When the Sgt. Major fired it to prove he could handle it, we kids were in awe, as were any missionary military veterans standing around. The trick was to take the horrible impact of the kick AND keep the gun from climbing as he fired it.
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- The Voice of Hope (As High As The Heavens).
As he fired the gun he would stand on a gravel parking area, rigid as steel, and his whole body slid along backwards as he fired it. To show his strength, he would hold a. A Luo? Not someone to take lightly. We were all quite proud of our guards, and they did give us a sense of safety. But, there were other guards, not as conventional, whom the Lord used to defend us. Ex-Mau Mau gang members on the left serve as pseudos along with a white "Mau Mau" pseudo in African disguise. The White pseudos had to almost always be sons of British settlers, in which case they knew Kikuyu fluently by growing up in Kenya.
It was a totally secret operation that even the King's African Rifles did not know about, and they risked being shot by British soldiers. This was possibly one of the deepest secret operations ever. It would be like an American soldier going underground in Afghanistan and joining Al Qaeda. I had posted my memories of the following account, but a Rift Valley Academy student who was older than I was, and who was on the scene before I arrived there, tells the story much better than I can. It was enthusiastically endorsed and run by Roy Shafer, where we were taught to shoot rifles. At one point the British commander of the KAR troops brought his machine gun and we were all instructed on its use, including us girls.
I saw through the pseudo-cheerful charade and realized that we were being taught to use these guns on people, not targets. To this day I dislike guns. We had left Africa in I was 12 by then, pretending to be Tension already ran high among the Kikuyu people. By , when the British Government formally declared an Emergency, we had barbed wire and pointed sticks surrounding Kiambogo and Kings African Rifles soldiers living in the basement under the porch. The situation under discussion started when one of our senior girls crawled through the dirty crawlspace to a spot just under the staff room to hear what the staff discussed.
She shortly crawled out with a distressed look on her face, and we clustered around her to hear the news. This was about in the afternoon, and only two or three hours until dark. The school staff had previously planned for this possible event. A large cave nearby had already been stocked with food and water and blankets. There were two large lorries, enough to load all the students and carry them to the cave.
But there was a problem. The other was broken down and waiting for parts. The only thing was to pray, and the staff fell on their knees in prayer. This was when our informant crawled out.
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We were terrified. Should we tell anyone what we knew? We decided no to both questions. After supper, we went to our dorm that was located just below the old hospital. We decided to wear our jeans to bed, and we wrote letters to our parents and sewed them into our jeans in case our dead bodies were someday found. Perhaps we were being melodramatic. But many of us prayed and re-dedicated our lives to the Lord. Miss Johnson, one of our house-parents, came up for devotions, her eyes bugged out and barely able to contain her fear, though she never let on to us, nor we to her, that something big was going to happen.
We crawled into bed that night wondering if it would be our last night. Not everyone in the dorm knew what we older ones knew. Our group was seventh grade through twelfth. The station settled down and everything was quiet. My bed was next to the only window in the dorm, and I sat there and looked out. It must have been full moon because the whole area was bathed in bright moonlight. I imagined terrorists hiding in the deep shadows under the trees and bushes. The tall fire bell tower was put up ostensibly to warn of fires, but also to warn of attack. Its toll could be heard all over the acre station.
It was also the signal for each house or building to blow the automobile horn they had in their attics. Each one had a code so others would know which building it came from, the same code as the telephone party line. Each beep would be an all-clear signal, and we counted the beeps as we huddled under the window. The omission of a horn meant trouble at that spot, and on the second round the hospital did not give their signal. They had sighted the terrorists. As I looked out the window, I saw our brave KAR troops, about 20 all together, march up the hill toward the hospital. After a short while, we heard a number of rifle shots, then just quiet.
Soon the troops marched back down the hill to their quarters. The fire bell sounded an all clear. And that was it, until some weeks later when we heard the real story. A Mau Mau was captured and interrogated, and also asked about the purported attack. He told the following story.
