The chief welcomed me to my new home. “The name of our community is Djoni-cope, but it is pronounced Johnny co-pay and sounds like your American president Johnny Kennedy who lives in your white house.”
After I treated patients in another village, I looked for landmarks to walk home. At the fork with the pile of cement blocks I veered to the right and turned left at the gigantic flowering tree.
Passing poles with red flags, I knew I was on the wrong trail so reversed my steps and ended up in the teak wood forest. I tripped over underbrush, fell flat on my face in a heap of charcoal, and cut my arms and legs.
” Help!” I shouted three times in three different languages. Only silence. No one lived in the thick, clusters of trees. Looking around, I recognized the big circle I’d walked in.
I collapsed on a log and wept. “Lord, I’m lost. Forgive me for all my sins. This is the end of my life so take me to Heaven before the wild animals eat me.”
Then I heard God’s voice, “GO WEST. Walk through bushes and foliage to head west. Walk straight into the sun.”
I jumped up and traipsed through the forest and into the descending sunset. Thirty minutes later I reached an unknown footpath.
God said, “Go left.”
In Africa all well-trodden trails led to people. That one ended right at my little mud hut with the thatched roof.
Custom dictated that I check in at the ancestral home of the elderly chief.
He frowned at me. “How did you get all those cuts and blood on your arms and legs?”
“Why are grasses sticking out of your hair?” The chief’s wife pointed. “Why are you covered in charcoal dust?”
“I got lost.”
The chief’s sisters fell to the ground in laughter. His brothers held their stomachs in fits of hysteria.
The chief laughed. “How can anyone get lost when the trail is so clearly marked? Why didn’t you go straight?”
Moral of the story.
If you get lost, stop. Take time to listen to God’s voice. If His path is hard, don’t give up. Keep going. The Lord will take you home.