Missionary Bill Morlang decided to take a motorcycle ride a few weeks ago.
Repairs were needed on the boat that NTM missionaries used to visit different people groups to determine their need for a church-planting ministry team. Bill needed to figure out was what wrong with the boat, determine how to fix it, and take pictures and measurements to analyze what would be needed for the job.
Bill’s wife, Jen, writes that the boat was stored about 100 miles from the New Tribes Mission centre. To take a vehicle meant the trip would cost more than $250. So Bill came up with a great alternative. They could make the trip by motorcycle for $25.
Jen suspects that, besides the cost factor, Bill was “looking for an excuse to take a bike ride.”
Jen says that Bill and their son, Jake, invited friends Layne Campbell and Chad Earl to ride along and that the miles they traveled were not 100 smooth and easy freeway miles. The road surface was partly asphalt and partly dirt, “but mostly potholes.” The goal was to leave early, take the time to evaluate the boat and be home by dark.
“They stopped at roadside markets for breaks,” Jen shares. “The people along the way were very friendly and loved looking at the motorcyles. They took only water and chicken-flavoured crackers, but the people along the way fed them well.” Jen says their backpacks were soon bulging with fruit.
They figured the trip would take about three hours each way. Jen says it took a little longer because “they stopped to enjoy the people and God’s amazing Creation along the way.”
Bill and Jake and their friends gained an understanding of the boat’s problems and what it would take to repair it. In layman terms, “The back of the boat where the motor sits is coming apart.” And that will be addressed soon.
But in the meantime, Jen says far more was accomplished in this trip than just a mechanical analysis of a broken-down boat. There was the incredible scenery and the fellowship with missionary friends. There was the rich interaction with many tribal people along the way and the receiving of their friendship and generosity.
And Jen says that, in addition, something very close to their hearts happened on this trip as well. “This trip to look at the boat was a great time to expose our son to ministry and fun,” she shares. “Who says that ministry can’t be fun?” She sees this 200-mile round trip motorcycle journey as a great father-son memory that Bill and Jake will always have. Jen adds, “These moments are priceless.