Discouraged, I took my keys back from the salesman and walked outside. I had come to this Chevy dealership with one purpose: selling our struggling Uplander minivan during my weekend in El Paso, so I would not return to Mexico with a defunct vehicle registered to my Mexican resident’s visa. If the minivan broke down in Chihuahua, we would have to tow it four hours back north to the States before legally being allowed to bring another vehicle south! I had planned on a dealership taking it off our hands the same day we showed up; we could not spare the time to sell to a private party in El Paso. But when the dealer turned me down – because of mileage, not mechanical issues! – I found myself approaching our Uplander, opening the driver’s door, and reluctantly turning the key once more. What was I supposed to do? Returning to Chihuahua with that minivan seemed incredibly unwise, but I was unsure what God would have me do with this, His vehicle.
However, while driving away from the dealership, God brought back to mind a friend’s offhand comment from the previous night: a reference to a Carmax dealership passed en route to the NTM guesthouse. That seemed a more likely place to sell a ‘high-mileage’ minivan, so I started driving in that direction. Then, while merging onto the freeway, I noticed something else. The ‘check engine’ light, which had turned on a day prior in Chihuahua, had been reset. What’s more, the feel of the engine was different! Driving this vehicle north from Chihuahua had been a nerve-wracking experience: too-familiar shudders, under-responsiveness, and even struggles to restart the engine had each faithfully accompanied me on my journey. Yet during the half hour drive to Carmax, the minivan continued to behave uncharacteristically well.
In the end, I do not know whether the Chevy dealer did anything more to our minivan than turn off the engine light. It certainly seems that God engineered all of this very intentionally, not sending us directly to Carmax (who, by God’s grace, did buy the minivan after a very thorough inspection – and at a price in the range we had hoped for!), but instead allowing the dealership to first tinker with the engine during their inspection. What is certain is that God, who first provided that vehicle for us at the time we needed it, was just as faithful when the time came to see it sold. As we heave a sigh of relief to put the minivan and its many struggles behind us, I am grateful for God’s kind reminder to us of His faithfulness in *all* circumstances… even when the dealership tells you they do not want your old, broken-down rig!
With the minivan finally sold, we are in great need of a replacement vehicle! Friends are loaning us a spare Corolla on the weekends – which means we can schedule prenatal appointments, get to church on Sunday, and buy groceries. This still leaves heavy limits on our mid-week ministry options, such as teaching and various cultural events. In early October we expect our daughter’s birth (and will need to get to the hospital quickly!), colder weather will come not too far behind her, and we still hope to visit Las Moras this winter (to prepare for house construction later in 2017, and so our co-worker Rachel can progress in the Nahuatl Bible translation). For all these reasons, we would like to buy a truck as soon as possible!
Video: successfully traveling the ‘road’ to Las Moras demands preparation!
Thanks to a few faithful friends, we have a pretty good idea of what kind of vehicle we need for long-term work in Mexico. Mountain ministry makes a 3/4 ton pickup necessary; house construction and transporting supplies will limit us to a full-length bed. The ‘road’ in requires 4×4 to be passable (along with planning for very muddy conditions), and our family size makes a full-sized cab necessary. As well, changing Mexican vehicle laws mean such a truck will be too heavy to import temporarily; we will need to find one 5-10 years old, pay an extra 15% tax, and nationalize it permanently! I am so grateful for the experienced, vehicle-savvy coworkers who have helped us research what we truly need… we would have missed many details without their assistance.
God has already done so much to meet this need. We have only known of it with certainty since mid July; yet in that short time, God has provided nearly half the expected cost of $20,000-25,000! None of this has caught Him by surprise; to the contrary, He acted before we knew anything. Our hope in sharing news of this need, therefore, is that no one feel pressured to give. The opportunity for financial participation does exist, and our Give page makes that easy for those who feel so led. Our desire is that you pray for us in the middle of this transition. God will lead us – in His timing, not ours! – to the vehicle He will provide. Our desire is to be found patiently depending upon none but Him until that day comes.
Praise God with us!
- God provided for the sale of our broken-down minivan at a good price!
- We have access to a ride on the weekends while waiting for a vehicle!
- Elayne and Titus are beyond excited, as she enters second grade and he begins kindergarten!
Ways you can pray:
- Tomorrow I begin a week-plus trip to Las Moras. I’ll request permission to join the community, begin preparations for house building, and help our coworker Pete drive out safely during rainy season. Your prayer for a safe journey and these goals are very much appreciated!
- God will provide the cost of our needed tribal vehicle, and help us find the right one! Pray for our patience until we see His provision arrive!
- We grow more and more excited anticipating the arrival of our daughter in early October (we expect). Please pray for an easy delivery, and continued good health for mama and baby both!