You see, we are foreigners, blan, white people and they can easily see us coming. Simply because of our skin color, our vehicle is going to be stopped and we are going to have to hand over the paperwork to the police at the stop.
Sometimes these stops are inconvenient, sometimes they are expensive and sometimes they are actually quick.
Our ministry met at the camp location at the beach. It takes about 2 hours to travel the 50 miles and THAT is if we leave early in the morning before the country awakens. On our way there, we were pulled over-SURPRISE! After seeing our paperwork and that we were in compliance with the law, the officer asked if we had any money to give him. We said no. The police are obviously not paid well so he asked for money so he could get a drink. It is hot and we would not have hesitated to purchase them a drink! Ironically, as the officer was asking for money for a drink, a man selling soda came up behind him to give him a soda. But another officer refused the soda. The vendor was pushed away. The conversation went on for awhile and My Dear shared where we live. He was surprised we lived here and My Dear shared, "We are here to tell people about Jesus." The officer then said, "Do you need me to give you money?" We got a laugh out of that and appreciate the respect of the officer...whom we did not take any money from.
On our journey home, we were stopped a bit earlier. Dolly's pup, Chester goes along with us to the beach. He was pretty tired from our time there and slept in My Dear's lap while he drove. When My Dear rolled down the window to communicate with the officer, his little, furry head popped up. Dogs are like giant rats here. People do not like them. The officer was kind to My Dear and did not show any fear of Chester and simply asked, "Is that your friend?"
We are white and we travel with a dog. Chester's head, looking out the window, gets the attention of vendors and shoppers as we creep through traffic. Ironically, for a country that has dogs only as guard dogs, he brings a lot of smiles too.
Another common sight as we travel are the boys on the road with dirty rags. The boys are hoping to find work washing the windows of vehicles who have to stop in traffic. My Dear tries to keep the car clean before driving through such places but he has decided, it doesn't matter if the vehicle is clean or not, they still try to work to earn a wage.
On this trip, both down and up the mountain, it was Chester to the rescue. Although, My Dear, tells the boys "no" they continue in their attempt. One boy put his face up to the window and barked at Chester who of course barked back. The boy jumped back, startled, and then smiled. The boy's big, brown eyes looked up at us with a smile and made us laugh a bit. Chester startled some other boys on the way back up the mountain with the same response of smiles and laughter...but they did step away from the vehicle.
(Why yes, that is a stuffed elephant hanging out the side of the vehicle.)
Getting into a car is never easy here. As you can see, it takes a long time to travel even a few miles with obstacles along the way. Traveling after dark is not considered safe. The terrain requires a few Ziploc baggies and some essential oils for car sickness. Stop and go traffic does not help with this either. If you do not have air conditioning, thankfully we do, it can be a sweaty ride.
As much as we consider this place to be home, and feel comfortable traveling here, we are still the blan (a word that means white but is used to mean foreigner.)
In 1 Peter 2:11, Peter calls believers aliens and foreigners....the blan. You see, this place is not our home. And if you are a believer, "your place" is not your home either. You are blan.