The Strange Mechanic



     Not long ago, Pastor Herbert and his wife made their fourth trip to Angola, Africa. This time Brother Marcial, who came from Angola, and his eight-year-old daughter, Pricilla, went with them. The people in Angola do not speak English. Instead they speak Portuguese, and so Brother Marcial had the important task of translating all of the sermons, leaders meetings, health presentations, counseling sessions, and discussions between the Herberts and the local people.  

     Angola is a very long way from where they all live in Georgia in the United States. It takes more than a whole day of flying on several different planes and waiting in between flights at different airports before reaching the final destination. Also, Angola is south of the equator, which means that for them it is winter in June and July. This story took place in August; so it was early spring in Angola.

     For one of the weekends that they were in Angola, all four of them were scheduled to go to the south-central part of the country. This time they were to go by vehicle, which they were happy to do since they could see some of the countryside. They were to travel in two vehicles, each with a driver and an assistant. They were told that the drive would take between five and seven hours; well, it ended up taking twelve hours! 

     Right after a breakfast of warm soymilk, whole wheat bread, and bananas, they started out. It took a while to drive over the bumpy, dusty community roads to get to the main paved highway, and then it took a while longer to get out of the city. But finally they were driving through the countryside, looking at the scenery and the amazing fat baobab trees.

      The part of the country they were going to is on a high plateau, and as the road ascended in elevation, they had to stop several times as one of the cars they were traveling in kept overheating. However, they did not mind too much because it gave them a chance to get out and stretch their legs and look around and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. One of the stops was at a busy market where oranges, date palm nuts, pineapples, fruit from the baobab, cassava, tomatoes, bananas, coconut, peanuts, and other produce were being sold. Late in the afternoon they stopped in a town for lunch, and then continued on.

     About 15 minutes out of the town, one of the cars started to make noise. The driver stopped and soon discovered it was the CV (constant velocity) joint of the front wheel. Without this part working, that car could not make it to their destination. It was decided that the other car that was traveling with them should return to the town to see if they could find the needed part. It was already late in the afternoon and would be dark in a couple of hours and the vehicles travel very fast on this part of the road. But they were confident that the Lord would work something out.

    Brother Marcial was in the car that returned to the town, and Pastor Herbert, his wife, and Pricilla, along with the driver and his assistant, waited with the broken down car. They waited perhaps half an hour along side the road, and Pricilla was enjoying herself gathering flowers and interesting looking seeds that were growing just off the road and showing them to the pastor and his wife. Then, after showing the fruits of her last venture, as they were standing behind the sick car, which was just barely pulled off to the side of the road, Pricilla just put out her hand to a passing car. The driver apparently thought that she was waving him down and he pulled over. The pastor’s wife asked Pricilla why she waved down the car, because the other car had already been sent back to the town for the part. She said she did not know why she did it.

     The driver went to the car that pulled over, and he discovered that the driver was a mechanic! The mechanic got out of his car and looked at the problem, and he said that he had the needed part. He also said that the other car would not be successful in finding the part, and even if they did it would have to be “unlocked.” But he had the needed part in his car, already unlocked, and it was for the type of vehicle that was disabled. Can you believe it? Not only was this individual someone who knows how to fix cars, but also he had the exact part needed to fix the problem! When the pastor looked in the back of the mechanic’s car, there was almost nothing in his car: he just had a spare tire, two plastic bags of parts and pieces, and another bag of something that did not look like it had anything to do with fixing cars! He apparently did not have any other spare parts for cars, except the part they needed. The mechanic proceeded to work on the problem and after a couple of tries the replacement part was installed and the wheel put back on. Afterwards the mechanic said that this part of the road is very dangerous at night because a thick fog comes in and it is very hard for other drivers to see stopped cars. Also, he was not even really from Angola, but from the Congo.  

     By that time the sun had just set, and it was starting to get dark. Everyone got back into the cars to continue toward their destination. The mechanic followed them for about half an hour until he was convinced that the car would make it the remaining four hours to the town to which they were going. The next day the driver took the car into a repair shop, and the whole axle had to be replaced.  

     We certainly are thankful to the Lord for His care and providence. He worked through a little girl who did not know why she put out her hand, but it was not just to any car, but a car with a mechanic; and the only part the mechanic appeared to have with him was the exact part needed, and he wasn’t even from the country where this story happened. The pastor, his wife, Brother Marcial, and Pricilla did not know what a dangerous situation they were in, but the Lord had already provided the help. The Bible tells us, “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24.

Diane Herbert