International Ministries

The Bomb Squad and Bill's Lost Bag

November 24, 2011 Journal
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The Bomb Squad and Bill’s Lost Bag             

As frequent travelers in some ‘off the beaten path’ type of places, we regard the heightened security, long security lines, questions, and searches at international airports as necessary inconveniences.  My opinion for those procedures changed recently.   Bill and I were traveling from South Sudan to the United States with an on overnight layover in Nairobi, Kenya.  Like many international cities, Nairobi has a history of thefts and robberies, and travelers are cautioned to keep their belongings secure at all times.  We have visited Nairobi many times and, though never having experienced personal theft, are always cautious.

As we arrived in in the Nairobi airport from Sudan and our bags were being transferred to the car, Bill’s carry-on bag with his laptop, files, and items of significant value was inadvertently left on the tarmac of the airport parking lot. We did not realize this until an hour later as we unloaded the car at a guest house in town.

Following a frantic return trip and fervent prayer, Bill arrived at the airport two hours ‘after-the-fact’ and began to search for his lost bag in the parking lot.  It was not to be found.   He wandered around in vain, until he came upon a Kenyan policeman who suggested that they re-enter the bustling international airport and visit the security offices.  After wandering down labyrinthine, dark, and damp corridors they entered a small security office and to his amazement there sat his bag!

It seems that another traveler, mindful of the fact that Nairobi was also the site of the US Embassy bombing a few years ago, notified security of an unattended, dark, heavy bag, in the parking lot which prompted the bomb squad to come, secure the area, and sequester the bag.

The carry-on was taken in, dusted, x-rayed, tagged and then placed on the floor in the office where Bill eventually found it intact. The Kenyan security people were as happy to see Bill as he was to see his bag and they had a long and hardy laugh as Bill recounted his agonizing drive back to the airport and near hour-long search in the parking lot.     

As Bill shook their hands and took his bag he told them they were instruments of peace and an answer to prayer. We imagine that was one compliment the Kenyan equivalent of TSA doesn’t hear often, but it was a compliment both true and well deserved.