Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Tale of a Missionary Car

January 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Manna, Going Global, Monthly Articles

It was during summer vacation in 1978, and I was doing children’s ministry with some of my students from our Bible Institute. We had planned to offer the program in six churches—three in Medellin, then three more in our rural churches.

My coworker Maria and I—plus Gustavo, our lone male team member, and two other students, headed out to a farming community about an hour outside of Medellin. Once we got off the main highway, the going got very rough. The path was filled with craters and jagged rocks that seemed destined to rip something vital off the bottom of my small car.

When the path ran out, we were still some distance from the home where we would hold our program. Maria parked the car by a small schoolhouse on a hill just off the path. The schoolyard was about 10 feet above where the road ended. The car was out of sight. I was sure it would be safe enough parked away from the embankment with the doors locked and the brake on.

Our hostess Guillermina, and her husband Efrain, were poor tenant farmers. They entertained us royally and were so excited that we had come to tell their friends and neighbors about God’s love and forgiveness.

That afternoon we rounded up children from the neighboring farms and began our first kid’s meeting. It was late when we escorted them back to their homes. A house meeting was planned for the evening. The church people began to drift in one by one. Some had walked a long way. Because it was beginning to rain, the return trip home promised to be a wet one.

By the light of gas lanterns and with every bed and bench occupied, Gustavo delivered a stirring message from the Bible. Outside, the storm grew worse.

After the meeting, all us girls were glad to climb into our beds to escape the cold. The bedroom door wouldn’t shut, so I propped it closed with a box to keep out the worst of the draft. At last, Maria blew out the flickering candle and we settled in, seeking a little warmth against the dampness of the night.

Suddenly the door flew open, sending the box crashing against the wall.

“Señoritas, señoritas!” Guillermina cried hysterically as she burst into the room and threw herself at the foot of the bed. “Forgive us!” It took us a bit to get her calmed down enough to find out what we were supposed to forgive her for.

On the way back to their homes, the Christians had found my car upside down in the middle of the path. Two tires had been slashed. The other two were flat. The gas line had been ripped out and some damage attempted to the motor.

“Señorita,” our hostess continued, “we know who did this. Efrain is going out with his machete to punish them.”

Efrain, a new Christian, had once been notorious for his temper. Once again, anger had taken control. As our avenging angel, he was now prepared to do battle.

“No,” I begged, “tell him to stay here. Murder is not God’s way of dealing with this.” Guillermina scurried out of the room after her husband.

Voices rose and fell outside the door. The four of us prayed that somehow God would prevent Efrain from this evil mission. Gustavo talked and prayed with him all through the night and our prayers were answered.

Questions raced through my mind. How bad was the damage? How will we get back to Medellin? Why did this happen on the first night of six weeks of ministry? How will we do all the other clubs without the car? Was there worse to come?

As I lay there, God began to minister to me. Verses of His care and protection flashed through my mind. He reminded me that where the Spirit of God is, there is no room for fear, for “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them” (Psalm 34:7). There on that prickly mattress, peace returned. The car was His. Hadn’t I given it back to him when He first provided it? It was no longer mine, but HIS to do with as He pleased.

I fell asleep, thanking God and asking His forgiveness for my worry and fear.

The next morning, before we went back up the road to see the car, we had devotions together as a team. We prayed that God would glorify Himself through this situation. By the time we reached the schoolyard, a small crowd had already gathered. News traveled fast, even in the remote, telephone-less hills of Colombia.

We answered the questions of all who passed, telling them about God and explaining to them why we had come here in the first place.

Our efforts at getting the car on its “feet” and back to town, accomplished with the help of La Unión’s battered fire truck, were closely watched and reported. As a team, we resolved that we would stay, finish out our week, and not only talk about God’s love and forgiveness, but prove it.

The meeting that night gave us the first glimpse of what the Lord was doing with His car. We were invited to hold our service in the home of a neighbor who wasn’t a believer. Strangers appeared at the door and the house was full to the rafters with people who had never heard the Gospel before. Curiosity had overcome fear. This amazing blessing would repeat itself every night during that week.

With my limited understanding, I thought of the car as only a means of transportation from one place to another. But in God’s hands the car was to become an invaluable part of the missionary team, proving once again that He is always creative, always right and always faithful.

 

 

Lynda is a missionary, speaker, educator, writer, editor, and cat lover. She was born and raised in Timmins, the heart of gold mining country in northeastern Ontario, Canada. Lynda has served with Fellowship International for more than thirty years, first in Colombia, a brief stint on home staff in Toronto, Ontario and, more recently in Venezuela. She is currently on staff at First Baptist Church in Timmins, Ontario where her primary focus is spiritual formation. The author of Divine Design for Daily Living, a 365 day devotional journey through the entire Bible (published in Spanish and English),  Lynda blogs Lynda’s Grain of Sand, maintains her own website Northern Breezes , and has been seconded by Fellowship International to serve on the Communications team of The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada.

 

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Comments

3 Responses to “The Tale of a Missionary Car”
  1. Don’t you love watching God work, even if in hindsight sometimes 🙂 Thanks for sharing this wonderful account, Lynda. God Bless.

  2. Lynda Schultz says:

    Absolutely, Nancy.

  3. Rita Garcia says:

    Wow! Thanks for sharing this amazing story!! Blessings!

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