Road Trip, Part 1

If you’ve been following Hope4Congo, you’ve seen that there have been some struggles for me lately as the blogger for this ministry. Technical difficulties with my computer, a broken printer, health issues, family concerns, and a broken vehicle have provided extra challenges for me. (There won’t be any photos with this blog post due to technical difficulties.)

Sometimes the effectiveness of a ministry is measured by the smoothness of the road—how easy it is to get the work accomplished. We are overjoyed during such spiritual highs. However, an easy workload may not be the best measurement of effectiveness. It must also be measured by our commitment during the rough low spots in the journey.

Such rough challenges often test our faith, but they also provide an opportunity to grow. Sometimes we do our best growing during these times of testing.

For the next few weeks we’ll look back to the beginning of this ministry. After God gave Stan and Brad the vision for Hope4Congo, they made their second trip to Africa. What follows is the first portion of that journey.

* * *

An ancient Toyota pick-up skidded to a stop. One of the two passengers on the pick-up bed slid toward the side. He grabbed hold of the cab roof and swung a chicken upside down by its feet. Once he steadied himself, he tucked his chicken under his arm.

Stan and Brad stared at the king cab pick-up. Typical of most broken down vehicles seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo, its dented sides were corroded where the rust had eaten holes through the paint.

Piled two feet high on the truck bed were an odd assortment of bundles, tools, two spare tires, several bottles of motor oil, and a fifty-gallon drum of gasoline. With no gas stations anywhere ahead, these supplies were essential. So was the mechanic who would travel with them.

In addition to the passenger with the chicken, a second man perched among all the items on the pick-up bed. He had the choice seat on the oil drum while the first man balanced precariously on the mass of bundles.

Pascal, Stan and Brad’s Congolese church friend negotiated in French with the driver. French, the national trade language overcame the language barrier presented by the hundreds of dialects across the Congo.

The driver was a scrawny old guy. He crossed his arms, never smiled during the bargaining. In contrast, the mechanic never stopped smiling. Perhaps it was their version of the good cop, bad cop routine.

Once the haggling finished, Pascal and the driver shook hands.

“It’s settled. For seven hundred francs they will drive you to Ndjoko Punda. They will wait for you to finish your work there. Then they will bring you back.”

“So $700.00 for a round trip?” Stan asked.

“Yes, my friend. It is the only way. If they don’t stay with you and bring you back, it could be months before another vehicle will make the trip.” Pascal grinned. “They will take good care of you. No problem.”

To be continued.

What do you think? Will there be any problems? Join us next Thursday to find out. Hopefully, I’ll have photos of the pick-up then, too.

©2015 Hope4Congo

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