I was on my way to a “bush” church. It was the time of the rains; roads were actually the cow-paths; mud was the order of the day; streams were forded; the 4-wheel drive Land Rover really got a workout that day!
I was with several church leaders and they all enjoyed the ride, trusting implicitly in the abilities of the Land Rover. I never had the courage to tell them that I took them along to be available to push if we got stuck in the mud!
Anyway, we came to a stream that was about 30 feet wide. The water was flowing and I was not sure just how deep it was so I rolled up my trousers and waded in. Soon the water soaked my trousers and I wasn’t in the deep part yet. I finally found it was about hip deep. That would cover and flood the engine if I tried to cross – but I had to get to the church. What to do?
The fan-belt was removed so that it would not spray water over the spark plugs; a tarpaulin was tied down over the radiator and about half-way up under the engine to push the water away from the engine; the hood over the engine was removed so I could see if water was coming into the engine compartment. The 4-wheel drive was engaged and with a roar I in the lowest gear accelerated. Into the water we went. The Land Rover kept moving; the tarp was keeping the water away from the engine – but the “tidal wave” in front of the vehicle kept getting bigger. I could feel the pressure of the flowing water beginning to push the vehicle to the side. Forward progress got slower and slower but all those people in the back of the Land Rover added weight which allowed the vehicle to keep contact with the bottom of the stream.
We finally made it over. Actually, the engine started sputtering just as we started to pull up out of the stream and finally “died” just as we made it out. Safe, but the engine spark plugs were wet and needed to dry out before we could go on. I guess the time spent taking off that tarp, replacing the fan belt and put the bonnet (oops! – hood) back on gave enough time for the heat of the engine to dry out the vital electrical connections.
We had a slow start after all that because the engine sputtered and missed for a bit but soon was running smoothly and finally made it to the church. We had a great meeting (it was a Communion Sunday); the crowd of folks there had been patiently waiting and we had a good feast after the morning (and into the afternoon!) meeting. And, the stream had gone down greatly when we returned home so we had no further trouble. GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME.
Addendum – I heard that a Christian university here in the USA had a student from Tanzania. I obtained his phone number and called. When I introduced myself, with excitement he said, “I remember you. You came to the church in my village on that day of much rain!” He had finished his schooling in Tanzanian schools and had come here to get further theological studies. During his years in that school I was able to visit him twice – great fellowship, good African meals and a reminder that our Lord’s ways are ‘way above ours. Great is His Faithfulness!