The Southern Baptists had an old bob-tail truck on the east coast of Honduras. A Baptist missionary at Progresso, a suburb of San Pedro Sula kept it. I was allowed to use it on most every medical trip that I took to that area of the country.
The truck was quite old with faded blue paint and with wooden rails around the back where my people could stand as we went along. It was pre-1973 with an old-fashion ignition system, sine most all vehicles post=1973 have a computerized ignition system.
I want to tell you about one afternoon. The medical team was scheduled to be in a certain remote village for the next two days. Two of the doctors and some nurses and a few other folks wanted to go visit the place on the afternoon before. They wanted to decide where we should locate the different parts of the clinic in the school where we were to be and move the desks and benches aside to be all prepared for the next morning.
I was supposed to be at a screening of the Jesus Film at a new Garifina church where the young missionary to the black Garifinas was to show the Jesus Film that night in Spanish, which I had brought with us. However, I needed to take the group on to that village and try to get back for the last of the film. I commandeered a local fellow who knew the location of the village, and we all piled into the old bob-tail truck and started up the highway. As I have mentioned, there was one narrow new blacktop highway that ran along to coast all the way from Tela to La Ceiba down near Nicaragua. After about 25 miles on the pavement, we turned off onto a dirt road. We went at least 15 miles and forded two rather large rivers before finally arriving at the village. There were many houses and shacks scattered around but very little infrastructure there, just the one dirt road through a few buildings that went on down to the school.
We finished our tasks at the school, and just as we were going back through the little group of buildings, the truck suddenly just died. I tried the ignition, and nothing. Quite a crowd of people gathered around us and one of them raised the hood. These people are used to old vehicles so they proceeded to do the first thing that one should do. They proceeded to take the cables off the battery and scrape the inside of the cable clamps and the battery posts. They put them back on, clamped the cables down and I was very hopeful. I got back in the truck, tried the ignition…….and nothing. Nothing at all. Not even a grinding sound.
Here we were with dark coming on soon, so many miles from help, and no way to contact anyone from that remote site. Even if they had a phone somewhere in the village there was no way to get a call back to our folks. The phones down there at that time were so awkward, almost to the point of impossible. We were about 30 miles from San Pedro Sula, which has the highest rate of murders of any town on the planet, even those in the Middle East. You can check that on the internet…..not a good place for all those folks to spend the night. Really, that truck needed to start, but it was just dead.
I explained all that to the Lord, but I am sure that he already knew. But what happened next I will never forget. I went back and looked under the hood. I know quite a bit about cars and trucks, but I am just lost as a master mechanic. At that precise moment it was like a force just took hold of me. I cannot explain it. There were all kinds of old wires in that engine compartment and at least 30 or 40 black electrical tape covered connections. But my eyes suddenly became just riveted on one piece of old, black, dry electrical tape. I reached down and took hold of it and it just came off loose in my fingers. And there where it had been were two wires that had been twisted together, but were now just loose and apart.
A big noisy “aahhh” went up from the crowd. I had no idea what those wires went to, but I twisted them back together. I went back into the cab, tried the ignition, and that old truck fired up as smooth as could be. Much later I figured that the wires must have gone to the coil that that makes the spark plugs spark, and would be necessary for the truck to run. However at the time I had no idea, nor could I have known that they were pulled apart……..under that piece of old black tape.
We got on back to Tela just before 9:00 PM.
You can say that I was just lucky, but, folks, I personally consider that specific, divine intervention! It proved to me, once again, that God’s Spirit Power and His Powerful Angels are really there and available when they are really, really needed. How could I possibly have known which one of those pieces of black tape needed to be pulled off.