I started driving here on Sunday. It’s not so much worse than Downtown LA- lots of cars, lots of pedestrians and crazy driving. The roads here, if you can even call them that, are really bad so by necessity everyone drives slow.
Yesterday I drove up the mountain for the first time. It’s about a 45 minute drive and it’s where Joel’s office is. On our way down the mountain my brakes went kind of soft and I hit someone. It was a pickup truck and it didn’t damage his car and no one was hurt. The Pastor, whom I was with, thought maybe he didn’t stop fast because he saw that a white person was driving.
I was feeling discouraged even before that happened and then I just felt awful. Walking around in a country feeling like a walking dollar sign is rough. People always tell us they’re hungry, they need clothes, they need Bibles. It’s so hard to say no, and it’s also so hard being objectified as a handout.
When we got to the camp I dropped Pastor off at Sean Penn’s tent and drive the quarter mile down to the church tent alone. I thought for a second, “Hmm, I probably shouldn’t be alone…” but there are a couple of security checkpoints, UN soldiers and people that know me on that short drive. I got to the church, honked at everyone to come out and started down the hill to where the road is wide enough to turn the car around.
The hill is fairly steep and there are always people everywhere on the camp roads. I hit the brake and nothing happened. Panic. I hit the brakes and nothing happened. I started screaming, “Help me! Help me!!” But I don’t know how to say it in French or Creole. I saw faces going by and I hit a lady’s bucket of water. I pulled the emergency brake, all the while screaming and the back end started turning into some ladies. I kept screaming and finally yelled at Jesus to stop the car and finally it stopped. It all happened in a few seconds, but it felt like forever. It was horrible. Terrifying.
When the car came to a stop some people ran over with rocks and put them under the tires. A group formed around the car and I tried to get them to go up the hill and get the “blan” for me, but then one of our translators came down. Praise the Lord for him- he held my hand and told me no one was hurt. I was ok.
Everything ended up being ok. I was super shaken up- it took several minutes for me to regain my composure. In the meantime I learned how to understand “The white person is crying” in Creole. I heard it about a million times.
So now I have to recognize that if my brakes had to go out in the camp there couldn’t have been a better place. The road is wide there and I didn’t hit anyone or any tents. It could have been a million times worse but God has His hands on me.
Things to Pray for:
- That we can find a safe, reliable vehicle to drive.
- Please pray for me. This is a lot harder than I thought it would be and I am daily fighting off discouragement… and not always winning. My birthday is next week and I am dreading it. I miss my friends and family!
- We are starting a new converts class next week. Pray that goes well and that we would continue to make progress on our small groups.
- For team unity, grace, peace and love.