I was asked to speak at a reunion last week in Manila. Some of their group have strayed away from the faith, and need to return to the Lord. I made a major effort to go while knowing that the Easter traffic pattern in Metro-Manila would be bad. However, I didn’t realize it would be that bad…! It actually took me over 24 hours to get home! Close to half of that time was driving home in extremely heavy traffic – a lot of it “bumper to bumper” and “stop and go” type traffic jams! In normal traffic patterns, I should have made it home in around 3 to3 ½ hours or so, not 24+!
Air Conditioner Not Working
I couldn’t take our car because the last digit of our license plate number was wrong for that particular day in Manila, which caused it to be banned from the highways. I realized that the vehicle I needed to take had an air-conditioner repair problem, and so I tried to get it repaired on the way. When I checked on how long it would take to get it working, it would have taken too long. I needed to meet a schedule deadline commitment, so I needed to drive off in it without the repair, regardless. I realized it was going to be a very long trip in the hot intense heat, especially in heavy Manila City traffic, but didn’t have a lot of choice about it. I didn’t realize it was going to be that long, though! It turned into hour after hour, sitting in the smog and exhaust fumes of hundreds of vehicles, with our windows open to survive – in a van that felt hot as an oven. Praise God I was able to finally make it home safely! I might have felt, looked, and smelled a little like a roasted pig, fried chicken, or baked potato (not sure which one of those applies the most) but I made it back safe and sound, and give the Lord praise for His faithful help in times of trouble!
Another reason it took me so long to get home is that I had a major breakdown with the van. The brakes went out in heavy EDSA traffic! EDSA is one of the heaviest traffic highways in Manila. It has around 8 lanes flowing one direction with close to the same number coming toward you, in some places. The brakes started getting worse and worse until I hardly had any brake pedal left while I was driving along in “stop and go” traffic, and I knew I was definitely in trouble. It was already night time. I managed to ease the van off the road and into a nearby mall area, and get it parked. The brake fluid was leaking so badly that it puddled around the rear tire, and our brake fluid reservoir needed to be replenished because our brake fluid was almost all gone.
Make-do Repair Remedy
The mall was almost ready to close, but I got there in time to get some needful repair items (brake fluid, epoxy, jack handle, etc…). I had some guys who attended the reunion along, coming back with me to Tarlac. They were very helpful. I was able to find a kind motorcycle driver nearby who had a few tools we could borrow. We were able to plug up the brake line to bypass one of the rear wheels that had the leak, refill with brake fluid, and finally continue on our way by around midnight. Since it was so late, and we were exhausted by then, we found a hotel for around a 6-7 hour sleepover, and then headed out into another day of intense traffic, finally making it home around 4 to 4:30 p.m. that next afternoon. We made it safely home with brakes functioning on only 3 of our wheels, in extremely heavy traffic conditions. When we came to the exit off of the expressway, where we left it and headed toward the city we live, we had to wait for probably more or less 50 vehicles that were in front of us, before we could pay our toll at the toll gate and finally proceed on. Quite the memorable trip! Nice to have it past history, and be able to give the Lord praise for helping us through our trials and difficulties…
What a joy it was to meet at the reunion in Manila last week with some who had served on a missions’ boat crew many years ago and were being reunited after close to 15-20 years or so, maybe longer. I was invited as one of their passengers from around 20 years ago! It was impressive to see their continued, steadfast love for one another after all these years, and their joy in being together again!
I enjoyed talking with the host pastor who I don’t think I’ve seen for probably close to 20 years, or so. Many years ago, he came to our house, and we helped equip him with some training materials for several days. He was telling me of the impact that had on his life personally, and a number of other pastors and leaders as well, over time. It was at a very pivotal time in his life where he decided to pursue ministry instead of politics. Some of the leaders he has trained are currently pastoring and being mightily used of Lord in ministry, as well. PTL! He’s been able to assist in helping pastors and leaders on several islands. It was such a joy to hear of continuing fruit for training investments that were made many years ago… We give the Lord all the glory and praise!
He also shared an interesting and encouraging testimony about some fruitfulness he experienced in past years. Out in the islands, he made a special effort to walk a long way, and maintain a Bible study for a few years. He hadn’t been aware of the impact that had made for many years. There was a lady who attended the Bible study who didn’t seem very interested at the time, and who actually seemed quite distracting, at times. A number of years later, he was so surprised to find that she not only had continued to serve the Lord, but became a pastor of a thriving church and helped to raise up many other pastors, workers, and leaders in the work of the Lord. Glory to God!
God is able to do amazing things with the seeds of His Word that are planted. Let’s continue to faithfully plant the seed, and the Lord is well able to bring forth fruitfulness in amazing ways, for His glory!