8.07.2010

Are You Guys For Real? Like, For Real?


As we have mentioned, we have a trip coming up that we are planning for that involves Jason and I shipping a four-wheel-drive vehicle to Mombasa, Kenya. At that point we'll pick it up and drive it across Kenya, up through Uganda and to Cueibet County in Sudan (see the map above).

We knew we'd be going back to Cueibet as the country's referendum is up on January 9th (supposedly) and we want to be there to see the South vote for their independence. Only recently did we discover that our mission was to provide our Dinka friends with some much-needed transportation.

We are used to having HUGE plans that require money and seeing them come to fruition. However, as we have also noted, we are also used to keeping these efforts within our small circle; i.e., our small house church and outside group of friends who share our heart for these people. Not that we're secretive about it- it's just that we haven't felt lead to broadcast what's going on in this way until now.

When Jason and I took a few hours today to hit the streets and visit some car dealerships to begin our search for the perfect vehicle for our trip, we got a reminder of just how crazy it all sounds. Here's a basic summary:

The car salesman eyes us as we get out of Jason's truck and we approach him. "Hi guys, how are you?"

Handshake.

"Just fine- my name's Jason Sheafer."

Car salesman turns to me. Handshake.

"Randy Carrier- nice to meet you."

Jason begins. "I'm going to lay this all out for you. We're involved with a charity group, Hope Sudan, that has been involved with a group of people in Southern Sudan for a few years. We are looking for a vehicle that we can ship to Mombasa, Kenya, and drive through Kenya, Uganda and up into South Sudan to leave with the people there."

Car salesman gets a little wide-eyed and sizes us up a bit. "Wow. Well, what do you have in mind?"

"Well, that's a bit tricky. First of all, we need something that is within 8 years old, is EXTREMELY reliable as I have a wife and two kids and WILL be coming back home, is four-wheel-drive, and under 10,000 dollars as the more money we have to spend on the car, the less we can leave with the people."

Car salesman looks at us like were psychos. We kind of are. Some of them chuckled, some looked a bit dumbfounded. One or two just plain said we weren't going to find that. Most were friendly, some were not.

After talking to a few, we walked right into one of the dealerships and the guy tells us he knows exactly what we need. At the other location, there is a burgundy Land Rover that he knows has a recently worked-on engine that is "bulletproof," and invites us to go check it out.

Two hours later we are sitting in a nice, swanky, air-conditioned dealership in Merriam. Jason is plainly telling the saleslady that we intend on getting bottom dollar for this vehicle as we have to have it lifted, suspension and tires beefed up and steel plates welded underneath to protect the motor. He also mentions that we've been planning this for about a week and we don't have any money yet. The look on hers and the sales manager's face is pretty priceless.

If these people knew the history our group has with this work in Sudan, they might have understood our attitude about this a little bit better, and not thought we were nuts. If they knew that a rag-tag group of 3-4 Americans made a seemingly random journey to Sudan in 2007 (a place you don't go uninvited) and since then have won the favor of the local people, tribal and governmental leadership, had a small part in establishing a thriving community and church amongst the people there and come back to tell about it, they might see it differently. We know that all the necessary pieces are going to fall into place for this to happen, and that there are specific things that are to take place along the way. Otherwise, we'd just have 20-large and wouldn't be blogging about this.

"Everything happens for a reason," says the saleswoman as she shakes our hands and we leave. Indeed.

Please stay with us as we tell you more about this whole deal. We'll try to weave in some history of this deal and some good stories. Check out Ross' blog in the links section and go to the earliest entries to read about Jason's time there. We'll be visiting there again! Please pray for favor for this trip and get in touch with us if you have any questions!

Thanks!
Randy on behalf of the criznew 

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