“We’ll be up and running in no time, once the generator switches on,” Franz said in his usual upbeat manner. He was probably right. Power cuts are common occurrences here in Nairobi, but most are short.
We heard distant banging and faint voices in the elevator shaft, and I tried to relax and be patient until the electricity came back on.
As the minutes ticked by, however, I could tell that our three fellow passengers were getting worried. At first there had been some joking and light conversation to kill time, but now we were all beginning to struggle with the heat and increasingly stuffy air in our small, nearly airtight box.
“I think the air conditioning has stopped,” the middle-aged woman said. One of the two smartly dressed Asian businessmen suggested that in order to conserve oxygen we sit on the floor of the elevator. He and his colleague took off their suit coats and loosened their ties.
Thirty minutes passed. It seemed like an eternity. We could no longer hear any sounds of banging or calling. I began to consider worst-case scenarios and felt a faint panic creep under my skin. The atmosphere in the elevator grew tenser.
“Let’s pray,” Franz said. That simple suggestion instantly brought hope. We all bowed our heads as we prayed and felt God`s presence fill our tiny, black, confined space. As we recited passages from God`s Word, hope was restored for our eventual rescue.
We had been trapped for over an hour when finally we heard commotion outside. The door was pried open, and we stumbled out in a daze, shielding our eyes from the bright light, gulping the fresh air, and thanking God.
Time had stood still for five people from different cultures and backgrounds in the midst of downtown Nairobi’s hectic activity. Trusting that God was hearing and answering our prayers is what kept me from succumbing to panic.