Another Unexpected Journey, Part B

Things Go Bad Fast

If you read Part A, you will remember I left off with us being back at the N1 motel following a day of being in the wrong place (Monday) and stuck in traffic and rain (Tuesday). Wednesday was a new day. We were to head out that morning for the mission at Dine. Work on repairing the clinic and other tasks lay ahead. In order to miss the construction from Monday, I used a different GPS program. It offered a good alternative which incidentally included part of the road we travel once we got directions on Monday. I was showing Bob, who was new to Zimbabwe, the planned route.


That is when issues started. Somehow the destination changed from a point mostly South of Harare to a point mostly West, with a Southern drift to it. I assumed we were headed in the right direction so off we went. Things seemed slightly off, but not enough to sound a great alarm. I assumed that the direction changed from those I first saw, adjusting again for construction. That turned out to be an incorrect assumption. We blissfully drove past a road directing us to our goal (Masvingo). After all, we were still drifting to the South, though mostly West.

At one point, I figured out that we were not where we needed or wanted to be. It was decision time, to continue on, which would get us to Masvingo, or turn around and go back to the right way. From what I could see looking at the map we were at the point where continuing was closer than going back. That was faulty thinking. We had a long journey ahead. So, we continued to Gweru (for those who know Zimbabwe or want to look up our route). (For those who are, here are the cities we visited: Norton, Chegutu, Kadoma, Kwekwe, Gweru, Shurugwi, Donga, Mashava, and finally Masvingo.) We arrived at Masvingo about 5:30 and since we do not drive at night we got a motel there for the night. 

After I determined that I had made a major mistake, I felt bad and was angry and disappointed in myself. This team was trusting me to get them where they were supposed to be. And eventually, the next day we did. But in the process, there were other turns we missed. Times when we ignored what new GPS directions was giving us. People at gas stations we stopped at wondered what we were doing, and why on earth we were going that way. That was the way we went.


Once I got over being angry at myself, I came to a new perspective. One reason I go to foreign countries, or new states in the US, is simple I want to see and experience all I can in my short life. For me, the journey is as important, if not more so, than the destination. That is not always true, but at times it certainly is. I would never have been to those places if I had not started off in the wrong direction. Just past Shurugwi that is a downgrade. It drops into a beautiful valley. The roadway was fun to drive. I have seen things I would never have seen, visited with people I would never have met, and had a splendid day. As it turned out, those in the car following thanked me for taking them on that route. They too loved the journey. But it was because I went the wrong way.

There is another observation, however. The road from Harare to Gueru is one of the best in all Zimbabwe. There were more miles (kilometers) of road with no potholes than anyplace else I have driven. The traffic was low. There were few cows, donkeys, dogs, and kids along the way. It was a pleasant ride along a beautiful part of Zim. But it was not the right way. GPS, and anyone else I talked to, said it was wrong (once I got the right destination entered). That is the way sin works. It is fun, it is beautiful, and it is pleasant. Others are on the road with us. It is going somewhere. However, it is not going where we are supposed to go. 

My friend, Donna, was telling people we were “lost.” I didn’t want to admit I was lost, I just made a mistake, and a misjudgment. But! I have finally come to confess that we were lost. Yes, I could look at the map and know where I was, but I was not where I was supposed to be, or needed to be. I told this story during my sermon at the youth conference. My point was that because of the power of the resurrection, I am saved. The first step needs to be that we admit we need saved. And without my GPS, and without my wife to watch it, we could have been really messed up. I needed saved. We live in a world that needs saved.

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