Thursday, November 24, 2011

Was That Really Necessary?

A new pastor came to our last Bible distribution, and so after our discipleship group this morning, Chelo and I decided to go hunting for his church.  
I'd never been past St. Jean, and so it was exciting to go exploring.   
We hopped on our moto's and zoomed down the road.  
After St. Jean it was new territory for us, and so we just started asking the locals.   Suddenly, out of the blue we came upon that very pastor, on his moto and headed for Cayes.  
He was very excited to see us, and he led us right to his church, called the Church at the Rock.  
We planned our next bible distribution and shook on it, then said our goodbyes. 
I asked Chelo if he'd care to just see where the road goes with me, and so we turned our bikes South and started out.  Have I mentioned that with every fiber of my being, I love this part of my job?  

Who knows what might be around the next bend?  Who might God be placing in our path today?! What new wonder might our eyes behold?!

We came to the fishing community of Krabye and stopped for a moment to enjoy the view of the ocean and the mountains.  It was then that Chelo told me,
"So....yeah....I don't think I'm gonna have enough gas to make it..."
"Make it where? To the next village?"
"No, back to Ti Rivier."
"There's a man selling gas on the side of the road."
"I don't have any money."
"That's going to be a problem, because I don't have any money either."

So we took our chances.  Chelo and I walked up to the man and explained our problem.   We told him that we were coming back soon with Bibles and we'd pay him back then.  Then Chelo told them that his mother used to come up and down this road to buy coconuts for the market.  
That was all it took.  Mario, the owner, filled up a beer bottle full of gasoline and handed it to Chelo.
"No problem." He told me. 
"When I come back to pay you, I'll also bring you a Bible."
"OK." He said.

We zoomed on down the road and soon the gravel turned to the old dirt roads of Haiti.    We passed a mile of marshland, and then came a river.  Really, a tributary of sorts.  There was only one way to pass the stagnant water.  Three coconut trees and a couple of planks of wood had been lashed together to make some kind of crude walking bridge with gaps wide enough to step through.   It was so narrow there was barely room to walk, let alone drive a moto.  

"Think you can do it?" Chelo asked me.
"I think I can try!" I said.
A man on another motorcycle came up from the other side and turned off his engine just as Chelo revved his engine and went bouncing over the makeshift bridge.  He bobbed to one side and then gunned it just enough to reach the far bank.  
My turn.  
Ok. No problem.  Just keep it in the middle.  Don't look to the left or the right...
Half way across I hit one of the spaces in the planks of wood.  It was just enough for my hand to slip, just enough to slow the motorcycle down.  I bobbed to the right and pushed off with my pinky toe, and that's when I knew it.....yep.  I'm going into this river.
As I began to lean past the point of no return,  I used every ounce of effort to gun the throttle to try and launch the bike across.  It was just enough.   

The handlebar reached an old piece of railing and I saw the bike lodge into the bridge as I sailed into the air and took the plunge.   I went in over my head into some nasty, stagnant, green and brown water.   Some of that water went right down the pipes, and when I came back up and took a deep breath, there was my Haitian friend Chelo, just staring at me in disbelief.  
It was then I realized that I'd fried my cellphone.  All along the bank were spiders and their webs, to top it off.  Not only did I fall in with no grace whatsoever.  Now I was scurrying long the bank, hoping I wouldn't meet a nest of tarantulas.  Something brushed my leg under the water....what the heck was that....ok, just a log, not a's good.  It's all good.
 The other Haitians standing on either side of the bank looked very upset.   That's when the man on the motorcycle jumped off and ran over to my bike.  
"I did the same thing."  He said,  "Fell into the river right where you did.  This is why we walk the motorcycles across."  
Ahhhhh.  That would've been a good piece of knowledge...beforehand!
"We're going to make a real bridge here soon."   said another. 
Someone threw me a hand and I climbed up out of the water looking like a drowned rat.
All eyes came to me.
"Well....." I said, searching for words, "I have my bath for today."
They erupted in laughter. 

My first visit to this village, and this is my first impression? 
Nothing like driving down main street, dripping from head to toe, leaving a trail of water behind me and waving to all the people with their jaws on the floor.    Even my hat was drooping down over my ears.  No longer Indiana Jones in it's style, I was now sporting this Mary Poppins, Hills are Alive with Music fashion.....
Really, Lord?  Was that really necessary?
I guess if that's what it takes, I'll be your fool.  

Anyway, it's Thanksgiving back home.  I have a cold tonight and a fever of 101.  If I have to look at this and find my silver lining, I'll say this:  Thanks, Lord, that the only thing I hurt today was, once again, my pride.

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