I woke up at 5:00am. The lodge turns the generator off from 10:00pm until 5:30am so it was pitch black and very quiet. I got up with my flashlight and walked outside before any lights came on or generators started running. What an awesome night sky. I have never seen more stars in my life. I stood in awe at the grandeur of God’s creation. I reflected on Genesis 1 where he spoke and created the heavens. He placed all the stars in the sky as he said “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And so it was. He orchestrated all of this perfectly. We float around in our orbit exactly where we need to be all of the time. All of the stars and planets and all that is in space moves perfectly, exactly as he designed it and exactly as He sustains it today. And this is the same sky we see at home.
We had an early breakfast and headed out on the safari a little after 7:00am. We spent three hours on the Maasai Mara. We saw all types of animals and birds. We had a family of elephants cross right in front of our vehicle. There were giraffes and buffalo and warthogs and many other animals all around but we didn’t see any predators….yet.
Suddenly we saw a lioness walking along in the tall grass. We watched him for a couple minutes, taking lots of photos and video. Suddenly he looked downhill where there was a gazelle beginning to walk up the hill on a small path about 300 yards away. The lioness spotted it and began to crouch down and start moving toward the path where the gazelle was likely going to pass. Joseph is a very good driver who does safaris regularly so he knew what to do. He drove us down the road and to a better viewpoint where he knew we would be able to see what happened. We were watching the gazelle get closer to where we thought the lioness was and we expected it to cross the lioness’ path in another 50 yards when suddenly the lioness jumped up out of the grass at the prey, barely missing it. We didn’t realize she was there, she had done exactly what she planned, she moved along in the grass unseen. I’m sure it needs to be perfectly timed to attack a gazelle because once she missed it was outta there. She put up chase for about 20 yards before giving up and walking down the path toward us.
Joseph drove even closer to the path, knowing that she would pass there. She walked up toward our vehicle and then right in front of us, paying us no attention. It was amazing. We all took lots of photos and video. This is like National Geographic. I kept thinking how much I would love to come back here with my family, it is such an experience.
We drove through the park for another couple hours, getting up close to all kinds of animals before heading out to get to our Narok Prison in time for our scheduled service at 2:00pm. It was a long drive on REALLY rough roads. This is brutal driving (once outside of the park). It was brutal yesterday approaching the game reserve and it’s even worse today. These are the worst (or at least close) of any roads I have ever driven on, and we have a long way to go. It was hot in the car today and very dusty.
Narok Prison had a very large Christian population (as is the case in many of the prisons we have entered in Kenya). The administration and the officers are not shy about their faith, most of the OCs are Christian and they share it openly with their inmates. This seems to be truly a Christian nation in the sense that most people openly profess faith in Jesus.
Narok Prison was situated in a somewhat residential area, remotely located. Upon entering the main gate there were officers quarters to the right and a gated fence directly in front. This was used as an area for screening anyone that would enter the prison, similar to larger prisons in which this area would be within the walls. In this case it is a single wall around the prison. All of the outdoor walls in the corridor in which we stood were painted with murals and the Medical Room, Dispensary, OC’s office and Staff Toilets (along with a couple other administrative rooms) were all located here. Directly in front of us about 100 yards was the entrance to the Women’s Prison.
We met with the OC, gave him gifts, prayed for him, and then were escorted into the prison yard. As we walked through the solid steel gate we saw about 500 men and 30 women, a total population of 530. I believe close to, if not everyone, was present for our service. We were directed to a covered area about 100’ x 50’ in which we sat on a stage at one end. At the other end was a fenced area with some men behind the fence. I got the impression these were men who were forced to stay there, not allowed to mingle with the rest of the population – that may have just been my feeling, I don’t know for certain why they were behind the fence.
The population was singing when we arrived and a couple different choirs sang before we started our service. The women sang for us and then a group of about 20 men (Furaba Choir) sang and danced for us. They have produced a CD and are working on their second. The first one was for sale to help support them so we bought a CD for each person on our team. They sang three songs before we started our service.
We had been there for about 30 minutes before we started our program. Greg opened with the IGL message, I served as emcee. I introduced Joseph Runo who gave his testimony followed by Mike giving a short sermon before Ephraim gave a very powerful and passionate long sermon.
At the altar call 39 men and 3 women came forward having been born again. I stood in the corner with Ephraim while he led them in a prayer which brought tears to my eyes. I reflected on this rebirth and the change in their lives now that their sins had been forgiven and they were now going to follow Jesus for the rest of their lives.
36 men and 8 women (one with a baby about 18 months old) came forward so we could pray for healing for them. The baby didn’t like me touching him. He started crying and clinging to mom when I touched him. We then had 30 church leaders come to the front so we could pray for them. Greg presented them with the binder with the Bible study lessons and we told them about the 25 New Testaments and 2 complete Bibles we brought for them.
I then presented the gifts – Yard Out Newspapers, Soap, Toilet Tissue, Sanitary Napkins and a soccer ball. As always, as soon as the soccer ball came out there were lots of cheers from the inmates.
This was a powerful service with a very engaged audience. The 30 or so women were seated separately on our right but were able to participate, a great benefit to not have to do two services at this institution particularly since time would not have allowed for that. We intended to head out quickly after the service because we had to get back to Nairobi tonight but the OC was very thankful and gracious and invited us to his office for cold sodas.
We climbed several mountain passes and saw a beautiful sunset from up in the mountains. The highway was crowded and there were a lot of trucks. We saw a couple trucks flipped over, one of them an oil tanker that has been sitting in the middle of town for a long time. Another had just tipped, it was filled with hundreds of bags of corn which the driver was working to pick up. I slept the last half of the way, listening to praise music on my earphones. When we arrived at the Passionist House here was discussion among the rest of the American team about the treacherous conditions on the pass, I’m glad I slept through it (or at least had my eyes closed). Off to bed now, much to do tomorrow.