The story begins here: Missionary Travel Stories.
Continuing his story, my dad Hal is sharing about his travels through Central America on the Pan American Highway, 1963. Enjoy the last episode in his journey:
I drove all the way across El Salvador and Honduras that day. I had only one set-back. When I got to the main plaza in the capital, the main road turned slightly, and I took the one that went straight. I drove all the way to the ocean, and would have liked to stay awhile on that beautiful beach, but on some other occasion. That evening I arrived near the southern border of Honduras and spent the night with a missionary family, the Henry Digbys.
The next morning, I finally entered the republic of Nicaragua! A border official signaled for me to drive under a shed because he had to spray my vehicle. I looked at my good friend Nick and thought, “What am I going to do?” but the official motioned that I could take him out. He sprayed my Suburban inside, underneath, and even under the hood with something that smelled awful. I was sure no bugs would live through that.
The kind officials at the border asked me where I was going, and when I said to Managua, they pointed straight down the road. It was only about a four hour trip, but though the highway was paved, it was barely the width of a lane and a half. When I met another vehicle, I had to scoot all the way over until my tires were on the shoulder, and when I met a truck, I had to pull off the highway. I couldn’t believe what the trucks were doing—it looked like they were trying to have a head on collision with me! The next time I met a big truck, I decided to drive right down the middle of the road as they did. When the truck got within a hundred yards, he pulled to his right a little, and I pulled to my right a little, and we managed fine. I found out that was how to drive the next three hours.
At last I came to Managua! I didn’t have the address of the Bible Institute, where Frieda’s parents lived, so I just stopped and asked for a Protestant church. Some of the people acted like they didn’t like my questions. I thought if I could just find a Protestant pastor, he could tell me how to contact Frieda’s father. I couldn’t believe what happened next—it felt like a miracle. I inquired of a man who said, “Oh, that’s easy—go down this street about a mile and you will see a Protestant church on the left. Go in and you will find a pastor. This turned out to be the Primer Templo Bíblico, the largest church associated with our mission in Managua, and the pastor was Misael Lopez, a longtime friend of the family. He took me to the Bible Institute, about half an hour away. I don’t know if I would have ever found it by myself.
I arrived at the Etheridge’s trailer about 5:00 that evening. I was so happy and thrilled to see Frieda. She seemed to be doing very well, though she had been worried about me since instead of my trip taking a week, it had taken over three. As I write this, it is hard for me to believe I actually made the trip I have just told you about! I rested and visited with Frieda’s parents for a day, before we set out together for our destination, the Spanish Language School in San Jose, Costa Rica. Since Frieda was with me for this part of the trip, I’ll let her tell the story from here.