Filling In The Story

“The bonds of matrimony are a good investment, only when the interest is kept up.” Anon

The little sayings I find are insightful. But now I’ve founds some with humour. As for this post, it explains how and why we ended stuck in the mud, all one night.

Here’s how Doris and I came to be stuck in the mud all night with our old van there in the interior.  The weather was warm as we travelled that afternoon over that dirt road where we later were stuck in the mud. Our trip was almost an hour’s drive through coffee farms to the village of José Bonifácio; there we had planned to hold a service. Doris would have her accordion with her or the little portable organ. The music interested everyone and Doris would have a special story for the children using Flannegraph pictures. I was prepared in my accented Portuguese to speak about some aspect of the salvation message of our Lord. All that was part of what was involved in planting a new church.

But we had no sooner arrived than the rain began to fall. We did not wait to cancel the service for nobody would appear during a rain. We wasted no time in turning around for home. Why? It was the roads. All the interior roads were dirt so that when it rained the road’s surface turned to slippery red gumbo. Besides that they were graded with a high crown in the center so that the water would quickly run off and the road would easily dry. So when it was slippery with the mud it was the most natural thing for a car was to wander till it visited the ditch.

That same muddy road was the reason we had a flat battery. Because of the mud we were travelling carefully and slowly. But the old style generator that vehicles had at that time could not handle the load of the lights at that slow speed. In the darkness of that moonless night I could not keep the van on the road. It slid so easily into the ditch–we were stuck in the mud. As far as we knew our only neighbors were the millions of coffee bushes.

Our predicament also affected two laymen from our congregation. We had let them off at a simple home close by the roadside. They were to conduct a service there while we went on our  way to José Bonifácio. When we stopped, a number of children came running out from the house and across the dirt yard to meet our van. They were excited for the two men had come to their home. There would be a story for the children and in any case just having visitors out in the country was a big event. We planned to pick up these two men on our way back home.

But when we did not appear our men slept on the floor. Why on the floor? These country homes were small and so poor that even the children there may have slept crossways in one bed. There were no extra blankets in this home to soften the feel of the typical brick floor. I imagine that next morning the men were feeling cold and their bones must have been aching. This home would have been typical of many where there were the barbeiro bugs. This blood sucking bug can be dangerous for it may pass on a dangerous parasite.

What did these two stranded men have to say to us when we arrived? Certainly no words of criticism for us. As usual Brazilians are kind perhaps to a fault.  Instead these men shared their story of being able to complete their mission telling the story of Jesus. I am sure it touched the lives of the listeners for those who led the service were similar in many ways to those who listened. They all had so much in common.



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