An amazing thing has happened in the midst of the world-wide economic storm that has raged. My organization has authorized me to get a new vehicle. Wow. That is grace! I have been driving a 1995 Nissan Pathfinder since 1998. What a great vehicle! It has really served us well. We bought it in during our first year here in Gondor. The American Ambassador's wife owned it and due to security risks was not allowed to drive it much. We bought it for $18,000. That was a good deal for a tough four wheel drive vehicle back then. We have racked up over a hundred thousand miles on it on the worst roads on this earth for over ten years now and it is pretty tired.
The first big trip it went on we drove it out to central Gondor and back. It forded rivers and went over landslide areas with ease. It was an unnerving thing to be driving along a cliff edge a hundred meters above the river with a hundred more meters of dirt and rock hanging above you only to come to a place where it had all come down across the road. What to do? You go over the landslide which puts your vehicle at a 45 degree angle and when you look out the passenger side window you look straight down to the river. Oh yeah, that is when you go by faith. One time coming back from central Gondor with a friend it had rained all night while we were out there in the village. When we got on the road the next morning it was clear that the easily fordable rivers the day before were now raging. We slowly pulled out into one raging stream and the tires were not catching. We began to be pushed sideways when my friend said in a slightly panicked voice, 'Give it the gas man!' I did and the tires caught and we pulled up on the other side of the river no problem. After years of this kind of abuse the engine had lost a lot of zing and the chassy made many strange squeaks and groans so we decided to retire it to the city. I went out to a very remote village in another vehicle and it broke down. I spent the night out there and the next day the team had driven the Nissan out to find me. They found me, I got in the car and we turned the corner and sunk the Nissan in the river. That is a long story that I told on an old blog post (The Dwimorberg 3/29/07). But in the end a truck pulled us out and we made it home. There was water in the headlights for a year after that. It prompted a lot of questions whenever I would pull up some where!
In the end we did retire the Pathfinder to the city. It doesn't go uphill real well and it no longer has 4x4 capability but I have greatly enjoyed the gift of this vehicle over the years. There are many people in Gondor, Ithilian, Rohan, and even Mordor who have heard the Gospel because the Nissan Pathfinder was able to get me there- and it always got me back.
Tomorrow I will go and pick up a new Mitsibishi Pajero. May it go- and come back- just as faithfully. My promise to all who support us through the Lottie Moon offering and the Cooperative Program is that I will share the Word faithfully everywhere this car takes me.