Well, it finally happened. We’ve got a vehicle! After being here for almost 3 months we purchased a vehicle. I will give you the short story (my wife will follow with more details). A missionary from Santarém went back to the US. He had a vehicle to sell and after prayer and discussion, we decided to purchase it and drive it from Santarém to here (Campinas) for a couple of reasons. 1- he gave us a great deal, 2- its actually one of the few vehicles that we can fit our whole family into—legally, 3- the documents to purchase a vehicle here and then to transfer the documents from this state (Sao Paulo) to where we end up (Pará) is a nightmare and would probably have involved a trip back down here after we moved to Santarém. There are 2 other missionary families here without a vehicle so we will be able to bless them by taking them places also.
So….after much persuasion from my wife (NOT….I really wanted to do this trip), Luke and flew up to Santarém on a Saturday, arrived late afternoon and took off Sunday morning (6am) with Scott Blunier to drive back “home”. We made a few detours along the way, but bottom line we drove almost 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) in 6 days. However, you need to understand that in Brazil to go 2,500 miles you don’t find the nearest interstate, set the cruise on 75MPH and arrive shortly with plenty of gas stations, bathrooms, etc along the way (at one point during the trip, Luke hadn’t seen a toilet seat for 2 days… when we finally found one, he sat down and almost slid off… the seat was there, just not attached!). We were able to visit (and stay overnight) with 2 different missionary families– was a blessing to visit with them about their experiences. Rick (www.xingu.org) has been here for 20+ years and raised 4 daughters here in Brazil so I was all ears on any advice he was willing to share.
Day 4 was a stop at Carroll farms. This farm is owned by a farmer from Illinois that I worked with in the past and had invited me to visit sometime when I was “in the area”. That was the enticement to get Luke excited for spending 60+ hours in the car– he was going to be able to see a REALLY BIG planter and lots of combines (the farm was 29,000 acres).
Day 5 was a stop at Asas de Socorro which is the Brazilian branch of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). Lord willing, I will eventually be flying some of their planes. (MAF is where I did my safety training in the US). I was able to visit with fellow pilots and determine the initial steps of transferring my US pilot and mechanic’s license to Brazil.
Above: Car before
Above: After a few hours on the road.
Waited here for 4 hours while they pulled out 2 semis, a bus, and a police truck (Luke is in the front walking towards the camera).
3/31: Scott found out that right after we went on this road, it rained so much that only 4-wheel drive vehicles could make it. Also the rain washed a bridge out and for days cars had to turn around— We had spent much time in prayer trying to figure out the best time to make this trip…balancing between getting the paperwork done, taking a week off of language school, and yet getting it soon enough that we could enjoy this vehicle while we are here. Sounds like we just made it but ain’t that how He works!
Luke thought this was better than a movie!
Above: Our car on one of two barges we used to cross rivers.
Semis, buses, everything goes on these boats.
One of our lunch stops– no McDonalds
Above: We got a room with 2 beds and a room for Scott with 1 bed– breakfast included for all of us….
Total bill: $30. For that price, I don’t need to explain that our wives would not have stayed here.
Carroll Farm’s office
Bathroom break in the middle of corn fields.
Highlight of the trip for Luke
Who needs an expensive jack when you’ve got plenty of logs?
Asas office: Anapolis, Brazil
Growing up on a dairy farm, I was fascinated by Brazilians chopping silage.
We drove past hundreds of miles of sugar cane.
Last day of the trip and Luke is still smiling.
Here is our trip. A= Start, Santarem. F= Campinas— home!
and we were able to take Scott to the largest mall in South America.