Indeed, a large number of Mau Mau had gathered in the forest intending to attack the mission at night and kill us all. They had taken a vile, satanic vow to do that. But when they came down to attack the hospital first, they found men standing all around the station perimeter. They decided that the mission had stronger magic than the Mau Mau had, so they turned and ran. But I often puzzled why God would protect us so miraculously when so many Christian Africans were slaughtered. White skin is no better than black skin in His eyes. I asked Him why, and He finally gave me the answer: He was not only protecting us, He was protecting the African girls in their school, the seminary students, the agricultural school, the printing press that disseminated the Word throughout Kenya, and the many missionaries who were overseers of those works.
In fact, more of His black children were protected that night than white ones. This was a personal turning point for more than just me. The book by Dorothy W. Smoker, Ambushed by Love, tells of many African Christians who were individually protected miraculously during these stressful times. See my website at www. Thanks Joyce for the graphic account of God's protection of his people. Now, I want to make some observations. Here is a verse that indicates that the above account is consistant with the Word of God and God's protection of his people by using his angels.
Psalms KJV For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Why did the Lord let us learn about it? Perhaps there were those among the missionaries and kids who were in terror and doubt as to God's attention to us, and they needed to learn that God WAS indeed caring for us. Perhaps God wanted to show Lt. Chips that the reality of being totally committed to Christ manifested itself in very literal ways in a Bible believer's life.
Perhaps Chips later made a decision that will bring him to our side at the throne of God one day. Those angels were not standing at our doorways-- they were protecting the people AND the mission station. It was GOD'S turf, and the battle was waged at the property line. Please remember that the African church was growing like wild fire as the Mau Mau persecuted them. God had decided the Mau Mau had gone too far. Also, some of us at our school were not born again I am sure. They too benefited from being with the people of God. They lived to have another chance to confess Christ as their Savior.
Food for thought, right? Never before or since have I been absolutely sure angels were involved personally in watching over me. God seldom lets his angels show themselves. But, thank God, they are real, personal, and we will be one with them in the Glory some day. What stories we will hear then! That is how we first met. I was very impressed, but I was terrified to let her know. The social mix at RVA was a bit warped by the culture of missionary thinking. So, I did not let her know my thoughts until college. I have thought it was best that way.
We were not allowed out of the Kiambogo building after dark. The doors were all locked so no one could get in or go out, or so they thought. One night Miss Bellinger, one of the staff, was checking the little girls for the night and she heard the door open at the top of the fire escape.
She hurried to see who was going out. I was on my way out walking in my sleep. She pulled me back in and locked the door again, but she realized that I could try it again later. She got me back in bed. I'm not sure she slept very well that night knowing that I could do it again, but I didn't. Next day she had a slide bolt put at the top of the door so this sleep walker couldn't reach it.
I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. I also remember another night when the horns went off and we all had to get down on the floor below the windows. Somebody had heard a gun shot and set off the alarm thinking that there were Mau Mau on the mission station. There were some of the girls who wanted to see if they could see what was going on outside and they kept getting up to look out the window. They saw nothing and we found out later that it was a false alarm. We were not allowed out side after dark but we had one girl who did go out one night.
She had had an argument with a room mate, so she grabbed her slippers and threw them out the window at the end of the building. Later she was repentant and decided to go get the slippers. She snuck out the fire escape door, which we used all the time, and ran around the end of the building, grab the slippers and ran back up the stairs. A guard had seen her and started yelling for her to stop but she was scared and kept on going. She got inside and locked the door. The guard must have sensed that it was one of the girls so he didn't fire at her, but she could have been in big trouble. One day Mr.
Downing, our school principal, got word from the British officers guarding us that the Mau Mau were going to attack our station and kill all the RVA kids because they figured if they killed us they would get rid of the missionaries. So the one morning after breakfast we were told to get packed. Makybe have entered a great selection of 10 new season yearlings into the catalogue, including progeny by Al Maher, Casino Prince, Domesday, I Am Invincible and Purrealist.
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