Hitchhiker Hazards

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  I John 4:4

“You are all going to be killed. Your truck is going to roll over on the highway,” the short old man angrily avowed as he got out of the back of my truck looking sideways at me. Dona Sabá suddenly said, “I’m not going to the city anymore,” and she too climbed down with her baggage in hand.

Jane and I were at the Indian village of Milho. We had had a great weekend of ministry and fellowship at the Milho Baptist Church. Monday had arrived and we were preparing to return home, 85 dusty kilometers away in Boa Vista. Several people had asked for a ride to the city and we were happy to oblige as transportation back in the 1980’s was sometimes difficult to come by. There was one rule that I always gave to those hitching a ride – I don’t take passengers who are drinking, and or are drunk, and I don’t transport alcohol of any type. People in those days were permitted to travel in the back of half ton trucks or on flatbeds. I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone falling off onto the highway and it was against my conscience to transport liquor to the Indian villages. Most people complied and respected my wishes, after all they were catching a free ride. On occasion though, some would have liquor hidden in their baggage. I never went through their baggage but would take their word that they had none.

One time we were on the highway, way out of the city, when someone began to hammer on the roof of the truck. I pulled over, stepped out and went behind to see what was up. The smell of cachaca (sugarcane liquor) was strong. “What’s going on here?” I questioned. “A bottle broke inside my duffle bag,” the owner admitted. “OK, out of the truck with your baggage” and I left him standing on the side of the road. People soon learned that I meant what I said and after that, as far as I know, it never happened again.

On this occasion, at Milho, we were loading the truck for the trip and the travellers were taking their places, sitting on their duffle bags, on the spare tire or on sacks of manioc flour. Just then a stranger that I had never met before showed up. He was a short, stout man from a neighbouring Indian village and was wanting a ride to Boa Vista. That wasn’t a problem to me as we had space in the back for an extra person. He climbed in the back with his small duffle bag and a small aluminum pot. “By the way,” I asked, “You don’t happen to have liquor with you, do you?” “Oh, no, I don’t,” he said. Somehow, I discovered that in the small aluminum pot he had pajuaru, a thick soup like drink made from the manioc root. Pajuaru is one of the strongest home brew drinks made in the interior.    

I hadn’t met this person before, but it turned out that he was someone who professed to be able to cast spells and curses. I then asked the man to get out of the truck with his baggage as I was unable to take him. That’s when he lost his temper. At first, he didn’t want to get out but finally when he saw that I wasn’t backing down he took his duffle bag and pajuaru and climbed out placing a curse upon me and all that were in the truck. That’s when some of the others got frightened and abruptly decided that they no longer wanted to go to the city! I encouraged Dona Sabá and told her that the man didn’t have power to do us harm and that God was with us. She hesitantly climbed back in, and we had an uneventful trip to Boa Vista.

We live in an unsettled world and sometimes are confronted with unusual and challenging circumstances. It is comforting to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour and that He is ever with us. He gives us wisdom and strength to deal with every situation that arises. God has given us many promises in His Word:

“For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb.13:5
“And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Mat.28:20

Don’t be fearful over what man may say to you, whether it is a curse or a threat, let us rest in the Lord.

“Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  I John 4:4

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