Monday, February 13, 2012

Live from Santa Cruz: Vehicle Search!

On location in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia:

I flew down early this morning and was greeted by a heavily pounding rain, punctuated by lightning and thunder.  Not exactly the type of day you want for a vehicle search.  So I spent the morning sitting in my cozy room in the guesthouse, listening to the rain fall and staring at my computer.  The rain let up around noon, so I went across the plaza to the grocery store and bought some lunch, then headed out at 2:00.

There are two places in this town where cars are sold everyday.  They're basically just long sandy strips alongside a road, where all the sellers come with what they've got.

I went to La Cuchilla first, mostly because it's bigger and the vehicles are easier to spot.  I didn't get a quarter of the way down the strip, when I saw this:

It's a 1992 Toyota HDJ80 Land Cruiser.  It has a turbo diesel engine.  It has a manual transmission.  It's in excellent shape.  It's original left-hand drive, not transformed.  It even has good tires.

There are three ways that it does not fit into the "perfect" vehicle list I posted on Saturday:
    -It's nice looking.  Kaylee said (and I quote), "I WOULD RIDE IN THAT."  Obviously, not a bad thing.
    -It doesn't have differential locks.  A non-essential, honestly, that can be added down the road if desired.
    -The asking price is $2500 more than what we currently have in our vehicle fund.  Yep, that's a problem.

I should be able to talk him down.  All vehicle sellers tell you a price that is "charlable" or chattable.  They expect you to point out all the flaws and kick the tires and lowball them, then come to an agreement somewhere in the middle.

The problem is that I don't think I can talk him down that much.  So what do I do?

Well, I'm going to pray.  I know that God has a vehicle for us here.  I just have to wait for Him to show it to me, while doing everything I can to find it.  Is this it?  I don't know, but it's by far the closest thing I've found to this point.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Our First Year in Bolivia!

We have just celebrated our first year here in Bolivia!  One of our supporting churches asked us to make a video, so I spent a couple weeks summarizing our first year here. You can see the squished, low-res version here:

If you would like to see it in it's true form, download the small file here:

or you can download the full-resolution version here:

Vehicle Project: Specific Prayer!

Over the past six months, we have prayed for the funds needed to purchase a vehicle here.  We are continually thankful to God as we see Him answer that prayer, and to all of you who have been a vital part of the process as you have prayed and/or given.  As we approached 90% of our goal last month, I began to search in earnest.  We are still short of our goal, but I believe there is now a more urgent prayer need.

Last month I had a few opportunities to look at the car sales in Santa Cruz, another major city in Bolivia.  I discovered that I could find similar vehicles there for a few thousand dollars cheaper than here in Cochabamba.  I am going there twice more in the next two weeks for other reasons, plan to hit the car sales again, and am praying that I find something to buy on one of these trips. 

Time and time again over the last few years, we have seen God give specific answers to specific requests.  While I am still open to other vehicles (or different options), the following is what I would consider to be the perfect truck for the job, and it should be within reach once we get to 100% of our financial goal.  This is what I am praying for.  Will you join me?

- Toyota Land Cruiser 80
- Turbo-diesel engine
- Manual transmission
- Solid frame and body
- Lockers
- Not pretty, but mechanically strong
- Original left-hand drive

To give you an idea of what I'm looking for, I did find this 1992 a month ago.  It is all of the above, except that it has an auto tranny and is a transformer (originally right-hand drive).  Asking price: $15,000