During our 23 months here in Congo, we have often talked about keeping our journals so that we can remember things - especially daily experiences and miracles. I am not good at writing in my journal, although I have written sometimes. I then started writing daily miracles, but haven't been dedicated to that, either, although I hope I never forget the daily tender mercies of Heavenly Father. Keith has been much better at writing - he gets up earlier than I do (that isn't news for anyone) to let the night guardian go home, and then he writes in his journal. I plan on posting the weekly letters we send home, but also haven't done that yet - plan to before we close our blog. Today I wanted to record an experience we had on our way from one of the branche meetings to visit a sister who hasn't been to church for a few weeks. We had two sisters from the branche in the back seat of the truck and two missionaries in the very back, covered bed of the truck. As we drove through an intersection where there are often policemen (and we have had some previous experiences with being waved over there), Keith and I both thought the light was blinking yellow - which happens frequently and the cars in front of us all went through. But, we were waved over by a policewoman who proceeded to tell us that we had made 3 infractions. We understand when they ask for our documentation, so we gave her that and told her we didn't speak French and weren't 'comprehending' what she was saying (true, other than getting the fact that she said we had done 3 things wrong and we didn't know what they were). She, of course, got frustrated that we couldn't speak French and we weren't understanding her threats to write a ticket. She asked the 2 Congolese women if they could translate and they said no. She walked to the back of the truck and opened the window and saw the 2 missionaries, who just said 'hi' and then she said we had lied to her because we hadn't told her we had passengers in the back. The gist of her conversation was something like, we had 6 people in our truck, including the very back, and we were only supposed to have 5; we had run a red light; and we never could figure out the 3rd thing. She called over another policewoman and they decided to write us a ticket (all the while, of course, we knew if we gave her money, she wouldn't write the ticket). So, we figured we would get a ticket and have to go to town tomorrow to pay it and get our paperwork back. Just then, one of the branche members, who is fortunate to have a truck (he has a good job and he also speaks some English), drove by on his way home from church. He and another member, who drives a taxi, got out and came over and talked to the policewomen. They were very courteous and we don't know what they said, but they convinced the women to not write us a ticket! Interestingly, in his truck he had at least 8-10 people in the cab-normal for Congolese-and two riding in the open back of the truck, hanging precariously off the sides. It was pretty obvious that the law was different for us than for them, so maybe that is why they let us go - we don't know for sure. Blessings while we drive are a daily occurrence.
Driving is the most frightening thing we do here. Driving at night is the worst. Driving on horrible roads is awful. Driving in the rainy season is almost impossible except on the very best roads, which are few and far between. We often come to crazy, jammed up intersections and suddenly there is an opening just enough for us to make our way through. Keith is an amazing driver but we both come home and shake for a while on the worst days. We always have a special prayer asking for safety before we drive anywhere. We had a new fender installed last Monday and by Thursday, someone had rear-ended us. We are blessed that usually people don't drive fast here - so fender benders are common but not usually serious. I hope I never forget to be thankful for daily miracles. I am sure sometimes I don't even recognize them. I know we have the Lord's help to do our work here and I am so very grateful for that.