Keni’s trip back to Mogadishu
As some of you know, Jeff Struecker and I had a chance to go back to Mogadishu last month. Jeff who is now a pastor, is part of a project called Bullet Proof Faith. They are creating a short film that will help viewers ask spiritual questions about themselves.
Hopefully, the film will bring folks to a point of decision on bringing Christ into their lives. I got to go along with Jeff to Mogadishu as his ranger buddy. Honestly I didn’t know why i was going back. I really had no desire to revisit the place. It was a weird trip for us both. Some of it was quite reminiscent, like the early morning run i took around the airfield. The smell and the feel of the air brought me right back to 20 years ago.
The hanger that was our home is gone. But the foundation is still there. I could stand exactly where my bunk was, close my eyes, and still see the guys around me. But some things you can never revisit. And no matter how much you remember it in your mind, the past in never the same in the here and now. You can never really go back can you?
There will be a lot of material coming out over the next few months as this is the 20th anniversary of the battle. To get a head start on Jeff’s project, they started a FB page and a web site with pics of our trip and a video to come.
I made this little movie teaser on the plane flight back.
I assure you BP Faith will be WAY more pro than this one! But i wanted you to see some of the shots of the streets particularly the bullet holes that still remain and especially the armed guards we hired riding in the back of a toyota pick up.
We followed behind in armored SUVs.The idea was for us to head into the city and r-erun the route Jeff and the other rangers on vehicles had done all day and night during the battle. But just like the first time, this second trip into the MOG was just as confusing.
Two blocks from the Target building at the intersection of National and Hawlwadig Road, the Olympic hotel was just up ahead to our north. But the guys in the pick up took a left when we should have gone straight.
“Hey where are they going? tell them to go back”. we radioed ahead
By the time they were looking for a turn-around, we were two blocks past where we needed to be. And thats when the pickup full of cling-ons took a right turn, which was a wrong turn, right into where we shouldn’t have been.
The bakara market is a bad part of town. Ruled by clans their is no law. For an SUV full of white guys, we were a target.
If speed is security then we were out of luck. Everything came to a nerve racking crawl through that maze of alleys.
People everywhere. Donkey carts. Buildings full of bullet of holes reminding us of where we had once been.
At one point it got so nerve racking that Jeff and I starting looking around for an extra weapon, just in case.
But I said a prayer and trusted God had not sent me in this time to get shot at or hijacked.
We abandoned are quest to get back to the target building and instead got out of there to “safer” streets.
If thats possible in Mogadishu.
When we got back to our barracks at the Mogadishu Airport, Jeff and sat and talked with a new appreciation for having made it out of there the first time.
None of us should have. I had forgotten how narrow the streets were and how many people were running around in those alleys of the Bakara Market.
They were everywhere. Jeff described it as trying to drive down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras while people are shooting at you from all directions.
I think what I got most from this trip was a thankfulness and better understanding of God’s hand in bringing us home.
For those who do make it out of something where others did not, we have a responsibility to make some sense of it all and tell the story of those who did not come home. For if we don’t tell their story then who will? I’m hoping the film that BULLET PROOF Faith puts out will makea huge impact. And that Jeff’s ministry will help heal a ton of folks by leading them to Jesus.
As for me, i will continue to reach out to who I can, when I can. So thank you for being one of those:) God Bless