January 21, 2010
Folks You Meet on the Bus
We are moving along in the drama concerning our vehicle. This week, we visited the lawyer in Asuncion again to find out her opinions in the “To Repair, or Not To Repair” question. She suggested we repair, expecting that we will win and have the title eventually. We’re praying “eventually” comes sooner than later.
Of course, without the truck, we were at the mercy of the bus system for the day. There were several errands to run while in the capital, so we started out early and broke Hollie into the world of the colectivos. Before the day was over, we’d walked through a rainstorm, hiked a whole lot of city blocks, and met a few interesting folks.
The first was a man and his helper (son maybe?) who jumped on at one of the bus stops… well, I say “stops,” but the truth is that they just kinda slow down and the folks jump on or off really quickly. Usually, random folks with baskets of chipa (bread), fruit, or a cooler of drinks jump on at one stop, make a few sales, and then jump off at the next one. This time, a saxophone player hopped on with his friend carrying a large (battery-operated?) speaker. The music started, and Mr. Cool goes to town on his shiny saxophone. I was impressed. Saúl says there was a time when evangelists would ride the buses in that way, giving a mini-sermon, taking up an offering, then getting off the catch the next bus. I tried to get one of our crew to sing or preach or something after that, but no luck….
A few colectivos later, an older gentleman scooted over to offer Hollie and me space to sit. We hesitated because we didn’t want him to be inconvenienced, but he took our hesistation for mistrust, I think, because he stood up and offered his seat (right beside us) to Ken. I tried to explain to him that Ken was fine to stand, but he shook his head and started making motions with his hands. I didn’t understand, so he pulled out a laminated card from the government that certified him as a deaf-mute (I guess many folks “fake” this to try to get money, so he was showing that he’s a card-carrying member of the group). The front of the card showed his pertinent information (town, number of children, whether or not he can work, etc.). It was then explained that he survives on donations, so I gave him one. This seemed to take him by surprise, and he reached into his backpack and pulled out a Bible, one exactly like the comic-book-style Bibles we want to use for youth ministry. (They have lots of pictures and for folks who can’t read or don’t read well, you get the general idea of the story with less words.) I didn’t understand all of what the man was trying to communicate, but he was trying to give me the Bible and witness to us about believing in God. How cool was that?!?! I did my best to tell him we were believers, too, and that we had Bibles, so that he could give his to someone who really needed it. Meeting him made walking in the rainstorm worth every drop.