Emmanuel (pictured above) and Camelia are missionaries here in El Salvador and live in the house with Ashley and me. Lucy and Noemi live here with us also. None of us had a car and if you needed to go somewhere you had two choices – walk or ride the bus. After a few scary bus rides my first choice is always to walk. Our first trip to the grocery store was a challenge. I am so used to buying a lot of things so Camelia kept telling me “don’t worry Emmanuel is strong and he will carry your things for you.” Well we got to the check out that day and I had about 10 bags of “things” and a watermelon and Emmanuel looked at it all and went to find the store manager to ask if we could borrow the cart and a grocery clerk to bring my things home because there was no way he could carry it all the three blocks to our house even though it is mostly down hill! It didn’t look like that much as I was putting things in the cart but when it was all bagged up I was really embarrassed! So we learned to shop in small quantities daily instead of lots all at once.
Right before we left to do our 10 days of outreach Camelia told me her sister in the United States had given them a car. It was at her Mother’s house and needed some work including a new battery. There is a car mechanic here in San Salvador that is a Christian and he takes a good care of the cars for the ministry and some of the missionaries. They wanted to get the car from her mom’s house and drive it here to the mechanic that they trust. They got the new battery and it took 5 hours for them to drive the car from Camelia’s home in Metapan to the office because of overheating problems. The mechanic took a look the next day and the car needed many things including something for the engine block and said the total bill would be about $300.00. We pooled our resources and the work was completed and we now have a car!!!
We have not seen much of Emmanuel all week – once our new car came home it was put to many good uses! Trips to the doctors and therapists for various family members, numerous trips to the stores, rides to work and also rides to the mechanic to check on other cars in the shop being fixed. We will be using the car tomorrow to go to a bible club here in San Salvador and on Sunday to go to church but our biggest hope and dream is to vamos a la playa maybe one day next week! In English this means we are hoping to go to the beach. We have been singing and making crazy songs about our trip to the beach for two weeks and we are anxious to go.
I cannot tell you what a blessing it is to receive this car for all of us! But most of all for Camelia and Emmanuel who will no longer have to take the bus three hours on the weekend to do outreach in the church in Metapan. It will now only take about an hour or hour and a half and give them additional time to rest and spend together. They recently celebrated their six month anniversary.
We cooked hotdogs and chicken on our new grill the other night to celebrate the blessing of the gift of the car. We bought the grill on one of our trips to the store and it was already put together so it rode in the front seat carefully strapped in by the seat belt while the rest of us piled into the back seat with the lid on our laps and we laughed all the way home! We are planning on taking the grill which has been given the name of Pepito with us when we vamos a la playa.
The “new” car, which I am sure we will be naming soon also, is a Toyota and has 207,000 miles on it. At home in CT it probably would have been retired and scrapped for parts – here it is such a big blessing many people never get to experience car ownership and we are so grateful to God for blessing us with it! May it go to 300,000 miles and beyond serving the missionaries and their families safely for a long time to come! After I finish writing this blog I will be going on-line to make my car payment for my car back home that is sitting there serving no one right now! It really makes me see how very blessed I have been my whole life and how much I have taken for granted the many privileges I have been given. May I never again take those things for granted!
Here is a quote I came across yesterday – God is ready to assume full responsibility for the life wholly yielded to Him.” (Andrew Murray) and it is so evident in the lives of the missionaries here in El Salvador – I have much to learn but am having the time of my life doing it!
Serving Him with gratitude and joy!