By Jon Maib

Four years ago I traveled to Uganda for the first mission trip I had been on since high school. While I was there, we planted churches in multiple villages, provided dental, medical, and vision care, and held nightly "revivals" with music and sermons in both english and Lugandan. We saw many come to know the Lord! It was an amazing trip and I grew spiritually. I enjoyed it so much, I went back with my wife and daughter two years later. You can view my testimony video about my mission adventure below .

But this story isn't really about me. Our church has been going to Uganda for about 5 years now, and Floyd, a buddy of mine, has gone on every single one. After our first trip together, Floyd came home and told his wife he wanted to be a missionary. When I first heard him say that, I assumed he was just on a mission trip and spiritual high, which usually never last for more than a few weeks afterwards. Well, that wasn't the case for Floyd. The next year, Floyd took his wife to Uganda, and the following year, they took their 3 kids. They have been every year since! They finally decided as a family that God was calling them to be missionaries in Uganda. So, Floyd and his family, through the resources of our church, became full-time missionaries in Uganda. I had the pleasure of serving with Floyd at church and personally getting to know the man God was shaping him to be. We were even there last November to see them off to the airport when they moved their whole family to Uganda.

Now, moving to a third-world country has been quite an adventure for Floyd and his family. One of the first tasks upon arrival was to purchase a vehicle to get around. With the help of a partnering church in Uganda, they met with a mechanic to purchase their first Ugandan vehicle. What did it happen to be? A nicely built Toyota Land Cruiser with mud tires and a big 'ol steel bumper. This wasn't a typical Ugandan vehicle and it definitely stood out of the crowd.

After working out all of the details of the purchase, Floyd and his family piled into their new right-sided driver, stick shift Toyota Land Cruiser. This was Floyd's first time being a right-sided driver, and he had to do his best to keep up with the Pastor of the partner church that he was following through heavy traffic. The roads in Uganda are not usually paved and the ones that are paved are not well maintained. A 4x4 can come in quite handy on this terrain. As Floyd and his family began traveling down the road, they heard loud 'bangs' coming from the rear of the Cruiser. Being unfamiliar with the vehicle, they weren't sure if the noise was normal. All of a sudden, they heard a really loud thud. Floyd's wife, Tamra, asked, "Did we just lose a tire?". Sure enough, that's exactly what happened! There they sat in the middle of the road and heavy traffic, missing a tire on their newly purchased vehicle.

Now, in Uganda you can't just call AAA or take the car back to the dealership and demand your money back. The pastor they had been following was far ahead of them and had not realized what happend, so they were left alone, not sure what to do. To make matters worse, the tire had apparently hit a man that was walking and then ran into a motorcycle when it flew off. In Uganda, restitution for injuries and damages are expected to be handled on site. Crowds will swarm to ensure the restitution provided is sufficient. The crowds, in extreme cases, have been known to use "street justice" if an issue is not resolved. This was a dangerous situation, but God was watching over Floyd and his family that day. Tamra was able to call the Pastor Johnson and have him come back. Floyd was doing his best to communicate with everyone involved, since not very many people speak English. Once Pastor Johnson arrived, he was able to translate and help calm the situation. Floyd paid the involved parties for injuries and damages and the crowd disbursed. Then it was time to figure out what happened with the vehicle.

After collecting and inspecting the tire, Floyd realized the lug nuts had completely sheared off the drum. When the studs were installed, they were too short and the wheel had only held on by a few threads. The pressure of the bumpy road finally took its toll and they just snapped off.

Pastor Johnson helped them contact a tow truck and they were able to take the Land Cruiser back to the mechanic, who was a Christian man, and promised to make things right for his brothers and sisters. He installed all new studs on the vehicle. After this incident, Floyd and his family decided they needed to name the vehicle. After a brief family discussion, it was decided that the Land Cruiser would be known as "Bertha the Beast".

Floyd thought I would appreciate the resourcefulness of the Ugandans, so he sent me a picture of Bertha being repaired. Below is the picture of Bertha being supported by two engine blocks as they repaired the lugs!

When you and I go out and 4-wheel, we do it for fun. We never really think about those who rely on their 4x4 just for daily life. Floyd and his family are living on a large property in Uganda without electricity or running water. They are there to start and oversee a trade school for unwed mothers while also providing basic necessities and dorms for them. There is a lot of work ahead of them, and hopefully Bertha the Beast will be by their side as a faithful vehicle. Please keep Floyd, Tamra, Raegan, Troy, Tyler and BERTHA in your prayers

You can read Floyd's story of the events in full here:
The Wheels On The Car Go THUD THUD THUD

My family and I financially support Floyd and his family on a monthly basis and pray for him constantly. If you would like to support them too, or just learn more about what they are doing, click the link below. Ive asked Floyd to keep me updated about Bertha the Beast and any more adventures they have in her so I can share them with you!

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