I have sat on this article since 2015. I can can finally release it.
As some of you know my wife and I were short term missionaries in Uganda. On August 7 of 1998 Al Quada attacked and bombed the US Embassy’s in Nairobi, Kenya and Dares Sallaam, Tanzania. The Embassy in Kampala Uganda was not hit. We left.
This is the story of my friends, and what they experienced in the field. Preppers, Warriors, Christians, Freemen and Slaves need to read this.
“On March 4, 2003, just a few months after 9-11, we found ourselves arriving at the airport in our home city of Davao City, Philippines. My husband, Uncle Mark, waited inside at baggage claim to collect our suitcase while Sarah (age 4), Nathan (age 9 months) and I headed outside to meet Uncle Bill Hyde – he and Aunt Lynn lived in the other side of a duplex with us and Bill brought our car to pick us up at the airport that day. Uncle Bill was standing just inside the waiting shed. After offering to carry Sarah’s backpack, he handed me the keys to the car and told me to get the kids settled in the car and turn on the AC. He would wait for Uncle Mark to come out and help him get our bags to the car.
I turned and walked about 8 meters behind Uncle Bill with a diaper bad on my shoulder, Nathan on one hip and holding Sarah by the hand as she wound her way through the crowd of people heading to the car. At just that moment, the bomb exploded. I remember a wave of heat and smoke hitting me and a terrible ringing in my ears. Scooping Sarah into my arms, I ran to the car and waited for Uncle Bill and Uncle Mark to meet us at the car.
Since my ears were still ringing, I couldn’t hear much. I kept dialing Mark’s number and held the phone to Sarah’s ear asking if daddy answered. She remembers pulling a piece of shrapnel out of the back of her knee while we waited for Daddy and Uncle Bill to find us.
I was finally able to reach Aunt Lyn – Uncle Bill’s wife. I remember telling her that we were in a bombing and the kids were injured and the men weren’t coming out.
Actually no one was ‘fleeing’ the scene and running into the parking lot. I assumed that to mean the scene had been “secured” and they were not allowing anyone to come out. Lynn told me to head directly to the hospital.
I pressed a cloth diaper to the wound on Nathan’s side, sat him on my left knee and managed to make the 45 minute drive to the hospital in about 20 minutes with headlights flashing and my hand never leaving the horn. We were all filthy with hair matted and clothing ripped and I was having a hard time determining just who was injured and where.
Meanwhile Uncle Mark had heard the blast – all the windows in the front of the airport had blown out – and he ran outside and found Uncle Bill and Sarah’s backpack among the victims. I would later learn that the reason no one was fleeing the scene was because there were 170 victims that day. I believe 20 were instantly killed at the scene.
Finding Uncle Bill and Sarah’s backpack, Mark thought the kids and I were among the carnage he was seeing. Bill died from his injuries.
Nathan still carries countless pieces of metal shrapnel in his head and liver today.
You may think that experience was awful, and you are quite right. I will never forget the smell of that smoke or the flash of the blast.
And, I will always remember Uncle Bill died serving us that day. But the truth is that this happened on top of some other stressful times. In fact it seemed that everything was going wrong for us.
Over the months leading up to the bombing, we had been told to leave our home several times due to security concerns. During those days, we kept a suitcase packed knowing we may have to leave town on a moment’s notice.
It felt like we were in a constant state of unrest, unable to make plans.
After several of these times of hunkering down at a hotel in another city, we returned home one day. Our neighbor called me across the street and told me that 3-5 men had been outside our house every night that week – always arriving in the middle of the night and staying for hours.
Always dressed in black and none of the men were known in the community. Finally, on the very morning we returned home, one of the men had demanded the neighbor tell him, “Where are the white people? Who told them we would be coming for them?” Since we had a local friend working in intelligence with the local police, we had already been warned that Abu Sayaf (the same radical M group who kidnapped Martin and Gracia Burnham) were in our town. We put our suitcases back in the car and left that house never to return. That’s the day we moved to Davao City.
We were heartbroken about the move and confused about what to do next. How could we reach people we could not live among?
We had also learned that Nathan has a blood clotting disorder – his blood does not clot properly and we were afraid for his health at only 9 months old. We were still awaiting answers about a diagnosis and how to care for him.
While Nathan was in ICU for the bombing, we discovered that tests, we found out his blood type is A- . We were shocked to learn that neither his daddy nor I could donate blood to him (I am A+ and Mark is O+). Not only that, I learned that Asians all have positive blood. No Asian could donate blood to Nathan!
Not understanding yet exactly what kind of clotting issue Nathan had – I remember worrying that perhaps I needed to find a blood donor with his same type of blood and carry around a bag of blood in a cooler for Nathan every day.
What if he got hurt? Would he start spontaneously bleeding?
