The Day I Met Emmanuel!

Posted on Aug 5, 2012 in Faith | 69 comments

The night before our journey I didn’t sleep a wink.  I’m sure it was a combination of jet lag and excitement, but I simply couldn’t sleep the night before meeting Emmanuel!  That’s okay, I learned; I would have almost 10 hours to catch up on my rest as we traveled across Kenya to meet an eight-month-old baby boy.

In the pitch black at 5:15 a.m., a driver arrived for Fiona and me at “Yellow House” where I’m staying, just steps away from CURE’s hospital in Kijabe.  Fiona is the beautiful inside-and-out CUREKids Coordinator in Kenya, and she LOVES her job!  About an hour later, she effortlessly guided us through a public bus station before we departed Nairobi at 7 a.m.  CURE normally does not bring children to their surgery; they and Fiona were graciously granting my request to see where Emmanuel lives.  To better understand their journey, I wanted to experience what Emmanuel’s mother would in getting her baby across Kenya for a life-changing surgery.

Yes, the ride was long and bumpy over dirt roads plagued with potholes, but for me it was highlighted by exquisite “Psalm 23 moments.”  Lush, green, hilly pastures with sheep grazing near streams… I felt blessed to “see” one of my favorite passages in the Bible, over and over again.  The idyllic scenery gave me a sense of peace and calm, knowing God was with me.

Even more, every now and then donkeys would appear, casually walking along streets or through meadows, adding even more charm to the biblical scenes.  When I see donkeys I think of King Jesus, riding through the gates of Jerusalem (see Matthew 21:1-11); here, too, I imagined my King riding peacefully through this beautiful yet, in many ways, hurting land.  Through donkeys of all things, I sensed God’s presence with every man, woman and child I was seeing.

Fiona was communicating off and on by cell phone with another driver who’d be taking us to Emmanuel’s home.  When our bus stopped in a “town” you’d miss if you blinked, Fiona and I were the only ones to exit.  Within 15 seconds a little white Toyota was backing up in our direction.  Elisha and Fiona made contact, and off we drove for another hour.  I quickly learned the prior potholes had been minor!  In Colorado, for this kind of terrain, we use four-wheel drive SUVs.

Eventually alongside a dirt road, a man holding a cell phone met and joined us.  He guided us on even trickier off-road “trails,” but soon the car could no longer overcome the land.  I listened as three people were deciding in Swahili what to do; within minutes we started walking, the two men carrying Fiona’s and my bags.

Before long I saw thatched roofs atop mud houses–even more primitive than I’d imagined Emmanuel’s home would be.  We entered one of the smaller ones and sat down in chairs beside a wood table.  There was only a little more space for others to stand.  A sheet hung on one side, creating a wall for the other room, presumably where the family slept.  It was at this point we learned the man who’d navigated our course was Emmanuel’s dad.  Seconds later, a cheerful mom named Herina entered, holding her baby.

I’m not sure if Fiona’s eyes or smile was bigger as she stretched out her arms to embrace Emmanuel, the little boy she’d met only once–months ago at CURE’s mobile clinic in Kisumu.  Her reaction was completely understandable… Emmanuel is ADORABLE!  Fiona then let me have a turn, and I held the sweet little gift from God, grateful the moment had finally arrived!

The next hour and a half we met many in Emmanuel’s family:  Grandmother Mary, five of the six siblings, two aunts, one uncle and several cousins.  I couldn’t help but notice there was no running water, no electricity, but lots and lots of love.

There are MANY more details to share, but for those please stay tuned.  I’m writing from a guest house in Kisumu; after breakfast, Fiona and I will meet Emmanuel and Herina and together journey back to Kijabe.  Surgery on Emmanuel’s left leg and both hands is tomorrow–Monday, August 6th.  Please be praying!!



  1. An amazing account, Laurie. What an incredible God-blessed adventure.

    • It was and has continued to be, Nancy! Thanks so much for your prayers and being with me in spirit:) ~ Laurie

  2. Hi Laurie! Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story with us. I’m praying for your trip and for sweet Emmanuel’s recovery!

    • Thank you so much, Corbyn! Emmanuel is doing great–he was all smiles for me this morning! This entire experience has been AMAZING:) Really, really appreciate your prayers. ~ Laurie

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