Giving thanks during journeys has fast become a focus during my stay in Kenya. It started when Oliver Kisaka told a story, while preaching, about giving thanks to God in prayer. Oliver had a car that had an oil leak problem that seemingly couldn’t be fixed. When he asked God for help fixing it, God reminded him that it was God who had given him the car and so shouldn’t Oliver be giving thanks instead? Oliver agreed and gave thanks. Not long afterwards, the problem was fixed.
To cut a long story short, I have not been without journey issues this week.
The culmination so far, was travelling at around 5km per hour in an old Toyota Hiace minibus along the main route for trucks coming and going from Mombasa and the Kenyan coast through to Uganda, DRC and back. At night. On a bumpy road. With pot holes as wide as our car and as deep as from my feet to my shins. There were no road markings and it wasn’t until I was on this road, on this journey that I realised how valuable ‘cats’ eyes’, that we have on the roads in Britain, are.
But as Phori said, when we were safely around the table giving thanks in prayer and fellowship and celebrating our adventure at 9:30pm, ‘if, when we travelling so slowly, we had known that we were around the table at 9:30pm giving thanks it might have made the journey that much easier’.
Quite! It would have made us feel a lot better. But as it was, travelling at 5km/h we gave thanks, we prayed, we talked and we sang our hearts out. A better fellowship we could not have known.
And, after a while, our prayers were answered and the 80km/h limiter in the bus didn’t always kick in at 5km/h. So we could travel that little bit faster (you don’t know how fast 40km/h can feel until you have been travelling at 5km/h with Congolese and Uganda trucks blasting past you up hill!
To tie it all together, in Britain Yearly Meeting’s Quaker Faith & Practice book 13.21 states ‘travelling to visit and worship with Friends, both within our yearly meeting and beyond, is greatly to be valued’. I’m not sure that the writers had us in mind when they wrote this passage, but us three Friends from East Africa Yearly Meeting North, Central & Southern Yearly Meeting and Britain Yearly Meeting are certainly valuing our travel together!
Written on 15 December 2009.