muslim, not a Christian. We all know Jesus is coming and he will fight the beast. I hope he wins.” Jesus is not her savior, he is a good prophet. She, a Muslim, knows more about the condition of our world then most Christians. Jesus is coming soon!