“It is better to learn the lessons from history than to repeat its errors.” Translated from Pão Diário
When it rained in Brazil, the tropical climate often made the rain a downpour. Though I’ve written about rain and muddy roads, Doris reminded me of another incident. You’ll understand why this story sticks in her mind.
All the roads, for hundreds of kilometers from our home in Rio Preto, were dirt, a red clay that turned to gumbo with a rain. Late one afternoon after leaving our children with a wonderful neighbor next door, we took our car to the town of Poloni. We had begun to plant a church there and this particular time we were going to conduct another service in a rented hall.
But before we arrived in Poloni, it began to rain—one of those times when the skies opened up. We didn’t even try to hold a service nor attempt to return home. We were learning the hard way not to drive on muddy roads at night. There is another sorry tale I’ve told about muddy roads in another blog. The little hotel had a room for us but there was no way to contact our neighbor Henriqueta to let our children know they’d spend the night without us. We passed a restless few hours there in Poloni and early the next morning headed for Rio Preto.
The roads were greasy but passable until we came to what should have been a small creek. With the rain, the few planks that made up a bridge were under water. I put on the brakes for Doris had her hand on the door ready to jump out. She was taking no chances on a bridge that had partially disappeared under the flood. So she waded across on the planks as I waited to take my chances driving across. No problem at all.
But as I stopped to let Doris in we watched as the planks from that bridge took leave of their moorings and floated along with the current. The bridge was no more. No doubt the weight of the vehicle on the planks helped loosen them so they could travel downstream on their own adventure.
Neither Doris nor I recall the reaction of Monica and Vernon to passing the night without their parents. However as Doris and I discussed this incident she said that she remembers few details. She recalls her total exhaustion blanked out all her memories of everything except the high water over the little bridge.
There is another body of water, the little river of Barra Dourada that takes a higher priority in my mind than the floating bridge near Poloni. This is a small river near Neves Paulista in which we baptized those who had declared their faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Family, friends and many curious folks came to watch as we entered the water. Yes, many curious came. My recollection is that we as Canadian missionaries were quite an oddity out in coffee country. And of course the declaration of faith in Jesus as Saviour with adult baptism was quite extraordinary.
Dressed for Baptism:
I wonder at times as I look back if a person has to face some floating bridges to later on in life to be able to rejoice with believers in their assurance of heaven and an eternal home. Crossing those bridges may well lead to rewards in this life and the one to come.