Leaving the city where the transmission had been replaced, we drove up over the mountains again and down to the village where the car was first looked at.
The main road had a number of little grocery stores scattered along it. Since it was about lunchtime, we stopped and I went into one of the shops to buy some bread and cheese. And who was sitting there, but Adam, the bus driver!
“What a surprise to see you!” he said. “I am only home one day in a month and that is the day you stop here!”
“And I could have gone into any of the other little store and not seen you!” I replied.
Adam insisted that we come with him to his house. He took us up to the second story where he introduced us to his wife and several children. As it was Ramadan he was not eating, but offered us tea. We declined out of respect for him and he was pleased.
He took me out on the balcony to show me his garden. There was a woman hanging out laundry on the balcony below.
“That’s my first wife,” said Adam. We knew that some men had more than one wife, but Adam was the first one we’d ever actually met.
“My brother married her first,” he explained, “but was killed in a car crash soon after. So it was my responsibility to marry his wife and have children in his name. I was 15, she was 19. We had three children. The first, a boy, we named after my brother.”
“I see,” I replied. “So this was an arranged marriage. And how did you come to marry your second wife?”
“I had a little shop where I sold and repaired watches and clocks,” he said, “When my eyes got bad from all the close work, I started doing long distance truck driving. On one trip to the South I met my second wife and fell in love with her. When I came home I talked with my first wife about it.”
“How did you do that?” I asked.
“Well, I asked her if she loved me. She said, ‘Yes.’ So I said to her, ‘Then give me permission to marry a second wife.’”
“ ‘No, I won’t,’ she replied.”
“ ‘OK,’ I said, ‘then I will have to divorce you because you don’t love me.’ ”
“After that she gave her permission for me to marry the second time. I had given her the children she wanted, now I have the wife I wanted.”
“Hmmm,” I said. And to myself thought, “A very different perspective!”
That began a four-year friendship with Adam. On his frequent bus trips through Ankara he would often stop in for a visit. He always brought us a nice gift—a whole honeycomb or a polished brass glass-enclosed candle holder or a large box of candy—and as he presented each to us, he always described it as “a worthless gift.” That in itself was a gift, giving us insight into the culture of the East, how the emphasis was on the relationship, not the gift.
Later we also made the long drive to visit Adam in his home, spending a delightful weekend with his second family.
During those years there were many chances to share the gospel with him and his family. He took a Bible and read in it, along with other literature.
We saw this as part of the reason the Lord allowed our mishap with the car and the difficulty in getting it fixed: it meant meeting Adam and opened up the opportunity for him to hear the gospel. We never know what the Lord is orchestrating through the difficulties He brings into our lives, but can always know it is for good.
At one point we didn’t hear from him for a while, so we called Adam’s home and were shocked to learn that he was dead. He had been using his tractor to help a neighbor by pulling his wagon down the main road when a bus struck him from behind. After a short time in the hospital, he had died.
We were thankful that the Lord had had mercy on him, giving him opportunity to find eternal life. We hope he took it, perhaps in those last hours of life while he was in a coma; we hope that we will see him in heaven.
We left Adam that afternoon a lot later than we had planned, and it wasn’t long before it was dark. I wanted to press on as long as we could, but the Lord had other plans.
Along a lonely stretch of road, my headlights picked up two large sheep dogs, their tails curled over their backs, iron spiked collars on their necks to protect them from wolves. I slowed down, as you can never tell what animals may do. They were off on the left hand side of the road, but just as I got to them, one crossed over in front of us and I was unable to avoid him.
After the car struck him, he rolled off to the side of the road.
I felt bad about hitting him and wondered if he would survive, but wasn’t about to stop and get out in the dark with a large wounded animal. Those dogs can be very fierce.
Besides, I had something else to contend with. The impact had rearranged the front of the car and my headlights were now refocused: one shone off up in the air to the right, the other down and off the road to the left. We were not going to get very far that night!
I drove slowly to the next town, praising God that nothing worse had happened. We found a hotel and got some rest. The next day we made it back to Ankara before darkness came.
Picture: Adam and me on a picnic before he died.