Good transportation for our pastors has been an ongoing issue for years. We have wrestled with it for a long time, and finally think we are on the right track to help the pastors, the Churches, and in the long term not creating a situation we will have to fix again anytime soon, and hopefully foster the Churches long term providing replacement themselves if they choose.
Trying to balance the needs of transportation, the locations, reliability, and...everything else related to vehicles, we have come to a realization:
When buying pickups for groups...stick to the Ford SuperDuty.
When buying vehicles for Churches, ambulances, and just about every other need here...the Toyota Land Cruiser 78 (aka here in Honduras "Land Cruiser Ambulance" because of its wide use by the government and Red Cross as ambulances) is the way to go.
These vehicles seat 13 (with seatbelts, but for Honduras I believe that has been stretched to 20...even though some might say fitting 13 North Americans in there would be a stretch.)
The rock solid reliability of these vehicles, which have had the same very durable 4.2L inline 6 cylinder diesel engines since the mid 90's, is legendary. Not built with luxury in mind, but definitely to work and last. Parts availability is pretty good for the most part, and they are not overly complicated.
The first of these we bought was from the Peace Corps for Sampedrana back in 2009. It is still in the "fleet." We bought a slightly nicer but almost exactly the same one from Oscar for Talanga, and amazingly found another former Peace Corps vehicle that we bought for Cantaranas. (These do not come up for sale often.) The gentleman that bought it from the Peace Corps that we did in 2009 basically had not used it since then, so those two are identical with two fuel tanks, built in winch, and all three have the very handy roof rack which is quite functional and necessary.
We have signed contracts of use for the vehicles with the pastors, who will do the regular maintenance on them, fill out milage reports, and pay the registration every year. We will cover getting them all registered with insurance as part of the mission's support.
You can see in the pictures that they are taking Bibles back with them as well. These monthly pastor meetings have been great for teaching (does baptism really matter? was this month's topic) encouragement, and as well to help get supplies we have out to them...this month needed Bibles, corn for distribution, and more school shoes that we received to bless all the Churches with, which was great and they got to share and see which were best for each area.
This month was extra special because the pastor in San Juancito has a full time job and thus cannot normally come to the meetings, but this week he was on vacation, pastor Noel (who happens to be Jonathan's brother) so all five Churches were represented.
All these pastors are going through transition, challenges, and different tough times. Please join us in praying for each of them, for the Churches, and the continually development of leadership in each Church and how we can encourage them in their steps towards independence by God's grace.