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Topic: Paths (05/17/04)
TITLE: What GPS Do You Use?
By Donna Haug
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Maputo Elephant Reserve – doesn’t that sound like the kind of place you would want to be stranded? A few months ago, my husband and a couple of missionary colleagues decided to do just that. Well, not exactly THAT. They planned to take a day away from their regular busy schedules to seek the Lord for His direction and His renewal in their lives. The four of them, two Brazilians, one American and a Canadian, packed up their two trucks with the camping gear and Bibles. No food would be necessary because their intent was to spend the time in fasting and prayer.
The weather had been very nasty for days and the wives of said adventurer/missionaries thought maybe it would be a good idea to postpone their prayer retreat. However, a slight break in the sky on the morning of departure convinced the rather determined men that all would go according to plan.
Three hours after leaving Maputo, they finally arrived at the gate of the Maputo Elephant Reserve in the pouring rain. Our American missionary friend had already faced the scare of his life having blown his two left tires in one shot! It was already starting to get a little late and the men considered staying the night right there at the gate. The reserve is not exactly a well lit nor a much used place. But, all they needed was a word from the gate guard that they should be able to make it to the beach campsite right around dark and off they went.
Their faith rested in this little gadget called a GPS (Global Positioning System) linked to a laptop, which had a map of the reserve showing the route they needed to take. What could go wrong!!
Well, twenty minutes into the park the battery on the laptop died taking the trusty map into the “grave” with it. Relying totally on the GPS but using it as a compass they continued on. At a certain point two roads diverged. One curved far right and the smaller one continued straight (in the direction the GPS/compass was pointing towards the campsite). Brave hearts prevailed and off they went down a path that seemed to get more and more narrow the further they drove. Suffice it to say that after getting stuck for 2 hours after dark in a swamp with strange creatures flopping around in the water close by, the four rather shaken missionaries decided to stay right there on their newly acquired higher ground.
Through bleary eyes the following morning, they found hippo tracks right beside their trucks. The strange creatures flopping in the water the night before turned out to be huge catfish. How were they to know?? Later they were to discover that the main road took a little detour around this swamp. Had they stayed on the path they would have reached the beach safely and without delays.
Picking their way back on the path, they saw a hill to their right and decided this would be the perfect place to stop and spend the morning in prayer. That afternoon, four men arrived at home safe and sound with one more adventure under their belt. They didn’t see any elephants, but better still they met with God. He is so faithful. Even when we veer off the road, follow only what we think is the right way and determine to make our own path, He is there to steer us right again and to fill our hearts with His peace as we commune with Him. God’s Path is Sure – that’s the most reliable GPS we’ll ever have!