After the bombing, reporters were following us and calling non-stop. One even called while we were in the ICU with Nathan claiming to be from the US Embassy. That reporter later printed things that were untrue. Eventually the truth came out and it led to legal action being taken by the company against Associated Press.
And, I tested positive for TB. 9 months of medicine for that. Nice.
Folks in the US were concerned for our safety and were putting pressure on us to leave the field permanently.
The final straw was when our close national friend and ministry partner – who we were paying to go area by area across the island teaching about reaching the unreached – was instead going area by area circulating a letter asking the company to fire us since we “didn’t love Filipinos”.
The letter requested that our salary to be sent directly to them – our national friend and partner. We were heart broken by their betrayal.
Other friends, trying to manage their own fears and grief following the bombing, were asking me questions like, “Why did you leave Bill at the airport?” and “What was the scene like at the airport?” “Did you see many people injured?” “What exactly were Bill’s injuries like?”
We were done. We prayed to go home. No one would blame us. We had had enough. We felt afraid and judged and alone. O how we wanted to go home! We were seeking the Father and waiting for any indication from His WORD that we could go home. We knew He had called us and we knew we could not rely on FEELINGS or EMOTIONS to lead us home.
That was our perspective about our circumstances and feelings….. but God was at work!
Just the day before the bombing, the local hospital had practiced setting up a “triage” in case of any disasters causing multiple injuries.
They were ready for us.
The bomb was a directed charge of C4 explosives. (What you use to blow up a tank!) It was in a backpack near where Bill stood. Had he not handed us the keys, the kids and I would have died with Bill that day. God has numbered our days and it was His plan that WE LIVE.
As a nine month old baby, Nathan’s liver was the size of a walnut. There are so many pieces of shrapnel in Nathan that they can’t be counted and yet EVERY SINGLE ONE of those tiny metal shards of shrapnel are in Nathan’s liver.
The liver is the ONLY organ in the human body that God created to encapsulate foreign bodies in tissue and heal itself in about 3 days. Had even ONE of those tiny shards of shrapnel gone to ANY other organ in Nathan’s body, he would have needed exploratory surgery to dig it out – with his bleeding disorder, he would have died. God directed EVERY piece of shrapnel.
After Uncle Bill died, Aunt Lyn put a sign up that said “Filipinos are worth dying for”. She continued to serve in the Filipinos until she retired.
We stayed. We were broken and defeated but Filipinos realized that we must love them to have stuck around. And, they became more willing to try the principles we had been trying to teach.
Over the next 4½ years, 16000 baptisms were documented.
Terrorists from the camp that masterminded that bomb have since come to faith – led by a team here in our current country. When asked about their terrorist activities they said their sins were so many, they didn’t know how to ever get to heaven. Terrorism was the only way to heaven they could find in Is’m. They were eager to receive the gift of salvation in Jesus.
God did amazing things. He did it while we were broken. All glory goes to Him.
1 Corinthians 1:8-11 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters,[a] about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
KIDS, if you remember anything I say today, remember this:
Don’t let your feelings or your circumstances guide you. Don’t even let other people who love you guide you – ALWAYS SEEK THE LORD and allow HIM to lead you through His WORD. Persevere in this!
Our feelings are fickle – we can be happy one minute and then feel depressed the next because of one little change in our circumstances. (A friend didn’t sit by me or a boy didn’t look my way or I got a low grade or my parents said “no”) Feelings cannot be trusted. They are not CONSTANT. Our enemy is the author of LIES that are often appealing to our emotions and our minds.
Our circumstances change moment by moment. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change or circumstances or change other people. There is a saying in Missouri where I grew up, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around it will change!” Our circumstances are like this; they change constantly.
Don’t be lured into selfish living where you make decisions based on “I had fun”. “I liked it”. “It made me happy” “I want to”. In the end this leads to destruction and it leads you away from the Father.
Follow Christ, hold fast to His WORD. He will grow you and stretch you and you will still live in the world full of sin and sorrow and death and pain……. BUT YOU WILL have something the world does not have.
You will have HOPE!
And, you will never be ALONE! Not one tiny shard of shrapnel can pierce us apart from HIS PERFECT PLAN for our Good.
Persevere in Christ no matter your feelings or your circumstances.
No matter if you stand alone.”
Here are my (Kent’s) take away points from this:
1. God’s Not Dead
2. Have a Bug out Bag.
3. Know your neighbors.
4. Relationships count, have one or more in law enforcement.
5. Have a trauma kit, not just a 1st aid kit.
6. Be ready to leave your house for days or for ever, in a moments notice and with just what you can grab in 15 minutes.
7. Don’t let feelings rule you.
8. Sticking out suffering shows others your strength.
9. Have friends that care gives you strength
10. Your friends advice can be wrong.
Until we meet again, keep your booger hook off the bang switch until on target and ready to fire.