January 23, 2011
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
I guess I could have more aptly named this post Planes, Buses, and Automobiles based on our travels the past few months. This is an update, however, on the automobile situation. We have currently been without ours for almost 2 months. We returned to Carapegua last week and walked to our mechanic's shop first thing that next morning. Ken saved up his energy so he could walk with me, wanting to hear the "man words" first hand.
It turns out that the small item we thought we were having repaired was only the beginning, and when that part was replaced, the mechanic could hear the other problem more clearly. The good news is that this is the motor that this same mechanic recently rebuilt, so it should be still under warranty. The bad news is that things don't happen quickly here, and a total tear-down to find the problem could turn this into an even longer wait to get our car back.
We've also still been dealing with the paperwork. We've been driving this car for 2 years and 2 months, and have fought that whole time to obtain the title that supposedly was clear the day we bought it. The judicial system, namely the judges, take the month of January off for yearly vacation, and it seems our lawyer has decided to do the same. We were told that our paperwork (the actual title of ownership of the car) would be ready before we left on furlough in September, but not so. With all the mechanical problems we've had with this car, we'd really like to sell it and start over, knowing much better how to buy a car in Paraguay this time around. Without owning it, though, we can't sell it.
This is the second time that we've been more than a month without use of the car because of repairs. Buses are okay at times, but in some cases, they just aren't practical. Such as when one is recovering from open-heart surgery. In said condition, one does not want to enter a bus and be stuck standing up for hours, holding to an overhead bar, being jerked around by the movements of the bus and pushed and pulled by other passengers. Obviously, this is a really bad time to be without our own transportation.
We have seriously considered buying a second, very small, very economical, older car to have as back-up, and also to use on trips where gas is an issue. Gas is pretty pricey here (about $4/gal), and many times we could get by in a small car. Okay, I know, stuffing us tall folks into a little car may be tricky, but for the dollar, it could be done. We'd still need the SUV, since lots of our church/school/home visits are down long, nasty dirt roads that flood out really easily. Four-wheel drive has saved us more than once. But for jaunts around town or drives into the city, we'd be fine in a small car.
That brings me, once again, to a plea for prayer. We are people who don't want debt. We've lived most of our adult lives avoiding it at all costs, no pun intended. We had to enter into debt when the insurance company refused to pay for Ken's surgery, and it makes me a bit gun-shy over purchases. And here in a world so "foreign" to us still, where we don't know what will happen financially one month to the next, decisions that should be simple take on a whole new dimension.
Tomorrow, a friend is loaning us her car so that we can refill medicines, run errands, and hopefully look at some used cars in Asuncion. Please remember us in prayer, that God will give us wisdom, guidance, and provision for this need, and that if this is His plan for us, that we will clearly know it and carry it out without nervousness or trouble along the way. We don't want to get into any more legal issues or mechanical problems, or to spend money that we should save instead, and we know none of these is too hard for God to arrange.