When I was in college at Southeastern University, I majored in Church Ministries-Missions, which basically means I had the privilege of taking a lot of missions classes with Dr. Rodney White. In one of those classes, Missionary Life and Work, Dr. White told us we would have to be a “Jack of all trades” on the mission field. I even remember a day when we all went to his house to do some practical missionary life projects like electrical work, welding, change the oil in a car, and even learning to drive a manual transmission. Most of these skills I had already learned growing up because my dad is awesome! So I mostly helped the other students that day. But would you believe, Dr. White was RIGHT! Earlier this week, a few of those things came to life for me and all within about 24 hours.
It’s Christmas time, and we are trying to do our best to decorate our little apartment for Christmas. So, the tree is up, a few decorations are hanging around the house, the dinner table looks awesome, and the kids are playing with a nativity set. We have a nice back porch and I thought I would put some Christmas lights on the back to share the Christmas joy with our neighbors. But there are a couple small problems. This place we are living in has very few electrical outlets. There are none on the back porch. (Side note: In the new ACP building, I will be making very sure we have plenty of outlets. This place is crazy.) But that shouldn’t be a big problem to overcome. just buy a nice extension cord to run power from inside the house to the back porch. Seems like a simple find. NOPE! Problem #2 – Kenya apparently doesn’t know what an extension cord is. They certainly don’t sell them in the stores, not even in Nairobi. You can buy a nice 5m power strip with 6 sockets. But I couldn’t find anything longer than 5 meters. So, I became the missionary electrician and built one for myself. Just bought a 20 meter cord, the male plug and a female socket and box. Piece of cake. It’ll be nice to have during construction at the ACP property don’t you think?
Sunday morning, we were leaving the guest house to go to church, and as we were pulling out a sad thing happened. I attempted to roll down the power window to say goodbye to the guard at the gate and the window did not go down properly. It was like it came off the track or something. So, we kept it up all day and Monday morning, I went out to investigate as the missionary mechanic that I am. I took off the interior door panel and looked to see what the problem was. I found that there are 2 pieces of plastic that hold the glass to the mechanism to force the window up and down. Apparently the silicone adhesive decided it was tired and did not want to hold onto the glass any longer. So, no problem. I went 2 doors down in Embu town to my neighbor Embu Motors. They had exactly the silicone adhesive I needed for the repair. I cleaned the clips and the glass, glued it in, kept it still for 24 hours and now it’s good as new. (Side note: the silicone even came with an extra tube of super glue which I used to repair a couple of broken Christmas ornaments).
(Sorry friends. I forgot to take pictures of the mechanical project)
Amy and I have been looking for a nice set of baskets or something to put in the bathroom to hold extra toilet paper rolls, hand towels and wash cloths, air freshener, etc. We were driving along the road a couple of weeks ago and we happened to see the kind of thing we were looking for. So I quickly pulled over the Prado and we went to talk to the guy who was making them. The type he had was much too big for our bathroom. So I asked him to make one for us a bit smaller. We talked about the dimensions, agreed on a price, and I told him I would be back in a couple of weeks to pick it up. I arrived there this past Saturday and he had done it! He made the exact size basket thing we were looking for. But the problem was, someone else bought it before I could get there. But this guy was smart. He made 3 of them! But the last 2 weren’t finished. They needed to be “painted” (or stained. I found out when we were buying our furniture that Kenyans say “painted” for paint or stain). The problem was Amy and I were ready for our new baskets and we didn’t want to wait for him to paint it and come back in a few more weeks to retrieve it. So, the nice guy gave me all of the stain I needed and even a brush to do it myself. So, when I had finished repairing my window in the Prado, I became the missionary artisan and painted it myself. What do you think? Nice isn’t it? I bet you would pay $150 for such an item at Pier 1 Imports, wouldn’t you? Guess how much I paid. $25! Want one? Come get it!
Thanks for the heads up Dr. White. And thanks especially for the many years of hands-on training Dad!
I wonder what kind of project I’ll get to do next.