The plan today was to drive from New Plymouth to Palmerston North with the first gospel meeting scheduled to begin there tonight. Allan Fowell had loaned us his van since he is still in Tasmania for a gospel meeting there, so we loaded up this morning all set to go. Only nothing happened when Jimmie turned the key. Apparently the battery on the van was dead. The next few hours were spent trying to figure out how to fix the situation. Carolyn and I let the guys handle it - she did laundry and I took a much-needed nap. Finally, Kent ODonnell, in Palmerston North, got in touch with Rod Kyle in New Plymouth. Rod took us to a car-rental place and we got hooked up with some wheels. Unfortunately, it was then almost 4 in the afternoon, the drive to Palmerston North was said to be between 3 and 4 hours, and the gospel meeting was starting at 7. But the brethren said they would just sing until we got there. Fortunately, they didn't have to sing for long. We rolled up to the building just 10 minutes late.
I have to brag on Jimmie for just a moment. I have to say that starting off in a car where all the controls are in the wrong place, driving roads where the oncoming traffic is on the wrong side, and a steady rain making visibility less than perfect - that would have made me more than a shade stressed. But Jimmie handled it like a pro. He said the only difference between driving here and in Africa was that he didn't have to watch out for bicycles and chickens here, so this was easier. The countryside we were able to see before darkness fell was incredibly beautiful.