It took us longer than we wanted to collect our last two bags and get through customs and immigration at the Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, With the two hour delay we finally stepped outside the door and met up with my brother and his wife who had arrived shortly before us on another airline. Together we headed to a waiting van driven by a Kenyan named Elisha. After squeezing all our bags in the vehicle it took us almost another hour just to negotiate the traffic fighting to get out of the parking lot!
On the one and half hour drive to Kijabe, Elisha negotiated stalled trucks on the road and a police stop where the officers where looking for a late night tip - "lunch money." They didn't get anything from Elisha and we arrived safely atabout 1:30am. We used Elisha's services three more times in the coming weeks and on each occasion he took great care to get us to our destination safely and graciously. On the morning we left to return home, he picked us up at 3:45am, and as he delivered us back to Jomo Kenyatta Airport he told us his story.
Elisha who is now in his 60’s was the youngest of 14 children and grew up in an impoverished family. By the age 2 his father contracted a disease that left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to care for the needs of his family. In an agrarian society this meant immediate poverty leaving his mother in a desperate struggle for survival. Over the coming years she lost 7 of her children to malnutrition and illness. Elisha often went without food.
When he was eighteen he had a dream where he was told that he should go to Kijabe, because the missionaries there were kind and would provide him with food, education and a job. Though he lived a considerable distance away, he obeyed what he was told in the dream and started walking. The journey through perilous territory took him three months relying on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.
Due to security concerns a gate was in place at the entrance of the mission station and no one could enter who had not been invited by someone living or working there. Elisha knew no one! He was obviously very disappointed. Nevertheless, something inside him prompted him to ask if he could see the list of those who lived there. As he read through the list a name jumped out! It was his oldest brother whom he had lost track of and was now student a Moffat Bible School. Elisha not was only permitted on to the station, but he had a place to stay!
Several days later his brother took him to meet a missionary by name of Herb Cook – a close friend of my father – who had been praying for a young man to help at the Kijabe printing press. Elisha was given the job and thrived! Over the coming years he moved on to work in the operating room of the Kijabe Hospital where he sterilized surgical instruments for my childhood doctor, Doctor Bill Barnett. Dr. Bill taught him to drive, and he eventually became the driver for the hospital. In time he started his own business van service, transporting scores of people who come to work and volunteer at Kijabe.
Elisha prayed for a Godly wife and later married Esther, a jovial middle school teacher who radiates a love for people and the Lord. He also prayed “Lord, I want my children to have a good education and not just any degree, but advanced degrees." He and Esther were blessed with four children: Three sons who are respectively, a lawyer, a research scientist, and in upper management with an MBA. And a daughter who is a dentist and married to a pastor. Most important is that his children all love Jesus. Elisha concluded his story by saying something like this, “All my life I say, ‘God this is job, this business, this money, is Yours and I am trusting You to bring business to me'. This is His business.” An amazing story of God’s grace, by a man who genuinely gives God all the glory!