Saturday I had the opportunity to preach in a deaf church on the other side of Buenos Aires. It only takes about 1.5 hours by private car to get to the church. I was taking a small group of people from our church with me. Those who went with me are interested in deaf ministry and are taking the sign language classes we are teaching. This was a good opportunity for them to see a different type of ministry in that I was going to be preaching in sign language instead of interpreting what someone else said.
We took a bus to get to the bus station. Fortunately, while we left 30 minutes later than I wanted to from the church, we were able to get a bus immediately upon arriving at the bus stop. On Saturdays it sometimes takes 45 minutes or more to catch a bus. We were able to get to the bus station relatively easily.
There was a bit of a wait to get on the main bus that was to take us across town. This was a direct-ish bus from our city to a city about 40 minutes from our final destination. We were going to be on the main highway most of the way. There would still be stops along the side of the road, but we weren’t stopping at every other street corner to pick up and drop off riders.
Just before we got to the highway our radiator sprung a leak. We all had to exit the bus and try to catch whatever bus came along behind us.
The first bus that came by was not going to the right destination. The next bus was going where we wanted, but it wasn’t a direct run. Even though we knew it would be slower, we decided that a “bus in the hand was better than two on the highway” (or something like that). This bus ended up taking much longer than we had hoped. While I buffered in 2 hours of delays into my travel times, each one of the issues that cropped up ate away at all the extra time we had.
We finally got to the town where we were needed to jump on a train to get us close to the church. The train trip was uneventful and took us where we needed to be. The only issue was that it was packed and our group of seven had to split up a bit to find a place to stand. We got to our stop a few minutes after the church service was supposed to start.
Instead of catching our final bus to the church, the pastor came and picked us up. He only has one car, so we weren’t sure how that was going to work. But there was another family visiting the church from another town too who had a car to help us get from the train station to church.
Since none of the congregation had arrived yet, the fact that the pastor left the church to pick us up was not a problem. In fact, after the pastor dropped us off at the church he went and picked up the church folks.
We had a good church service. There were only two Deaf in the service, but we had other hearing visitors. It was a good experience for the people from our church to be there. We also had good fellowship exchanging ideas and goals in the ministry. It was not until 11:00 when we started the trip back home. Thinking that it would take 3 to 5 hours to get home, we were not really excited about the trip. But, the pastor and the visitor from another town graciously offered to give us a ride home. This meant an almost 2 hour drive for them each way. While we would have never asked them to do us this favor, we are glad they offered to take care of us.
Just another reminder that getting around without a car is not impossible, but it sure is inconvenient at times. I don’t miss paying $4 a gallon for gas though. Each time I ride my bike by a gas station I have to think that I have a little more money in my pocket for other needs.