Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Landslides and Floods

Landslides and floods closed our departure route. This was the sad discovery that Bill R. made by an act of Divine Providence. During the night -- while the rest of us slept -- Bill and Trevor located an internet cafe and sent an S.O.S back to the States. In short, the dispatch let people back home know that we were stranded; it might be several days before we could get out of the country.

Larry, our contact in the U.S., let the prayer teams know of our plight. Immediately, a hundred or more people began to pray for us.

In the wee hours of the morning, Bill and I bowed before God and prayed, "Lord, if there is a way out of here, help us to find it."

The next morning we got the Roadmakers together and explained the situation. Everyone had an assignment. We located a 17 passenger plane, but were told it was booked solid and wouldn't fly again for two days. We checked an alternative route to another departure point -- a 20 hour bus ride. Our last option was a two day boat trip. It wasn't looking good.

We found another internet cafe in the building beside our sleeping quarters. The owner of the cafe spoke English fluently. I explained our situation. She told us a way had been devised to get around the landslides and flooded roads -- we should be able to get to our destination. We sent the good news to our contact stateside.

By 6:30 a.m., we were at the chaotic bus station. Bill R. and Frank haggled with the ticket office to get tickets. Finally, we secured the tickets. At 10 a.m., the bucket of bolts -- they called it a bus -- chugged out of the parking lot. It smelled of urine, perspiration, mold, and scents I have yet to identify. Our ride lasted 15 minutes.

The bus rattled to a stop. We peered through the mud-splashed windshield and saw that the bridge in front of us was washed out. The driver told us to get out and cross the river via a rickety bamboo foot bridge. We descended down a slippery hill to the bamboo poles stretched across the stream. One man in his early 60's slipped and skidded down the hill, never letting go of his suitcase. Bill and Frank rushed to his aide. Thankfully, the only thing bruised was his ego.

Once on the other side, we boarded another bus -- this one was worse than the first! The number of riders doubled. The 6 hour ride would turn into 13 and a half hours of adventure!

Stay tuned...

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