by Ed Lyons
After a brief visit to the Gigaiba Referral Hospital in late July, during the Rainy Season, our team made its way back to South Sudan for our flight to Juba the next morning. At 5:30 pm, in the last big swampy area we would encounter, our Land Cruiser became stuck. Within an hour, darkness would fall and mosquitoes would be out in full force. Catching malaria was a concern.
We attempted to pull ourselves out with the vehicle’s winch, but to no avail. The motor was not working well.
Our co-workers were in two Unimog trucks behind us and could quickly pull us out. They arrived on the scene at 6 pm and had us out by 6:30.
What was not expected was the second mud hole that we found only yards from the first! When we hit that one, we were bogged down for the next two hours. During that hot, mosquito-infested time, the same question kept coming to mind, “Why is it taking so long to get out of this muddy pit, Lord?”
At 8:30 pm, the Unimog finally dragged us out and pulled us through the nearby river. On dry ground once again, our team unhooked the chains from the Cruiser and sent us on our way. Within a short distance, we encountered a tractor pulling a trailer loaded down with supplies, women, and children. They were heading in the direction from which we had just come. As our headlamps swept across the trailer, we exchanged greetings.
We soon reached our destination and waited for our team to arrive— but they never showed.
The next morning over tea and coffee, we asked a co-worker why the team had been delayed. He told us the tractor and trailer we had passed had attempted to cross the river. The tractor made it, but the trailer tipped over in the middle. Many of the women were pregnant, and the children, in particular, could not get out of the water on their own.
Zaki said our team members jumped into the water and rescued everyone. He said, “It was God’s plan to secure those people.” In other words, if we had not been stuck in the muddy mire for so long, our team would not have been at the river’s edge when the trailer overturned. Many lives would have been lost.
We may not always know why we are going through challenges, but looking back, we realize that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. (Rom 8:28)