Getting Out of the Driveway

By Rachel Greco

For Nina and Richard DeVreese, driving down their driveway in Guatemala is an adventure. They serve with a JAARS partner, Paradise Bound Ministries (PBM), sharing the gospel with Guatemalans. But first, they must get out of their driveway. 

Because Richard will be flying for PBM, their apartment is attached to the hangar. To reach a city only a few miles away, they must drive up a big hill, wind through the property, exit a gate, drive through fields, and finally merge onto the main road. 

But that main road is no flat, paved road; it’s dirt and requires a four-wheel drive vehicle, at least during the rainy season. The rain washes the dirt roads out, creating huge grooves. “I don’t even know if I’d call [them] potholes,” Nina said. “They’re just giant holes. And water pools up in there, [turning them into] a lake.” The water splashes the whole car and covers it in mud every time the DeVreeses leave their house. That few miles to the city takes about 30 minutes. 

Richard checking to see if it’s safe enough to drive a vehicle through the river.

The main road is a little better, but there are speed bumps, darting dogs and motorcycles. Then the DeVreeses take another dirt road to reach PBM’s base. The road is rocky out there, making them bounce like ping-pong balls. 

“Driving anywhere, even out of our driveway, is an adventure,” Nina said. 

These experiences make Nina grateful for the 4WD training she and Richard received at JAARS last year. Without it, Nina would have looked at some of these roads and thought, “There’s no way a vehicle could get up or down this.” But now, with her new 4WD knowledge, she’s willing to try driving through this difficult terrain. “[The training] made me realize more what was possible. If you have the right vehicle, it can do a lot.” 

And soon Richard and Nina will have the right vehicle. They have been using a spare pickup truck from PBM. Driving it all over the rough roads showed them the importance of a vehicle like those they had used during the JAARS Land Transportation Training—ones with a high clearance, front and rear wheel locking differentials, skid plates, and winching capacity. 

One trip up to a mountain drove home the importance of a good vehicle even more. 

Nina had never been so scared driving as she was on their way to the village at the top of the mountain. It had rained the day before, making parts of the road extremely muddy and slippery. Not only that, but they were driving on the side of a mountain without railings, with Guatemalan adults and children filling the bed of the truck. “I thought we were going to just slide right off the mountain with the truck bed full of kids, and I was praying the whole time.” 

Praise God! He protected everyone in the truck, and the PBM staff was able to run a Children’s Day program that included telling the story of Jesus. 

With this experience fresh in the couple’s minds, combined with their knowledge from the JAARS 4WD course, they ordered a vehicle with mud tires that reduce sliding. “Even if we hit some bad stuff, we can put on locking differentials, and then we won’t slide when we climb over these crazy obstacles,” Nina explained. 

Nina with their new vehicle in Michigan before it’s shipped to Guatemala.

She and Richard will soon be using their new vehicle to rock up and down the rough roads to share the love of Jesus with their Guatemalan neighbors. 

 You can enable mission workers like Richard and Nina to have the right tools to serve the Lord when you give to JAARS Land Transportation Solutions. Thank you!