A word from Curt
It’s one of my favorite African verbs. “I’m footing it.”
It means you’re walking, usually out of necessity. It’s the mode of travel for most Africans.
The following story shares how generous giving allows us to get our vehicles to the difficult places from which we can then foot it into villages, camps, and huts.
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The road less traveled is never crowded and there’s a good reason.
When the rainy season comes to Uganda and South Sudan, getting to the unreached is much more difficult. That’s why having a good off-road vehicle is essential.
Our organization, The International Mission Board , keeps us outfitted.
Vehicles, like our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser, are supplied through the generosity of the Lottie Moon Missions Offering.
Nowhere are good vehicles for bad roads more needed than in South Sudan. We encourage you to give until it helps.
And remember LMCO giving isn’t limited to the Christmas season. It is open all year as it meets our needs in vehicles, housing, supplies, and projects.
Our vehicle, MaMa Pearl, “loaded for bear” at the Nile River ferry.
Our 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser is going strong at over a quarter million kilometers. Gifts to the Lottie Moon Offering allow folks like us to be outfitted for the difficult places.
We believe you’ll enjoy the following story about a different type of machine for a wonderful couple serving with a sister organization:
Chances are I’m one of the few people who knows where both Nimule and Choupique are.
Bubba Hoezler does.
He’s from Choupique, Louisiana.
And he has a new Polaris Ranger waiting for him in Nimule, South Sudan.
I know it’s there. I saw it.
I first met Bubba and his wife, Cathy, in the Nairobi (Kenya) Airport five years ago. I was one of three Louisiana men enduring a seven-hour layover.
As we visited, Bubba came over. “Y’all sound like you’re from the South.”
“So do you.”
He smiled. “Where are you from?”
“Well, so am I.”
“Near Lake Charles.”
“What about you?”
Bubba said, “Do you know where Sulphur is?”
“I bet you’ve never heard of Choupique?”
I surprised him. “I know exactly where it’s at. I preached at Choupique Baptist a few months ago.”
He slapped my shoulder. “My Daddy leads the singing there.”
That was my introduction to Bubba and Cathy Hoezler. We enjoyed their company all the way to Houston Airport. They were returning home from five years in Sudan.
I remember Bubba’s comment as he bought an airport coffee. “I can’t remember the last time I handled paper money. Last week, I traded a bucket of nails for a jerry can of diesel.”
Strangely, I’ve not seen them since. But I keep up with them through the Internet and mutual friends.
They work for a wonderful sister organization. Cathy is a Physician’s Assistant and operates a clinic in one of the large refugee camps on the Sudan/South Sudan border.
Bubba is an oil field hand who can work on anything. That comes in pretty handy in Africa.
Through the Internet, I’ve followed the difficulty Bubba and Cathy were having getting a new vehicle into South Sudan.
Not just any vehicle.
A new Polaris Ranger.
You may not be cultured enough to know about the class of vehicle known as “Off Road 4WD.”
There’s the John Deere Gator, The Kawasaki Mule,
And the Polaris. It’s a woods-running/deer-hunting/off-road rig. It’s made for getting in and out of tough places. You may not believe it but I know men that would trade their mother-in-law for one of those rigs.
The Polaris Ranger at Far Reach Ministries in Nimule, South Sudan
Back home, we use them for mudding. Yep, mudding’s a verb as in “Me and the Old Lady are goin’ mudding on Sunday after church.”
I’ve seen bad logging roads and trails during the wet Louisiana winter but nothing like the mud of South Sudan.
The big difference here is that you’re often driving on the main road in off- road conditions. The photo below is mute testimony of this.
“Main Road” connecting Uganda and South Sudan during rainy season
With South Sudan’s rainy season approaching, and knowing the narrow trails winding throughout refugee camps, I could just imagine their Polaris allowing Bubba and Cathy getting to inaccessible locations for their Jesus-work.
The problem was that Bubba and Cathy couldn’t get their Polaris out of a really tough place: South Sudan customs at the Nimule border.
Vehicle importation is a headache in this part of Africa. Customs fees, import taxes, and open palms can jack the price up to nearly double the original price.
Customs at Nimule was demanding six thousand dollars to import the Polaris.
It sat for weeks at the border. I sent an email urging Bubba to link up with one of my friends with Far Reach Ministries. FRM trains chaplains for the South Sudanese Army or SPLA.
It’s a great ministry operated by Americans Wes and Vicky Bentley since 1999.
Mid-December brought war to South Sudan and the mass displacement of hundreds of thousands, including Bubba and Cathy. They were forced to leave their refugee camp due to the instability. They landed in Nairobi and, like all of us, waited for the smoke to clear.
Recently, our team was in Nimule. As usual, we stayed at the Far Reach Ministries Guesthouse.
I saw it in the parking lot.
A new black Polaris.
I’ll admit to breaking the Ten Commandments. I coveted it.
As my friend Gary used to say, “I wished it belonged to me and the owners had another one just like it.”
Seriously, I knew who the owners were: Bubba and Cathy. It was waiting to make its trip up north to Dori Refugee Camp.
I was reminded of God’s timing. If the Polaris had made the journey when planned, it probably would’ve been stolen in the chaos of the new year. Things not guarded have a habit of walking off here.
Bubba and Cathy are back near Dori Camp in unstable Upper Nile. That Polaris made its journey from Choupique to Sulphur to Mombasa to Nairobi to Kampala and Nimule.
And finally to Dori Camp. Ready for optimum use in Upper Nile, South Sudan.
I hope it’s not a sin to pray for a vehicle. I’m not talking about praying to have a Polaris. I’m referring to praying for a vehicle as in,
“Lord, take this Polaris and use it in Upper Nile State.
Use it for your glory,
As Cathy practices her healing ministry.
Bless Bubba as he works on water wells and faulty carburetors.
Thanks for the folks back home who sacrificed to provide this 4WD.
Keep the Polaris safe.
Keep our friends healthy and protected.
Bring your peace to all of South Sudan.
May this rig be a vehicle of your love.
May it carry the Gospel to the white fertile fields of the Camps.
In Jesus’ name.
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