Friday, April 4, 2014

Have You Ever Prayed for Loose Lug Nuts?

This was my prayer Tuesday night as we had our second flat tire of the day and the vehicle sat on the
Sunrise in Kenya!
side of the road in the dark. But the story of my “Maasai Adventure Day” really began many hours before that.

We started out bright and early (well dark and early) at 5:40 am to get through Nairobi before rush hour and to avoid the predicted Matatu strike. Due to new rules about governors on their vehicles, there was suspicion that the drivers would park and block the roads. Luckily that didn’t happen and we had no problems as we headed south toward Tanzania.

We reached our first stop, a little over 2 hours later, about 40 km north of the border. I was hoping to see Mt. Kilimanjaro, but it was a foggy morning and we just weren’t close enough. The plan for the day was to meet the Kenyan pastor and a survey team, then head out to another area where the survey would be done to gather data and determine whether it was a good place to drill a well. We started by meeting the pastor in town and had tea with him and another gentleman. Toward the end of our visit, the other gentleman mentioned that our tire was going flat. Very good to know this before going out into the bush. So we headed across the street to the tire repair shop.

We pulled up and a number of men began to assess the situation. Likely the tire would be flat soon so a repair was in order. I had a long lesson on the process of repairing a tire with a tube and split rim. I didn’t even know what that was before then. The longest part of the process was actually removing the lug nuts. They were on so tight and it took multiple men working with different lug nut remover thingy’s (yes I will eventually learn what they are called), a long pipe used for extra torque and lots of sweat! Finally the tire was off, rims eventually separated, hole found and repaired and the whole thing put back together again.  Praise God.

One stop shopping!
During this time I was able to observe the people setting up for their town’s market day. I made friends with a little boy who played hide and seek with me around the corner of the buildings and through the windows of the butcher shop. I also learned that the Kenyans’ are really good business people. The tire repair place was also a Kinyozi (barber shop) and phone charging and repair store. Talk about one stop shopping, too bad my phone was charged and working and I haven’t decided to shave my head….. yet! What a blessing to have the flat in a town, in the daylight and to have some great experiences while I waited.

After that,  we met up with the survey team and headed out to the bush. The pastor said it was only an hour trip out, but to me it felt like over 2 hours, with a few stops for goat and cattle crossings. I wasn’t quick enough to get any good pictures of the cattle. That was the best, when they came at us and just parted and went around us as we stopped there.

We made it out to the area to survey and the team started. From my very over simplified view, they were using seismic readings and electric conductivity to assess where there might be water. As the day went on some Maasai men and women ventured out to see what was going on. I was lucky enough to get to spend a few hours smiling at and beginning to communicate with these ladies and their babies. I practiced some of my Swahili and learned a little Maa (the Maasai language) also. They were very sweet and very curious about everything I did. I have continued to pray for these women and would ask you to also. The flies are bad out there and the baby’s face was constantly covered due to her runny nose. I do not know if I will get back to this area to see them again, but I will keep praying for them and for water to be there and for a successful well to be dug.
Please pray for these women and children!

It was about 11:30 when we arrived and over the next 6+ hours the survey team gathered their data in multiple places. Daylight was getting short and the best option would have been to get right on the road back to the town where we planned to stay for the night. However, the pastor said we must come to his house for a late lunch/dinner. We obliged and graciously but quickly ate our rice, meat stew and chapate, then got back on the road with only about ½ hour or daylight left. It was slow going, but things were going well until we reached a spot in the road where 3 trucks were stopped. There were many people riding in and on the trucks and I guess one was broken down and blocking the road. The Kenyan who was riding with us back to the town said we should try to go around on the side. That was all fine until we were stuck there in the ditch, not able to go forward or backward. As many of you know I pray a lot when traveling in vehicles in other countries and there were many prayers that day already, but now I started praying for release from that dirt and from behind those trucks. After some work the 4 wheel drive was engaged and 4 men (one with a machine gun) helped push us backward onto the road again. In a few more minutes the trucks all managed to move over enough for us to successfully pass on the other side. Praise God we were on our way again without incident and I was thanking God for those peaceful and helpful people on that dark road.

By the time we arrived in town to drop off the Kenyan traveling with us, we had decided that driving back to Nairobi was a better choice than staying at the guest dorms. I know sometimes decisions seem not so smart in hindsight, but at that moment it all made sense. I was ready to be home and I figured God had got us through the worst parts of the day safely! It had to be easy from there. Right?

So to the north we headed, making good time, since there was very little traffic.  Then I heard it. That sound that you try to ignore, but you just know it is not good, the second flat tire in less than 12 hours. At this moment I thanked God that we were on a good paved road, with a large shoulder to pull off on and not much traffic. However, I was beginning to worry. I had not forgotten how much time and effort it took many men to remove those other very tight lug nuts, in daylight, with many tools. At that moment I began to pray out loud and ask God for loose lug nuts. Hey, He says ask and it will be granted.  By the grace of God, in only 15 minutes Gene had all the lug nuts off and the spare on and we were on the road again.

I am very thankful that God answered my prayers that day. I had not only prayerd for the loose lug nuts, but also for Gene’s safety since this tire was on the right side (ie road side) of the vehicle, for very little traffic coming that way and for no one to stop and try to “help”. (Friends had a bad experience with that before, not everyone really stops to "help".)

God provided us safe and quick passage the remainder of the way home. I kept praying for this the entire way and was very happy when I recognized the roads again. An hour earlier, I felt like a cat, running out of lives and we were definitely running out of tires. The whole day was a gift from God and I thank Him for the wonderful people I met: the ones who repaired the first flat tire, the little boy who played with me, the women and children I met, the survey team, the gracious pastor who fed us and the men who pushed us out of the ditch. I am thankful for a good place to change a tire for the beautiful stars we saw that night and for being challenged rely on God over and over again. That has been a common theme since I have been here in Kenya.

Goats crossing the road!
Thanks you for all your prayers for me, my teammates and the ministry and people here in Kenya. I could feel your prayers that entire day. Thank you. Thank you. I ask you to continue to pray for us here in Kenya and for missionaries all over the world. They all need your prayers.

Please continue to pray, as this vehicle is now getting new tires and being serviced, It is the vehicle we will take up to Turkana next week. It is a two-day trip and I ask for your prayers for safety, no vehicle problems and a good, peaceful overnight rest before we begin our second day of traveling.  I am so thankful for my “Maasai Adventure Day” and for God’s answered prayers for loose lug nuts!

James 1: 2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.


  1. I am sure it's one adventure after another over there! Be safe and we will continue to pray for you and your mission. We miss you, girl! - Eric D.

  2. I have been praying for your protection and safety all glad to know those prayers are being have our prayers and love.

  3. Dear Shannon, I pray that the Lord will strengthen you and protect you in all your ways!