Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Story Time: A Little History for Ya

(This one's for you, Kelly, cuz you said you like it when I bring out these old photos. Click on the snap for closer look.)

I came across this photo in Scott White's office the other day. I don't remember ever seeing it before, but I do remember the events leading up to the taking of it very well.

The photo was taken 17 years ago at Elangata Enterit in southern Kenya.

Why are we covered in mud and why are we so tired?

Greg and Mindy Yost (far left) had traveled with Scott and Nancy White (middle) out from California to see us where we were living among the Maasai.

It was the rainy season. (Not a very a good time to travel where there are no roads in a vehicle that has no winch.) But that was when they were able to come out be with us and we were not about to just hang out in Nairobi with them. What would the point of that be? No, we set off to take them home to our place for a few days.

The 75 kilometers of plains between the end of the tarmac road and our house were rain-soaked and slick. That might not be too bad except that merchant lorries delivering supplies to the tiny shops along the way couldn't really make a decent go of it and so they were stuck here and there like great Tonka toys stuck in wet cement.

If I had to choose anyone to navigate a situation like this I would choose Byron hands down every time. The boy knows how to handle a four wheel drive and an impassable road.

So the road was blocked by stuck trucks and we had to go around them. Going around them meant we had to drive up over the little rise on the edge of the "road" and cross a section of plain and get back onto this track thing called "road." But the plains were full of ditches and ruts and rocks and grooves and shrubby little trees and various other hazards.

I don't remember now how many detours we took before landing in a deep and car sucking ditch. I remember that Byron did everything he knew to do. I remember that Greg and Scott pushed and shoved and dug and gave it their all, but the old Toyota remained resolutely stuck.

It was raining. It was impossible. They tried for hours until they finally had to say "Enough." There was no other choice now on this dark wet night but to get the guys back inside and huddle up to wait out the night. If it would stop raining and if the ground would drain a little, things would firm slightly. Plus, things seem to get easier in daylight. (Have you even noticed that?)

Mindy, Nancy and I had spent the time inside telling funny stories from our lives and praying for success while cheering the guys on as they struggled in the rain. Jesse and baby Trevor were asleep on the seat next to me. No one had any supper. Now the guys climbed in, soaked and exhausted. I propped Trevor in a baby seat at my feet and had Jesse between me and Byron. The others were packed across the back seat.

Everyone slept a little except for me. The reason I couldn't sleep was because the car was tilted to one side and I didn't have an adult next to me that I could lean against so I was having to hold myself up all night.

In the light of the new day, the boys resumed their hard work and we did finally dig free. We traveled the next 90 mins or so home in a kind of delirium.

Once we got there, we climbed out and took this photo.

I love all the history in this snap. I love the soft look of baby pounds still clinging to me. I love the fact that Byron looks so completely un-amused. I love that Greg and Mindy and Scott and Nancy had never been on a missions trip before and this was their breaking in. I love that Greg and Mindy soon returned to Kenya and have been there pretty much ever since. (They chose to work in the very barren desert among the Turkana. I wonder if this rainy night influenced that choice!) I love that Scott went on to take the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course, then began to teach it, then began to co-ordinate it for the Western region of the United States and then became the Missions Pastor for a 4,000 member church. (Sorry to mess up all your lives, friends!) And I love that John and Deanne Lewis immediately bought a very fine winch for our car (that pulled us out of many ditches over the next ten years) after they heard about this night.

If you've ever been in a home of ours you'll know we love photographs (and memories.) Byron got Scott to scan the photo then made a lovely rustic frame for it and placed it under the tree for me.

Priceless memories. Priceless friends.


relevantgirl said...


This is a great kernel of a story. You should tweak it a bit and send it (along with picture) to



lisa said...

thanks for the idea :-)

s white said...

My lawyers and literary agent will be contacting you soon to discuss terms and motion picture rights. (BTW - I am thinking Brad Pitt would be perfect to play me...Nancy is always telling me how much I remind her of him...

lisa said...

and i'd like gwyneth paltrow to play me :-) we could be famous, yet, scotty!

Amy Swacina said...

Great picture and great story! Thanks for sharing!!!

Rebecca said...

What a photograph......I especially LOVE the 'missionary outfits!'

lisa said...

we do our best to look the part :-)

J Lewis said...

How many roads have been passed since then! And still you're just as sweet and sensitive to the HS and as adventuresome as ever! BTW, I think George Clooney would be fine for my back in the States role.

Lassiter Family said...

Oh, the good ol' days! Those roads are all to vivid in my memory.

lisa said...

scott and john, we're all gonna look gorgeous on film! i'll be thinking of who should play byron :-)