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Posted by Lisa Lewis Koster - - 10 comments

I've done a lot of journaling over the years, but I've never gone back to read any of it until I wrote my most recent post detailing how God convinced me to go to Kenya. I'm happy to report it was not nearly as painful to read as I expected it to be.

As God was persuading me, I had basically drawn a line in the sand. The one thing I absolutely had to have was a bed to sleep in. Period! With all the problems with my hip and back, I knew there was no way I'd survive two weeks laying on the ground. Surprisingly, the mission team leader said that would not be a problem; we would definitely be sleeping in beds. If I had heard even a hint to the contrary, that would've been it for me.

But he assured me.


Probably because I was checking up on this detail - repeatedly.

You see, it was still hard for me to believe God actually wanted me to do this. There were so many people more qualified than me. (Everyone, in my estimation.) Then, while pain in my right hip had been my constant companion for years, something new cropped up just before we were scheduled to fly out. Now there was tremendous pain in my left hip. I thought, "I am done for!" because I could barely move around. Thankfully I was able to see my physical therapist the day before we departed. He put me back into alignment the best he could and theorized that I must have jammed that hip stepping down off a chair. (It was just after Christmas and I had been taking down decorations.)

The next day, despite my trepidation, I mustered every bit of faith I had and boarded that jet. I remember being somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean and thinking, "This is a miracle! I am experiencing a miracle right now!" (Little did I know, I hadn't seen anything yet!)

Normally, just an hour traveling would do me in. Here I'd been traveling 24 hours straight and really wasn't any worse off than usual! In hindsight, I think God gave me this experience because He knew what was coming next!

Our first day in Kenya started well enough, other than the fact that the 8 hour time difference had me totally messed up and I would've liked to sleep much later than we were able. We were scheduled to fly to an island in Lake Victoria after lunch, so we ate at a nice restaurant near the little airport before taking off.

It was early on in this flight that I learned I get airsick...

when in a tiny plane...

being tossed about...

in a rainstorm...

right after lunch.

Being in that little plane, totally surrounded by dark clouds as rain pelted the windows and the craft was tossed to and fro is what I imagine it would feel like being trapped in a washing machine.

For an hour.

Needless to say, that was one of the longest hours of my life! I remember desperately trying to keep my thoughts off my circumstances by alternately reciting John 15 to myself - which I had been memorizing at the time - and praying "Please, God, don't let me be sick again!"

When you've been on the verge of being sick for an hour, the last thing you want the plane to do is make a quick drop followed by a sharp bank back up and around, which was exactly what ours did to scatter the cattle standing around on the little gravel runway. When we finally did land, I forced myself to resist the urge to kiss the ground because I noticed we had an audience. Planes here are a rarity, so school was dismissed and a couple hundred students now lined the runway.

Still feeling queasy, as soon as I disembarked I began walking along the runway, trying to get my stomach to settle. I was praying that the children's first experience with a mzungu wouldn't be me throwing up in front of them all! My husband Bob was dutifully walking by my side, hopefully probably feeling guilty for getting his wife into this mess.

We were still walking when we were summoned back to the plane and I heard the last words someone in my circumstances would want to hear:

"You need to get on board this boat."

Yep, just what an airsick girl wants to do - NOT!

We were going to be staying down the coast at the Bible Translation Center (BTL - don't ask me why, that's just what they called it.) So we loaded the thirteen of us and all our luggage into one of the "canoes" and started motoring around the island. Thankfully, between the Dramamine a sympathetic team member gave me and the fact that the horizon was now visible, the boat ride wasn't nearly as horrible as I expected it to be.

When we finally reached our destination all I could see was a tall hedge with an opening in the center and women carrying water going in and out. Exiting the boat meant climbing up and over the seat, going back down to the keel and then doing it all over again at the next bench. Not an easy task when you've got a bad hip, an aching back and are wearing a skirt!

When I walked through the hedges my heart sunk. There, before me, stood a field of tents, and NOT the kind you find beds in!


After getting ourselves settled the best we could and taking in the 2" foam mat that would be my bed for the next week or so, we walked up the hill to the latrine.

Where I proceeded to step into a hole.

Immediately I knew I had jammed my left hip.


That was the last straw! I did what I hope many of you would do (just so I'm not alone here); I went in my tent and I cried!

And I told God exactly what I thought about that plane ride!

And the boat!

And the hole!

I don't remember how long my rant lasted or exactly what I said, but I remember it ended with me saying,


To which God gently replied, "I know. That's why I didn't tell you."

At this point my tears turned to laughter. After all, what else is a girl going to do? God knew my tipping point, and so He made sure I didn't hear anything that would dissuade me from going on the trip. The funny thing is, others DID know we'd be staying in tents. 

Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. ~ Luke 24:13-16 (emphasis mine).

The truth is, I didn't know because God didn't want me to know.

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.~ Luke 24:45

Looking back, I do have a vague recollection of hearing we'd be in tents in the BTL, but because they said "IN" the BTL rather than "AT" I assumed that meant we'd be staying "IN" a building and the "tents" were some sort of mosquito net.

Have you ever had an experience where God blinded you to the truth?



10 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh, Lisa! I loved reading this blog. It made me laugh and brought back many memories.
    So glad you went. :)

  2. What an adventure God has you on. Bless you on your trip. Love hearing about your experience. "That's why I didn't tell you." I often think God has a good sense of humor.

  3. Unknown says:

    Two weeks from today we'll be up in northern Minnesota on our Boundary Water's trip. We're carrying everything in on our backs including the tents, food, clothes, sleeping and cooking gear... and will have to portage the canoes between lakes. My biggest concern too is how I'm going to push through the pain in my hips and joints which is a daily battle for me along with my breathing. I don't know why I'm worried about that, I'll probably be eaten by a bear or a giant tick ~ lol.

  4. Unknown says:

    I seriously just laughed out loud when God told you "I know...that's why I didn't tell you." Oh, what the humor He has. He knows us so well. And that is the hope...He knows us so well. I can't wait to hear about the rest of your journey. Will you link it up next week?

  5. Oh yea, he puts the blinders on me lots of times. This is a great experience, can't wait to hear the rest of the story! Linking up and followed you on Networked Blogs. Have a great evening Lisa!

  6. I know you were a blessing on this trip even with the air sickness and boat ride and wearing a skirt. Thank you for sharing your lovely post with us here at “Tell Me a Story.” http://letmetelluastory.blogspot.com/

  7. Anonymous says:

    I enjoyed reading this so much! I geared up, I laughed...and most of all, even though I've never been on a missions trip I related to your story of God keeping some of the details from you...I truly can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

  8. jviola79 says:

    Lisa - I have loved reading these posts related to your trip. I loved reading "And that's why I didn't tell you!" as I probably would not sleep in a tent either!! So glad you are sharing this adventure with us!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. God bless you on your journey. Hugs P.S. hopping over from Karren's :-)

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