Bruce the Beast

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  • Reading time:5 mins read

Monday 23 January

“God, what on earth am I supposed to do?” I said, praying, feeling a heaviness hovering over me, like weights starting to be added to my shoulders.
We had a departure date set for the 10th of February. Pat and Adri from City on a Hill Church were ready to use their car, and a borrowed trailer, to haul our belongings across 4 countries; but it was 17 days away and we still didn’t have a vehicle of our own to take up. Time was rapidly running out.

Abandoned?

Friends from the USA had blessed us with R22,000 ($1,300) towards a vehicle. WeBuyCars had offered us R50,000 ($2,900) to purchase our 15 year-old Ford Fiesta. So we had, at least, R72,000 ($4,200) to go with, but that didn’t give us many good options in that price range, especially not when we were hoping for a double-cab bakkie (pick-up).

Staring at the computer screen, I scanned the vehicles on offer, and it was slim pickings. Some looked suitable but their reports were sketchy; others looked superb but their prices were too expensive. I started to feel a little abandoned by God, frustrated, and disappointed that He hadn’t come through for us yet. We had prayed for provision, for some way forward, but nothing had happened.

Provision

Sheree and I were willing to do whatever we needed to do. Should we extend the bond on the small townhouse we rented out? I investigated this option and was about to call our church elders, to ask for their advice, when minutes later, before doing so, a WhatsApp message came through to my phone.
“…Please let me know when you have 5 minutes for a quick chat?” the message said, sent from someone in one of our partnering Four12 churches.
“We can chat now,” I replied.

As we spoke over the phone, he said, “tell me, where are you at with buying a car?”
I explained our situation.
“We want to invest in your mission to Malawi,” he said, “we’ve been really blessed by God and we would like to bless you with R100,000 ($5,900) towards a car.”
“Wow, thank you, that’s incredible,” I said, shell-shocked, with tears welling up, feeling humbled and overwhelmed by the goodness of God and the generosity of my brother in Christ.

The search

Greatly encouraged by this miraculous provision and answer to prayer, I increased the price range in the search engine, scouring the internet for the vehicle we needed.
“In Malawi, you want to go for a Nissan,” Lance had said, explaining that parts and servicing would be more accessible there, “and if you can, get a hardbody bakkie (pick-up), because those are more durable and usable for our purposes.”

A few options presented themselves on the screen, but one seemed to stand out from the crowd, a monster machine, a beast, which grabbed our attention. The car was the exact make and model we wanted, a 2013 Nissan Hardbody with a 2.5 Turbo Diesel engine. It was also relatively low on mileage, the bodywork was in good shape, and it came with some handy extra’s like a front bull-bar, a tow bar, and added spotlights. All that was left to do was to get Pat, who worked as a mechanic previously, to check it out and give us his expert opinion.

Timing

“I think it’s a good buy,” Pat said, standing in the warehouse.
Turning to the sales agent, who looked like he stepped out of a Men in Black movie, I asked, “how long will the paperwork take?”
“This vehicle arrived recently,” he said, ”so it still has to be put into our dealer stock, which can take up to 20 days.”
The unexpected news hit as a death blow to our dream deal. That was too long to wait.
“What now?” Sheree asked.
We all looked ahead, deflated, wondering what the next move should be as we exited the building.

It was becoming clear to us, we weren’t going to make the 10th of February for our departure date. Speaking to Pat and Adri, they agreed, and the next, earliest available date for them was the 10th of March.
“If that’s the case,” I mused, “then that will give us enough time to get the Nissan beast’s papers in place, including the international car permits.”
Our partnering church elders felt the same, rather delay the trip a few weeks to get the right vehicle. So we jumped at it. After reserving the car on the website, we travelled the next day to secure the sale, and in the afternoon I climbed into the beast to bring him home.

Bruce

“I think we should name him Bruce,” Sheree said, “after the scary-looking shark in the movie, Finding Nemo – he appeared mean, but he had a soft heart.”
She was right, our Hardbody looked strong and fierce on the outside, like a brute, but was soft and safe on the inside. And so it came to be, the dubbing was done.

Now we look forward to many adventures with the new addition to our family, our solid steed, made to make a difference in the world, to serve the purposes of God. We trust he will be an amazing ally in making disciples – all for Jesus – and so the only thing left to say is, “welcome, Bruce-the-Beast.”

 

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