I’m so glad that Dick Samuels is the one who drove us to Chidothe Village for the final day of our evangelistic campaign, as I can claim that it was not me who was driving when when our van fishtailed and slid off the road. We were already late for the campaign, so our team of two Americans, two Zimbabweans, and three Malawians tried feverishly to extract our van from the ditch even while the rain continued, but to no avail.
So it was decided that I and my interpreter would walk the final mile to the church where I would be preaching, while recruits from that church would journey to the van to add their muscle power. So, already wet and splattered with spinning-tire mud, we headed out.
It rained for most of our muddy-road trek, and my travel-umbrella proved to be worthless when the wind picked up and pushed the rain horizontally. By the time we arrived at the church, we were soaked to the skin, top to bottom. Our shoes were mud-caked. Ten minutes later, I was reading scripture verses by the light of a cell phone and preaching the gospel to the continual sound of rain hammering on the church’s tin roof. It was a miserable experience, yet in some strange way, exhilarating. In the end, people came forward to repent and follow Jesus.
By that time, however, it was dark outside, and much too late for our planned baptismal service at a nearby river. For me, that was the greatest disappointment of the day.
I caught a ride in a people-packed passenger van from the church to our stranded van, which I found was still stranded in the dark. So we packed our remaining team members into the already-packed van and endured a long, wet, cold and painful ride back to our hotel. As I finally warmed my bones in a hot shower, however, I couldn’t help but think of all the equally-drenched folks who tried to help us and who had no showers, warm or cold, to return home to.
As I write this, it is the next day, and we’re slowly drying out. Our van has been successfully pulled from the ditch with the aid of a tractor, and Dick spent much of the afternoon training our new Malawian micro-banker and his trustees. I’ve been catching up on emails. I’m thankful for all that we’ve been able to accomplish on this trip, but regret that unanticipated delays have cost us some fruit. We shall return!
Tomorrow we have a four-hour drive to Lilongwe, a two-hour wait at the airport, a two-and-a-half hour flight to Johannesburg, a four-hour layover, an 11-hour flight to Frankfurt, a two-and-a-half hour layover, a nine-and-a-half hour flight to Chicago, a 3-hour layover, and then a one-and-a-half hour flight to Pittsburgh. That is 40 hours of transit. I wish for my own sake that I had not just done the math! Thanks for joining me on this journey. — David