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Bruises And Blessings

By Albert Moore, former missionary to Congo with Worldwide Evangelization Crusades

    “He shall give His angels charge over thee” (Psa. 91:11).

    It was already getting late, really too late to set out on such a journey, but it was Saturday and if we did not get off it would mean waiting until Monday.  All was packed up for a month’s trek in the bush, and the Africans who were going with us had been ready since early morning with their bundles and baskets and babies.  Without any hindrance on the road, we could make it by dusk, so I decided to start.

    The students in the Bible school at Ibambi follow a course of eight weeks’ study and then have a month out in different districts evangelizing and witnessing in order that they may be fully experienced for their work.  The surrounding areas had been continually visited by these trekkers, and it was felt that others farther afield should now benefit, and students could be taken by truck to a more distant station.  Making this the starting point, we would scatter widely among the villages, and come in again at the end of the month.

    The more we considered this the more it was felt that the Lord would have us go, and yet there was also opposition; not so much outwardly but a consciousness that the enemy was withstanding this effort.  With much prayer one difficulty after another was faced and overcome, and then when plans were all made, an unexpected trip took the truck away down south to Lubutu, and it returned late only the night before we hoped to start.  The truck also had developed some trouble which had to be attended to.  There was no time for an overhaul, but a full morning was spent making it roadworthy.  This done, it still had to be loaded.

On Our Way

    We were going down to Bomili among the Babari tribe some ninety miles away where the missionaries were building a new station.  They needed a brick machine, so this heavy equipment had to be lashed on board.  There were also boxes of stores and some camp equipment.  In the remaining space, twenty-eight Congolese, students and their wives plus a few babies, had to find a place to sit or stand.  All their bundles and sleeping mats were tied to the side or poked in somewhere.  Fortunately, they easily accommodate themselves, not being used to much comfort, and can happily perch in precarious positions.  A large tarpaulin was fastened right over the truck as protection from the weather.  There was plenty of happy chatter as they all climbed in and the tailboard at the back was closed.  My wife and I with our little girl of twenty months climbed into the cab.  The journey started.

    Leaving the Ibambi area the road ran on through the gold mines.  This has always been considered a very second class road, being kept open only for contact with the mines.  Many of these had now ceased to function, so the road was in very bad repair. Holes and ruts made the driver alert to which part of the track to take.  The truck moved from side to side and the living load in the back swayed with it.  Rain began to fall, not heavy rain, but a drizzle that grew worse as we approached the mountain at Baberu. We looked forward to the distant views from the sides of this mountain, as in the forest we are unable to see beyond the clearing of the mission station.  There was disappointment as the misty rain closed in upon us.  Only a slow speed could take the mountain road safely and this jeopardized our chance of reaching our destination in daylight.  However, we were all in good spirits and were greatly looking forward to the month’s evangelism among the Babari tribe.  The Congolese were having a good sing in the back of the truck.

    Up and round we went, with the rocky mountainside almost perpendicular above us, and sheering off in places with deep drops a few feet from the track.  I hoped that we would not have to pass another vehicle!  From the passenger seat it was possible to look right into the drop below, so there was a continual prayer meeting going on next to me.  We reached the highest point and then slowly began the descent, twisting and turning, with the drop now on my side.  The road was very narrow in places and it was necessary to hug the mountainside, keeping to the rutted tracks of other vehicles.

    There was not very far to go when I took a bend in too wide a sweep.  The back wheel ran too near the edge of the road.  The truck lurched suddenly backwards.  I did all in my power to pull back on to the road but the passengers in the back fell in the direction that it slipped.  The soft earth gave way and the truck shuddered over the edge.  As the vehicle somersaulted, our heads hit the roof of the cab and our legs were in the air.  My arm was tightly round my little girl and instinctively I called on the Lord to help, not knowing how many times we might somersault before the crash.  Over went the truck again and then miraculously it stopped on its wheels about fifty feet below the road.  A tree stump had broken the fall and the truck had landed up to its axles in grass and mud not far from a stream.

Mungo Iko!

    As I recovered from the shock of the somersault the words came to me, “He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”  …I tried the door, but it was jammed.  Men jumped off the back and ran to us, as concerned for us as we were for them.  Eventually the cab door was opened and I got out to see if everyone was alive....  How could everyone survive with a brick machine, stores, camp equipment, and all those people hurtling head over heels?  “It’s all right, we are all safe, Mungo iko! (God is!).”  The only one badly cut was the man who had jumped out!  Beyond bruises, scratches and shock, the rest of us were fit.  The tarpaulin over the roof had kept our friends from falling out.

    It had all happened so quickly, and now we were in real trouble.  The night was closing in and the truck was down the mountainside.  How could it be pulled up on to the road again?  Suppose it were damaged?  …Most of the folk scrambled up on to the road while I went to see if I could find help.  Farther along the road I found a mining center with one or two Belgians in charge. When they heard of our plight they came out in a small car to see what could be done.  As they looked over the drop to where my wife was sitting in the cab of the truck, they were amazed and said that it could only be God who had saved us from being killed. And when they saw the cargo and the people that we had on board they felt it impossible to believe that none had been badly hurt. It was a miracle.

    These men were kindness itself.  They took us to their camp, gave us an office for a room and arranged transport to take us on to Bomili.  A truck was leaving shortly and it would take the whole of our party.  They promised to send to their head center and get block and tackle to haul our truck up on to the road.  As it would take a day or two to get the tackle, they suggested that we all go on to our destination in the mines’ car and that I should return later to fetch ours.  The men were as good as their word.  They winched the truck back on to the road – a remarkable feat, and would not charge us a penny for their work.  It was soon running again, though the body was damaged.

    The month among the Babaris was a great success.  Students, recovering from their bruises and scratches, added the story of our deliverance to their testimony in the villages and came back rejoicing telling of souls saved in many places.

    – Adapted from Then God Stepped InTestimonies of the Lord’s Deliverances by Worldwide Evangelization Crusaders, edited by Leonard C. J. Moules.  Copyright ©1963 by Christian Literature Crusade. Used by permission.