2014 October 13
Dear newsletter family,
We are excited to share with you the news about our new vehicle! About a year ago, a very kind and generous church family felt impressed that we would travel safer if we had a vehicle, especially now that we have a young child. Since 2009, we have been traveling almost exclusively by motorcycle, public bus, or airplane. Travel in this country is a special trial sometimes. We've learned to pile quite a lot of things on a motorbike, but the roads are very sandy in the dry season and wet and muddy in the wet season.
Just a couple of weeks ago, we got news that the vehicle had finally arrived in Ndjamena! It is a brand new Toyota Land Cruiser hardtop in the 13 seat configuration. It is 4WD and has a winch, roof rack, and towing hitch. We chose this vehicle after weeks of research and prayer and getting counsel from other missionaries experienced in Africa. It is about the perfect vehicle for our needs here, and very practical.
After getting the warranty inspection done in Ndjamena, we loaded it up with several hundred pounds of supplies for us and the nutrition center, along with 12 mostly-overweight duffle bags (mostly for the doctor family who just returned to Bere), and four passengers. It drove and handled like there was hardly anything inside the whole 250 miles from Ndjamena to Bere. Most of the distance is supposed to be paved road, but there are a lot of stretches full of deep potholes. I even rolled the window down a bit to let some warm air in because the air conditioning was so cold!
The last 20 miles or so was muddy road with many muddy puddles, some of them deep. I had invited a local who knew the road to travel with me; he said there were 6 or 7 difficult spots. Each time, we went right through without a problem. I engaged 4WD for one stretch where the road was completely under water for several hundred feet. Finally we got through "the last" difficult spot. A few hundred feet later we slipped into a deep mud hole where it was obvious from ruts that several vehicles had gotten stuck before. We almost got stuck, but pulled through. I've attached a couple of pictures from the trip to Bere.
We recognize that it is God Who provided us with this tool to use in His work. We really like the vehicle, and it has already proven to be a real workhorse. A friend of mine who is a professional driver for the government came by to visit. When he saw the vehicle, he said, "Whoever chose this vehicle, thought very well. It is the perfect vehicle for here. There is no better vehicle."
Every Sabbath we take the new vehicle down to Dabgue and always end up picking up several passengers along the way who want to attend church with us. Then, for the return trip, we end up carrying back even more who want to return to Bere. They appreciate the free ride.
We are already planning another supply run down to Moundou soon to stock up on nutrition center supplies, bulk food, plumbing material, etc. We hope to get a trailer built sometime, but that will not be until next year. Our priorities for now are the Bible training course coming up shortly. Keep tuned to your email box for an update on that soon.
In His service,
Jonathan and Melody and Gideon