Good news! We found a car! And we were incredibly encouraged in the process. Would you like to hear the tale? Well, we arrived in South Africa with no credit history, so the only possibility for us to purchase a car (instead of paying for a rental for months and months) was to buy a car with a credit card. (We don’t exactly have a good $9,000 laying around, and cars are a wee bit more expensive around here). We just trusted the Lord to lead us to a good car, at a good price, and at a dealership that would allow us to use a credit card to make the purchase.
Just before we left the States, someone suggested we see the movie, Faith Like Potatoes. We were glad we did. It was a faith-building story, although I cried through a lot of it. It’s about a Zambian farmer named Angus Buchan, who moves to South Africa, meets the Lord and with his pastor’s encouragement, he begins his work for the Lord as an evangelist. His family is originally from Scotland, which further interested us. He was born in Zambia, and it was fascinating to see him begin to identify himself as an “African from a white tribe,” instead of as a Scot. It helped me to understand a little better Mark’s experience of being white and African. And the leading actress was from Mark’s hometown. Side note! But I shall tie all this in. The Lord puts it on Angus’s heart to plant potatoes, even though it will be very difficult for them to grow without enough water in the climate where he has settled. I don’t want to spoil the plot for you, so to find out what happens, please watch the film!
Mark was beginning to get a bit discouraged after a few days in South Africa, because our lack of credit history was prohibiting us even getting a cell phone contract, and we were finding it challenging to get things done. (A delightful challenge of settling in a new country is that you can have platinum credit cards and a great credit history in one country, but it does not make a hill of beans in the next!) The other morning I was reading the story in Genesis 24, where the Lord gives Abraham’s servant great success in finding a wife for Isaac. The servant prays for a specific sign that he will know he has found a wife for Isaac, and the Lord shows up, just as he prayed. I was encouraged by the story, and before Mark left to continue the car hunt, we prayed together similarly, that God would give us a sign, so we would know we were purchasing the right car at the right place.
Mark headed out, and went to look at several of the dealerships we’d seen the day before, and came to one where we’d seen a Citroen Xsara Picasso that seemed to be a good price. He began chatting with the dealers about the car, and found out that it had belonged to one of the owner’s wives. It only had about 80,000 kilometers on it (less than 50,000 miles) and was in great condition. They went to further discuss the purchase upstairs in the dealership’s coffee shop, and none other than the pastor from Faith Like Potatoes was sitting in the coffee shop! After discovering the owners were Christians, Mark took all of it as a sign, and decided this was our potato!
The blessing of all blessings, the car is what we’d been praying for, and more. It was within our price range, and the dealership helped cover the costs of getting its roadworthy certificate and license plates, and helped us find very inexpensive car insurance. We were hoping for a car to comfortably seat five, even with Asher’s big car seat taking up space in the back, so that when Mark’s parents fly in to visit we can all fit in one car. It’s a diesel engine and gets like 50 miles to the gallon, and right now in South Africa, diesel is cheaper than petrol! Mark was especially concerned about it being safe, and was really glad it has run-on-flat tires, so that if I get a flat in a dodgy area, I can keep on truckin’. The windows are tinted and have anti-smash-and-grab protection as well. It even has roof racks for Mark’s bike rack to attach to!
Since the car has a bit of a funny shape, (leave it to the French!) and the encouragement for the purchase came from Faith Like Potatoes, we decided to call the car Mr. Potato Head. It was wonderful to turn in our rental car, and cross that concern off our lists. Praise the Lord who can provide us with the Faith for Potatoes, in whatever form they might arrive!
The Sermon in a Nutshell: God is the same today as He was 3,000 years ago. If your hope is in Him, and you’re walking with Him, He will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19) Is there a need weighing on your chest today? Ask God to give you the faith to trust Him for His perfect provision, in His perfect timing, and a content and thankful heart in the meantime.