We had the (good) surprise of our lives today, and were rather in shock for a couple of hours. Actually, some of us are probably still somewhat in shock over what happened.
We’ve been discussing for a year or more what to do with the engine in our van. It was obviously wearing out, but wasn’t bad enough to replace yet. Then, right after we moved over here, I started having trouble getting it out of fifth gear (it’s a manual). It wasn’t all the time, just sometimes, but we also noticed a strange whine when going the speed limit. I didn’t think much of it, and kept double- or triple-clutching when necessary to shift gears. Then, on Monday this week, I took the van to Simon’s boss to get a warrant of fitness. He told us that fifth gear was going out, but if we only used it when going downhill we should still be able to use the van for awhile. He advised that it wasn’t worth rebuilding the gearbox again (we did three years ago), given the age of the van (a 1994 model) and the state of the engine. The next time I used it was yesterday, Friday. I drove it the six minutes to pick Simon up from work, and both times in that short distance that I tried to shift from fifth gear to fourth it took everything I had to accomplish that—and the second time, I had to actually turn the van off after half a dozen tries, and then keep working at it for awhile. So, I didn’t use fifth on the way home, and the noise produced by driving in fourth, even below the speed limit, was such that conversation was impossible, and I had a headache by the time we got home.
After all that, we decided it was probably time to either never go anywhere as a family until we can take two vehicles, or get a different van. Esther and Simon started looking for them online, and we prayed for direction, but I could tell that Gayle was dreading making a decision. Simon’s boss came by this morning for a few minutes, and Gayle asked his advice about rebuilding the gearbox, since he hadn’t talked personally to him about it. Simon’s boss said he’d think about a vehicle for us. Three or four hours later, he pulled into our driveway in a very nice van, and his wife was right behind him in their vehicle. He handed Gayle the keys. We were absolutely speechless. This is something we never ever, in our wildest dreams, would have imagined happening. All we can do is say thank you, to a wonderfully generous brother in the Lord, and to God Who orchestrates such things. And, I believe we’ll be going to Easter Conference in Timaru again as we had planned on doing before the van started acting up! (Unless the Lord has other plans for us, that is.)