Down the Switchback

Written by | September, 2014
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From the Field September 5, 2014

There arises a question in working overseas whether the missionary should drive himself or hire drivers. One concern is what kind of liability would be involved if there was an accident and even if someone were killed in an accident. In our first term in Nigeria both my wife and I drove. When we returned for a second time, we decided to hire a driver. This man could not only drive but relieve the missionary of any time and responsibilities toward the vehicle. In Nigeria there was a regular concern that when work was done on a vehicle that no faulty parts were put in. Our driver in Nigeria, Ekpo, did admirably in all areas. He has since gone to be with the Lord, while we remember him fondly for all the work removed from our shoulders: changing oil, changing a tire, knowing where to go and how to get there, and looking out for us and our family, etc. He could discourage any trouble along the way with anyone with his frown and barrel chested body. He was a member at the Efa congregation. The Mission Board was in favor of us hiring from the beginning and finally we gave in.

When we moved the base of our operations to India, the question arose of a driver yet again and we decided to hire. Quite a number of the drivers we had were not for long and did not do such a good job. One man, Manoharan, evidently had been in office work and we found out was not suited for driving, though this was after some experiences. One experience that basically ended his service was an accident in coming down a switchback road in the hills above Vaniyambadi. Manoharan had already proved that he was fast, some would say too fast. And he had not always been careful with impediments in the road like strolling water buffaloes and rocks. But the clincher for his termination was the switchback. We were coming down the road with the hills on one side and the drop on the other. At one point Manoharan squeaked out ‘no brakes’. I right away advised him to start bumping against the up side of he road and the rocks that were there along the road. He did and we went bumping along being slowed by hitting what ever was there to keep from speeding down and over the down side. Finally we hit a big enough rock that not only stopped us but flipped us on our side in the middle of the road. Manoharan hung above me held by his seatbelt, moaning. I said it would all be alright and crawled out. I loosened his seat belt and he crawled out just as a lorry full of workers was coming up the hill. They turned the car right side up and pushed it to the side of the road. They were not as powerful as the angel strength that kept us from going over the edge, but did get the damaged car to the side. Manoharan referred to that little green car as the ‘devil car’. It is our wonderful Lord who takes care of us come what may.

Now in India our missionaries have a driver named Kumar, who is everything you would want in a driver, except that he is not a Christian yet. Pray that through the influence of our missionaries and their wives that Kumar, his wife and daughter believe in a God who can do anything.