My mother took me with my siblings to the Church of England growing up. I loved it. I loved Yahshua. I was my Sunday School teacher’s pet, the only time I was ever a teacher’s pet. For some reason that lady adored me. Maybe because I was so interested in what she was teaching. The church was right across the road from our house. I got married in that little church, though, like our house, it no longer stands in King Street–what other street would I live in?– where I lived as a child. It was taken to the local historical village. Our house was trucked to the very opposite side of our nearby city.
Despite living a worldly, sinful life from ages 15 to 31, whenever anything in my life went wrong I would automatically pray and plead with Father to help me. Otherwise I would just say the Lord’s Prayer daily.
Travelling across Africa in a truck was no different. Especially with the troubles we had. In fact, our truck had the least troubles of any of the other truck expeditions we heard about or would often meet up with travelling the same path as us at the time. One group was all arrested and put in jail. Another of the trucks tipped over. We came so close to this happening to us. It was perhaps my auto-prayer that prevented it.
An Australian man(iac) named Dennis was the co-driver on our trip. One day we were going much too fast down a narrow dirt road through the jungle somewhere in the middle of Africa (Central African Republic, I think). Dennis went a little too far to the side and hit a soft edge. The truck stopped pretty quickly, and started leaning precariously to the right. These trucks are big and very high. If I’d have had to guess I would have said it would fall over and there would have been no way to stop it.
I was frightened. So many things frightened me in those days. I don’t know how I made it through life sometimes. Dave put everyone to work. I think they tried something with the outside wheel that was sinking into the jungle, chocked it up somehow. All I remember was everybody standing on and holding the other wall of the truck to try to balance it back towards the road. You can see them all there in the picture. And that’s Dennis the maniac in the cabin. LEANING OVER TO YOUR LEFT LIKE THAT PROBABLY WON’T HELP MUCH, DENNIS!
As for me, I walked up ahead about fifty metres and started pleading with Father to please help us, get us out of this, please, please, please… What else is one to ask Him in such a situation? And you know what? He did. I thanked Him as profusely as I had pleaded. We were not stuck living in the wilds of Africa for who knew how long with who knew what. The insects alone were enough to put us off that. One morning we all awoke to find monstrous slugs all over our tents.
Another time this happened we were driving across the Sahara where it started to peter out into the Sahel. Sand dunes had reappeared, but not the mountainous ones of Algeria. Whoever was driving, whether Dave or Dennis, ploughed into one of these dunes thinking, I suppose, it was more solid than it looked. The truck was buried up to the door on the left side. Time for some digging, and prayer, of course.
On the side of the truck were two hooks about two metres apart. Hooked on to these were sand ladders to allow the truck to negotiate the soft sandy parts of the desert. And there were many of these places, believe me. The ladders were about three metres in length, just a long flat piece of metal with holes in it. Whenever we hit a soft patch, out would jump the hobos, unhook a ladder from each side, run with them to the front wheels and place them underneath so the truck could drive on a solid surface – for three metres before the process was repeated with the next ladder. There were about four ladders on each side of the truck. As the ladder appeared out from under the rear wheels, we would grab it and run it forwards.
You can imagine, we got very fit and very tanned on the trip. Every day’s end saw us exhausted in the hot, sandy parts of the desert. Anyway, with the truck bogged in the sand dune, the guys dug out around and in front of the wheel and shoved a sand ladder in underneath. Easy. It was only a small dune. But don’t forget to pray when you are in a fix, and when you aren’t, as well. Then thank YHWH when He fixes it for you.
It was on one of the bigger sand dunes one evening I sat to make an important decision. I had developed a bit of a crush on Dave the truck driver. It was nothing very serious but we would flirt and joke around together. I never mentioned to him I had a boyfriend. My relationship with Bruce was terribly unwell, and to be truthful, I didn’t even know when or if I’d ever see him again. He didn’t want children or to get married. But I was starting to think I was pregnant by then. I knew if I went into another relationship, ours would definitely be over. Some men think their girlfriend/wife has to be radically faithful to them but they do not have to be with her. I thought there may just be a small chance for us and if so I should keep hold of it. If ultimately it didn’t work out, well I had a little piece of him forever.
So on that sand dune that night I decided I had to stop appearing to Dave I was available. I stood up, brushed the sand off myself, walked down to the truck, and started mentioning Bruce in my conversations with Dave. And the strangest thing was Dave immediately started talking about his beautiful Geraldine back in England! To this day I am certain Bruce and Geraldine never knew how blessed they were and how close they came to losing us on that trip. Bruce and I lasted another three and a half stormy years. True to form he never did get married or have more children. But he dotes on this one now.
There she is, my little Africa child, one day old.