We have, for a while now, been looking for ways to serve missionaries during these next few months that we plan to be in Nebraska, and for however long God keeps us here at home. We have a few ideas, that as we pray about you’ll probably hear more of. But this note is about one idea in particular: A few weeks ago, Chester mentioned that he liked the idea of keeping a fleet of cars to lend out to missionaries. They’d have to be in good working condition (not like some vehicles we’ve lent out before….), but we could do the maintenance and repairs and such, and just have them available. ( If such a thing were to happen, he was saying, he’d like a garage in which to work on them…)
About that time, we found out that some family friends were selling their Suburban. We passed their name on to another family, whom we knew were looking to replace their broken-down van. When they decided to purchase something larger (a 15 passenger), we thought we may as well consider it ourselves – with this idea of a missionary fleet in mind. The selling family responded to our inquiry by offering to give it to us (the price had been very reasonable before). It seems that God has confirmed this direction! (We nick-named the suburban “Barnabus”, because of this great encouragement).
In reality, it’s something we’ve already been informally doing. For the past few months, Chester and I have had one car. To be sure, we own more – but one is on loan to Chester’s sister’s family, and two others were on loan to a missionary family. Another one is dead, in our back yard (it would have been taken to the junk yard by now if we hadn’t misplaced the title). The one drivable car we have is a seven passenger Nissan Pathfinder, so it really hasn’t been an inconvenience – we all fit in it. And when we’ve needed a second set of wheels, we’ve been able to borrow Micah’s Subaru Outback (purchased from the same family that was selling the Suburban). At the beginning of December, the missionary family mentioned that they were no longer using either of the vehicles they had from us, and that since they’re preparing to return to the mission field, soon would be a good time for us to come get them. (They were no longer driving them because both need work – some of it serious – and they have two other vehicles to use).
So two weeks ago, we set out to visit the missionaries in their Nebraska home about an hour and a half away. And by the end of the day, we had gone from the ability to transport seven people to the ability to transport thirty-six people: Seven in the original Davis Pathfinder, fifteen in “Jonah” – an old 1992 Dodge van that needs a good deal of work, but did manage to hobble home, five in “Kermit” – a Mitsubishi Mirage, and nine in “Barnabus”!
We are happily driving “Kermit” all over the place again. “Jonah” needs some work before it can be trusted. “Barnabus” is already in service, lent to a family for a few weeks, and the other day towed a giant military vehicle that had broken down nearby. Our insurance isn’t crazy about this idea of intending to keep loaner vehicles, so they notified us that after 22 years with them, our policy will be cancelled next March. So we’d love it if you pray that we find an insurance company that’s a great fit for our family (and fleet), and that God would continue to direct us in serving missionaries and ministries.
We are grateful for these opportunities to serve, and grateful to you for holding us up in prayer!