Thursday, June 5, 2014

Surprised by Martin

“Look! It’s Martin! What’s he doing here at this time of day?”

Dave and had I pulled up outside our gated driveway about 8:30 in the morning but before we could get out and unlock the gate, to our surprise, Martin was there to unlock it for us.

His workday ended at 6 a.m. each day. Why was he still on duty?

His face told a story of pain mixed with happiness, of strain mixed with relief.

He explained he was beside himself with worry because we never returned from an airport run the night before. He was afraid we’d been carjacked or in an accident.

When we saw the situation from his perspective, we recognized why he would be concerned.

You see, we and our colleagues avoided driving after dark because carjackings were all too common. In fact, we’d already experienced two near-carjackings. Not fun!

Once in a while, though, we had to go out after dark.

One such time was to pick up Dave’s brother and sister-in-law, John and Shelly. During our final two years in Africa, they worked at West Nairobi School (the school for missionary kids that Dave had opened) and they were returning from a quick trip to the States for their son’s wedding.

Back in those days, if we’d been in the States, we would’ve called the airline company to see if John and Shelly’s flight was on time, but things didn’t work that way in Kenya. Besides, Dave and I didn’t have a phone.

Back then the Internet was not readily available to us, and cell phones were a thing of the future.

Our only option was to drive to the airport and find out if a flight was on time—which was just what we did that night.

The flight was on time and we waited for it to land. Then we waited, and waited, for passengers to deplane and stand in lines to fill out forms and get their passports and visas checked—and after all that, John and Shelly were not among them.

We checked with the airline: They were not booked on that flight. No one knew what had happened to them.

By then it was late at night. We worried about driving back to the city and were especially concerned about driving from the city to our home in Karen—we’d have to drive long stretches of notoriously risky roads to get home—so instead, we stopped in town and stayed the rest of the night at John and Shelly’s apartment.

In the morning, we planned to return to the airport in hopes of learning what happened to John and Shelly, but before we could do so, a taxi pulled up in front of their place and they jumped out.

Their connecting flight in Europe had gotten mixed up somehow—I don’t remember the details—but they were back in Nairobi and that’s what mattered.

Dave and I drove home to eat breakfast and get to work at the school across the road—and that’s when Martin surprised us: He had stayed at our house well past his work day, troubled over what could have happened to us.

Such concern! Such loyalty!

Bless his heart. 
Once again, Martin had shown us—
without knowing he was doing so—


  1. What a wonderful man, Martin is. So concerned about you. His heart was really in the right place. God bless him.

  2. What a good man Martin is, to be concerned and to wait for you. I wonder what he is doing today, these years later.

  3. Joyful and Terra, thanks for your kind words. Terra, in a future post I will cover what I know about him nowadays.... Stay tuned!