"You will receive power and the Holy Ghost will come upon you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
Acts 1: 8
We were in Malindi, Kenya working with a team of twenty people, mostly from Texas. Our church assignment was Kua Munu about ten miles inland.
The church building was concrete block which was unusual in itself. Most churches were sticks and mud with a grass or palm frond roof. Some of our most productive and spiritual church services were held under a canopy of acacia trees.
As typical, in any church, a collection plate was passed. As normal in Africa, items other than money were placed in the plate. It is not unusual to see ears of maize (corn) or a coconut in the offering in an African church. A few Kenyan shillings, but very few, were also collected.
The men sat on one side of the church and the women on the other side. Children made no noise, whatsoever, and did not dare leave the service. If a baby began crying, the mother and child left immediately.
One morning when we arrived at the church, an old car was there we had not previously seen. All the other days we had walked to surrounding villages. The pastor told us we were going to a remote area where no white people had ever been seen by many of the villagers so be prepared to be stared at. By then we were used to that experience.
Margie and I rode in the backseat of the car. I'm not sure the make of the vehicle but it appeared similar to a 1950 American made automobile. The floor was rusted out and we could see the reddish dirt road passing under us.
As we traveled deeper into the interior, the jungle became thicker and we saw few signs of human habitation. A canopy of vegetation over the road blocked out the sunlight to make it seem as night.
Finally, we came to the end of the road. We were still some distance from the village and the closest thing to a road was a dry creek bed. That creek was a tributary to the Athi-Galana-Sabaki River that flows into the Indian Ocean near Malindi.
The driver started up the creek bed. Margie and I looked at each other and her eyes said, "Why do I let you get me into such places?" She didn't fool me though; she wouldn't have taken a ranch in Texas for that experience!
We finally reached the village and spent several hours explaining Bible concepts to the villagers. Margie often reminds me of how sleepy one can become in the African sun with a slight breeze blowing, and the drone of a Kenyan army plane going overhead and following a five mile hike.
The Kua Munu pastor served as our interpreter. Tribal dialects vary from village to village but he managed to explain very adequately. I could say a sentence of five or ten words and it seemed like he would spend twenty minutes explaining what I'd said. Possibly, he added a little of his own flair to it, maybe? We've found, in so many cases, when people hear the gospel for the first time, they are eager to embrace it.
When we started back to Malindi, the driver chose a different creek bed; this one had water. Several times we drove through water deep enough it came through the holes in the car floor.
Margie rode with her feet up in the seat. I imagine she was wondering what besides water might come into the car with us. We had come quite a way and one water hole was deeper than our driver assumed. You guessed it; the car drowned out. So, here we were, in the jungle of East Africa, up a creek without a paddle. Margie just loves our little adventures.
I climbed out through a window and waded to the creek bank. We found a log and slid it around for Margie to have a bridge out. She came out the window with her skirt pulled up and with her new walking shoes tied around her neck and made it to dry land. The log rolled but she maintained her balance and managed not to fall.
And, off we went for another hike. Margie walked for a while in her sock feet before pulling the socks off to put on her shoes. We were only a couple of miles from a road going into Malindi. We walked a path along the creek to the road. There was a bus stop not far from where we came out.
The bus finally came. It looked like a 1940's model. The floor was rusted out in places but we were getting used to that. The bus was full of passengers; all were African Muslims.
One man gave his seat to the "white lady." They stared at us a few seconds and went back to their reading and talking. They were very courteous and not at all intimidating. One that spoke English asked where we were from and then conveyed the information to the others in Swahili.
The man that gave Margie his seat had admired her hat. When he left the bus, she gave him the hat for his wife to say "thank you" for his kindness. Our interpreter left the bus outside Malindi and the driver had stayed with the car and was recruiting local villagers to help pull it out of the creek.
As the other passengers exited at their stops, they smiled at us and wished us well. We finally arrived back in Malindi. When we arrived there, we recognized the street. We finally started to feel we were in familiar surroundings. The final bus stop was still about a mile from our hotel. And,yes, we were tired!
By the time we arrived at the hotel, we definitely felt like we had been to the uttermost. Now we know where Jesus was talking about when He said in Acts 1: 8, "The uttermost parts of the earth."