Man vs. Wild – West Africa Version

Meeting with the Lutheran BIshop of Liberia

The embarrassment and humility far outweighed any notoriety I might have felt later in the day.My day started out well – a good night’s sleep, which is a real blessing, as anyone who travels internationally understands.  I shaved, took a shower (there is a point in giving personal details of my morning ritual) and looked forward to teaching a group of pastors, meeting with the presiding Bishop of the Lutheran Church of Liberia, and enjoying the growing camaraderie with my friend, Pastor Mark Glenn from Illinois.

My shower was finished, and I tried to open the small glass door in the rather small, square shower enclosure only to find that the handle had broken and was stuck in the ‘locked’ position from the outside.  At first, I chuckled at the situation, figuring that a good ‘jiggle’ of the relatively unstable shower door would unlock me from my wet and “awkward” circumstances.  Fortunately, I had my towel, which I had draped over the enclosure.

After several minutes of jiggling, turning, pushing, forcing, etc., I began to become just a bit more agitated.  A few shouts yielded no help, as the walls are all literally, solid concrete.

I’ve watched the TV show with the British survivor expert, Bear Grylls, so I looked at what resources I had – a towel, the only thing, quite literally, at my disposal.  If I could do a rather hefty ‘pull up,’ perhaps I could swing myself over the top of the shower.  The only problem is there was only about 18 – 20” of space between it and the ceiling.  Jumping up, I needed just a slight ‘boost,’ so I slipped my toes onto the water faucet fixture, mostly just for balance, only to have the rather rusted fixture break off and begin to spray water all over the place!

At this point, falling back into the shower, I determined that I HAD to get out of there!  So, with a lot of will power and upper body strength, I made it up, and trying to not shatter the glass, swung my body over, then used a wooden drapery header to again, balance myself.  Except, the wooden header then came right off the wall, crashing to the floor, where I followed, obtaining a respectable ‘road rash’ on my forearm, but, other than that, and my pride, I was unharmed!

There’s just something about Africa!

The rest of the day went better.  Temperature was 91° and the humidity was 91%, but we had over 60 pastors show up for our orientation and training… the first such gathering we’ve had in Liberia.  During lunch we went over to the Bishop’s office and were received in a warm and inviting way.

Today, we had even a few more pastors come, some of them representing networks of churches.  One man dressed in traditional African garb was so excited to meet me.  He is involved in planting over one hundred churches in rural Liberia!  A nation rising out of the ashes of unspeakable horror and bloodshed, there is hope for this little country which has been forgotten by so many.


7 thoughts on “Man vs. Wild – West Africa Version

  1. That, my friend, was an absolutely priceless account. I can’t even imagine the “horror” you must have felt, but I have to say, it couldn’t have been better scripted if it had been in a movie (Jack Black as Dr. Steven Todd?…)

    • Thanks Russ! (at first glance I read your suggestion as “Jack Bauer, i.e., ’24,’ but then saw ‘Jack Black,’ which, sadly, is probably more appropriate!)

  2. That was priceless dad. I was rolling on the floor laughing! Almost as good as my slipping into the “squatty potty” in Mbeya!

  3. See, all that upper body strength training you’ve been doing did come in handy after all! Glad you made it out safely and that the rest of your trip went so smoothly. My girls and I have been reading a biography about a young missionary from Liberia named Samuel Morris. I’m curious to hear about what God has done in this country since that time. Blessings to you, my friend!

    • Kathy, actually I was given a copy of that little book before I left and read it on my way to Chicago… this country is a LONG way from those days. Civil war, unspeakable violence, corruption in government – Liberia is a ‘shell’ of its origins.

  4. You do a good job helping us picture what you are writing about. This was one I could have done without “seeing”. Now I need a shower.

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