While we were driving to Sakwa last week, night fell and it started to rain - hard. To understand what this means, you have to have a sense of Sakwa and the "roads" that lead there.
Sakwa is on the western side of Kenya - towards Lake Victoria. I do not expect you to know where Sakwa is. It is the kind of place that is unknown even to people that live in the area - kind of like Independent Hill or Nokesville, where I grew up in. Sakwa is about a six to seven hour drive from Nairobi. It is about four hours from Nakuru. I know these landmarks mean little to most people, but unless you are familiar with Nyamira, or Eldoret, or Magwagwa, it is probably the best that I can do.
To give you a better sense, Sakwa is about 9 kilometers (over 5.5 miles) past the end of the last "paved" road. There are no street lights, or any other kind of lights along the side of the road. And the road is not what we would exactly call a road. It is more of a wide path that has been torn up by cars and trucks trying to make their way through. Holes the size of serving trays and bumps the size of curbs define the road. Pits the size of coffee tables and bumps like small trees are not at all unusual. Then there are the occasional caverns waiting to swallow a small vehicle and bumps that are so big that you hit your head on the roof of the car.
Anyway, back to the story. We are driving these roads at night, in the pouring rain. The rain turns the road to nothing but mud, as slick as ice. Even in our four wheel drive loaded down with four passengers and a ton of supplies, we slid back and forth making our way to the destination.
Things were going great, and we were probably getting over confident. That is when it happened. Walking distance from our destination, the truck started to slide in a curve going up hill. Before anyone could even think about it, we are off the road and stuck.
Midnight or so. In Sakwa. In the rain. Stuck.
The vehicle was not going to go anywhere without a crew to push it and some small trees coming down. We called the other truck (there is cell coverage absolutely everywhere in Kenya) and told them. They walked back with flashlights and helped assess the situation - quickly agreeing that we were going to need more people and someone to cut us out. I voted that we just leave the truck there until the morning, walk the short distance to where we were staying and take care of it the next day when there would be light and it may have stopped raining.
Instead, a phone call was made. Within minutes a crew of five or six people and a machete arrived. After half an hour or so of chopping, pushing, pulling and falling in the mud (I tripped Pastor Robert first, but he got even by tripping me later), the truck was out. We walked up the hill wet, muddy and tired, but satisfied that a group had worked together to get things moving again. Amazingly, the next morning we saw that the truck had a few small scratches, but nothing major, no dents and very little damage overall.
Thinking about it all again, I see this as an example of God's desire that we live in community; that we rely on each other and come to each other's aid. When we get stuck, literally or spiritually, we need to be able to call on others to come to support us and come to our aid. Things may be going great on our own, then we hit a curve or a bump and slide out of control. It happens to everyone. Sometimes we need help removing whatever barrier is preventing us from moving forward in our relationship with God. We can't do it on our own.
There are many Biblical passages focusing on how we should support one another. The one that speaks to me most directly this morning is:
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)
I hope that everyone reading this has those people that they can call on when they are stuck and need the help to move forward. More importantly, I hope that everyone reading this (and frankly, the person writing this) is one of those people for others.