After returning from Germany in early 1980, we prayed that my work visa and residence permit would be granted before the two months were up, but as time got closer, it was clear that I would have to make an exit trip to renew my visa.
Another worker also needed to go, so we decided to drive to Greece together. On one flat, straight stretch I came up behind a big truck traveling about 50 miles an hour. I peeked out from behind and saw that there was a car coming, but it was a long long ways away, leaving me plenty of time to pass. I pulled out and stepped on the gas and slowly gained speed; that small Volkswagen motor was faithful, but not all that powerful.
As I got half way past the truck, I saw that the oncoming car was going much faster than the speed limit of 65 mph, and I began to suspect that I wasn’t going to make it past the truck in time. So I slammed on the brakes, hoping to get back behind the truck, but the weight of the engine in the rear of my car slung the backend around so we were skidding sideways down the road.
Instinctively I made the proper correction with the wheel, but nothing happened. The oncoming Mercedes was almost upon us and didn’t seem to slowing down one bit. Then at the last second, my car responded to my corrections and swung back around, slamming us up against the truck, while the Mercedes slipped by on the shoulder and disappeared in the distance.
The truck driver didn’t slow down either, didn’t even seem to notice what had happened. After taking a second to recover, I also decided to keep going.
In the next town we stopped to inspect the damage. The passenger door had a big dent in it with black marks from the truck tire; however, the door still worked. The back passenger side window was smashed, but since it was one that didn’t open, it wouldn’t be too difficult to fix. We asked around, found a window repair shop, and had the glass replaced.
Counting our spinning on ice into the gas station on our way to Tarsus, this incident was the second of eleven accidents I had in our new country. Only in this one did I have any fault. The rest were caused mostly by other people running into me.
Driving in this country was certainly dangerous. So was parking, as I found one day when I parked in front of John’s house, which was across the street from a reasonably steep side street. As I was walking toward the house, a car came over the top of the hill and down to the stop sign, but instead of stopping, it slid right across the street and rammed into my car!
The driver hopped out, angry at me. “This accident is your fault! If you hadn’t parked there I wouldn’t have hit you!” he yelled. This, we found, was the common logic here and according to that, he was right. If I hadn’t parked there, he wouldn’t have hit me, but he also would have driven off the four-foot high wall and landed into John’s yard!
In one of the more interesting of my accidents, I was waiting to turn left at a stop light when a police car came zooming across the intersection and hit me head on! The driver was a mechanic who was testing the car and the policeman was riding along with him. The mechanic ended up fixing the car for us at his expense, although it took him two months to do it.
All in all, we frequently experienced the Lord’s protection in travel, without having any serious accidents resulting in serious injuries. That means of whole string of God sightings as He protected us through many, many miles driven in the Middle East.