We had planned to stay three weeks in Germany, but difficulties cropped up that kept causing us to postpone our departure. The car had problems and it took longer to fix than expected. And getting some official paper work done was interrupted by German holidays.
As usual, however, the Lord was at work orchestrating things for us. The delays gave us time to visit Barbara’s Bible school where we talked with a possible recruit. We also visited the head of an organization which received monetary gifts for us, and the amount they had for us was just enough to cover the repairs on the car.
We almost lost Nat during this time. He, his brother and I went for a stroll on the sidewalk running along the main highway bordering Barbara’s village.
Nat was on his tricycle and was getting too far ahead of us, so I called for him to stop. Instead he went faster and fell on the sidewalk. I gasped to see him rolling right into the path of an oncoming car–but just before going under the tires, he stopped and rolled back.
It was like he hit something and was deflected onto the sidewalk. I suspect his guardian angel was responsible for saving his life there. We did have some words about obedience following that incident!
After four weeks we headed back, stopping at the Word of Life castle for a good night’s sleep before the grueling thirty-six hour push on the next stage of the trip.
The next morning was sunny and clear as we packed the car. We had the back seat down with a sleeping bag spread out so the boys had a nice place to play as we traveled. We drove down through Austria into Yugoslavia, working our way through heavy traffic the whole day.
In the late afternoon dark clouds filled the sky and we drove into a heavy thunderstorm. I stopped under a bridge to take the suitcases off the roof and put them into the back of the car out of the rain. Just at that moment there was a spectacular flash of lightning, striking a barn in the field next to us, setting it on fire. I felt bad for the farmer, but couldn’t do anything about it, so we went on.
We planned to drive through the night again, with Barbara and the boys sleeping in the back of the car. The positive side of this was that there would be a lot less truck traffic, but the down side was negotiating the twisting and turning road through the mountains, which had no lighting, no painted lines and no guard rails.
I didn’t actually pray for it, but the thought came to me that having someone to follow would be wonderful. At dusk as traffic slacked off, there was a car sitting beside the road. As we approached, its lights came on and it pulled out onto the road. The whole rest of the night that car went before us, showing us the way.
The driver seemed familiar with the road, knowing where to slow down, where we could drive fast. He led us through all the twists and turns in the mountains and as the sky began to get light in the east, he brought us down to a small town on the plains just north of the Greek border. There our angel turned off the main road, leaving us on our own. This was God’s love in action, a marvelous Jesus sighting.
We made it to the last city before the border that evening and after a good night’s sleep, approached the border with some trepidation. Would our name be on the black list? Would we be refused entry? Would it make a difference that we’d not exited through here? We had prayed a lot and now would get to see God’s answer.
The border guard took our papers, wrote the car into my passport and waved us on. No questions, no hesitation, no problem! We enthusiastically praised God for His protection and provision.
We drove the last twelve hours to our city praising God all the way, and upon our arrival, found that we weren’t the only ones happy with our successful return.
Never had we had such a warm welcome as we got from our little team of four, plus our German friend and the three children. As our teammates were all newcomers they were glad to see someone return who was a little further down the road in experience.
This challenge of our being expelled, and the possibility the team had faced of losing all of its older members, worked together to give us a better appreciation of one another. Crisis can be a bonding experience when we all respond properly.
Picture: Nat on his tricycle in Germany