Monday, January 06, 2014

On the road... AGAIN?!

In 3 months of marriage Josh and I have put about 5,000 miles on our car!  Our first trip was to Gainesville, FL to attend a missions conference at one of Josh’s sending churches.  I remember thinking, “Yes! A road trip!”  The 7.5 hour drive to Jacksonville for the first leg was a breeze!  The roads were SO smooth, traffic was SO organized and we there were SO many choices for lunch stops and clean bathrooms along the way… Yay America!

When we got into the car to make our SECOND trip to Philapelphia, I was less than thrilled.  We were however armed with snacks, sandwiches, and The Fellowship of the Ring audio book.  Had we been the seasoned road warriors we thought we were, we would have also checked the weather report before we left.  While the miles ahead of us did not excite, I was looking forward to the week at World Harvest.  After interviews we hoped to be reappointed to return to Uganda as a couple.

The trip was smooth until we hit Richmond VA.  The snow was coming down, but the salt was doing it’s thing and we pressed on.  Snow was falling heavily as we neared DC.  Apparently this had been going on for quite some time, evidenced by abandoned cars facing strange directions on the shoulder and in ditches.   At this point we were considering alternate options and came pretty close to calling my sister Rachel to see if we could ride out the storm at her place in DC.  But with our optimism and Josh’s steady, determined driving we decided to continue.

As we entered Maryland, snowy precipitation continued to fall.  The windshield wipers starting to complain about being made to work under the extra weight of accumulating ice.  We rejoiced as we entered the tunnel taking us under Baltimore’s harbor.  Somehow being under all that water was not as alarming as the roads covered with the slippery winter mix.  I always cringe at the high toll prices going through Maryland.  On this day of travel we got our monies worth!  You couldn’t drive 10 miles without passing a snow plow faithfully driving the snow off the roads and scattering salt.  Josh and I marveled at the fact that we could actually continue in this frosty mess, comfortably in our little heated box.  In Uganda people stay home if it rains; it’s just silly to move about.  Perhaps lack of technology has made them wiser… 

We started to make better time, maybe even 40 miles an hour, then the fateful sign “Traffic accident ahead, all traffic lanes blocked”  we slowed to a stop and waited… and waited.  People started to get out of their cars for smoke brakes and chatted with other travelers, pretty much a parking lot.  By this time Josh and I both needed a pit stop and had eaten through most of our snacks.  Hunger pangs were setting in.  Fortunately Maryland toll money seemed to be work its magic, the accident was cleared and road opened again.  The closest service center was closed for remodeling, next stop 20 miles!  Wendys and a busy rest stop were a welcome sight.  I stepped out in my little flats.  Immediately snow went over the side and started melting on my bare feet. (Oh how I wanted to be back at the equator!)  

Recharged by food and encouraged Maryland’s snow removal we decided to try to make it all the way to Philly.  Things continued to go well until we hit the PA border.  There was an immediate change in road conditions.  The roads were heavily covered with snow.  The only “help” was large signs over the road saying, “Warning, dangerous conditions, drive with care.”  One would think this was obvious, yet some lunatics disregarded the signs and pretended that it was like any other night.  I am sure that Josh’s hands were starting to cramp as he gripped the steering wheel a little tighter.  We were so close at this point.  We signed with relief as we drove up to our host’s house and saw the warm glow of her lighted windows.  What a start to the week! 

Our car resting after the journey
While we will most likely never encounter a snow storm in Uganda, this trip seemed to be another preparation for life as missionaries.  You never know what each day will bring.  We were reminded that we are constantly living at the mercy of our Creator.  Life isn’t safe, but our faithful Friend is constantly beside us.  I am happy to announce that our trip was not in vain.  We WERE reappointed to return to Bundibugyo with World Harvest!  This news was all the more sweet as we considered the journey to get to this point.  We are thankful for another chance to trust Him and thankful for the safety He provided with every snow plow and in the absence of them. 

snowy Philadelphia

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