It’s always been an uphill (or downhill) battle traveling the back roads of Eswatini to reach TLC outreach sites.

But a recent descent was over-the-top. Getting home required one miracle after another, for which we say, “thank you, Jesus.”

Here are some communication snippets as the team and their vehicles slowly made their way down mud-soaked mountain roads after a gushing rainstorm:

“Team there is a truck that obstructed the road. No way to pass at all, we will need to take an alternate route…And the roads are already slippery, so please drive safe.”

“Please note. The first turn on detour is very slippery. We are stuck there now… Community members say this is the worst turn.”

“What are you going to do?”

“We are going to pray and trust our massive God.”

“On the bright side, we can see the town lights.”

To the second group of TLC team members as they strike out for home:

“If you are taking our detour route, you have two steep turns and a large area of mud.”

“Car stuck on road. Watch out.” (All these communications are from team members who routinely face crises with calm).

“A steep muddy hill, brakes aren’t engaging, vehicle sliding.”

“The Hino truck is on its side. No one is hurt. All other vehicles stopped”.

The Hino truck is shown shortly after capsizing.

While stranded on the mountainside for a few hours as a recovery plan was in motion:

“Let’s gather together and praise the Lord for his protection and His faithfulness.”

“You are faithful, Oh Lord. There is no one, no one, like Jesus.” (sung in Siswati & English)

Couple hours later: Large van back safely on campus! One bus back, small van arrives too.

“Just leaving the mountain now” – the second bus (loaded with TLC staff) and pulling a trailer, the 4×4 pulling a trailer, the Hino truck left on the mountain road for now.

“Please continue praying.”

A few hours later, this message came from Echo:

“Dear team. We start this message by praising God for his protection and peace! Tonight (about six hours ago) after a rainstorm, one of TLC’s trucks (the Hino) capsized while going down a mountain.

“All team members are safe and unharmed. Some team members are still recovering equipment and trailers up on the mountain, and recovery of equipment will continue as soon on the sun rises in the morning.

“We would covet your praise of gratitude and prayers of protection on the team as they continue the recovery effort. It is nearly 4 am and would appreciate prayer for strength and safety as they enter the 24-hour mark since waking for outreach yesterday.

“The team senses the mighty hand of God lovingly holding them.”

Ahh, yes -the peace of God which passes all understanding keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

A day later, 3-year-old Hosanna had this to say: “It was muddy, muddy, muddy. I was crying, but Phindie was holding me and my mom was praying for me.”

From the mouths of babes…

Recovery team prays before leaving the campus

P.S. Two days later, when the mud dried up and the Hino was able to be turned upright and towed down the mountain, the mystery was uncovered. Work was being done on the road which could not be finished due to unexpected rain. The soil on the road had been loosened and tilled up in order to add a powder mixture to harden the road.  However, when it started raining, the mixture could not be added. The road was left unstable and unmarked, resulting in drivers not being aware of instability.

No wonder TLC drivers all reported that their brakes were not working. On inspection the next day, the road looked like a wet garden. This also explains why the Hino was not stable and capsized. TLC drivers have driven that stretch of road hundreds of times in the last 10 years – in wet and dry conditions.

The situation leaves us vulnerable to the sovereignty of God. We must trust Him no matter what happens!  And we do!

Mud, mud, and more mud

 

Road conditions were still difficult during recovery efforts

 

A tow truck pulls the Hino right side up two days later. Hardly any damage was suffered from the incident.
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