It has been incredibly exciting for us the last few months as we are getting to know the church planters and translators who work on the island where we are now serving! God is doing amazing things among several of the indigenous people groups here, including a Manobo village that heard the gospel for the first time a few weeks ago, with nearly the entire village responding! In the last few weeks, Josh has had the privilege of using our 26 year old 4×4 Land Cruiser to drive two of our translation teams in to the villages where they work while we wait for the helicopter to arrive. This is the reason we chose this vehicle when we moved here seven years ago – because it was one of the few vehicles capable of reaching the isolated people groups that we work with during times when our aircraft are not available. It was once a valuable tool for ministry, but is now becoming a distraction from ministry.
Over the last couple of months we have begun to realize that it is time to let this old friend go, and purchase a newer and more reliable vehicle that we can trust for the many long trips over isolated and rough roads that are required on the much larger island where we live now. Despite Josh’s best efforts at maintaining our Land Cruiser well, on one trip to carry supplies for our church planters last month, he experienced an almost total brake failure on a switchback, and a rusted out radiator that led to overheating both the engine and transmission, and long delays climbing a mountain pass. Thankfully our co-worker Brian was following in their equally old and modified land cruiser when the brakes failed! Since then, we’ve done our best to make long trips with two vehicles, because neither of us trust these vehicles here. Sure enough, between our vehicle and our co-worker’s vehicle, in the last six weeks we have experienced:
- Two alternator failures
- Two engine overheats/cooling system failures on separate vehicles
- Two air conditioning system problems on separate vehicles
- A brake system failure
- Massive power steering system leaks
- Failed rear axle seals
- An overheated automatic transmission
- A broken clutch fork
These issues on top of a number of other major worn parts that we were already planning to replace, have us and our coworkers both thinking it’s time to replace our vehicles. Not only do we depend on these vehicles for safely transporting our families, they are an integral part of our ministry here, and our ability to serve our church planting teams well is suffering because of the age and unreliability of our vehicles.
More than the money invested though, we’ve realized that far too much of our time is being spent maintaining these vehicles – time that we need to be spending directly on our ministry.
After a lot of prayer and research, we believe the vehicle that would provide the best return on investment for our ministry is a 2013-2015 year model Toyota Fortuner.
This feels like a huge step of faith for us, especially right now after all of the big projects that have been a part of transitioning us to a new ministry and a new home on a new island, but we believe that the Lord has us here to serve our church planting teams, not work on our own car, and that this need has not caught him by surprise. Please send us an email if you have questions or would like more details!
As of June 23, we are 16% of the way towards seeing this project completed!