Written by Rich Atkinson
Those of you who read my report of our visit to the Czech Republic will remember that Paul, Andrew, Jimmy, Dean and myself got back into Prague about midnight on Wednesday after ministering in the city of Kromeriz.
So here is the original plan that was in place for collecting Emanuel’s new 4-wheel drive.
Over a period of weeks Andrew (Baddeley) had been in contact with a Honda dealership in Germany about a Mitsubishi Pajero that they had for sale – there were two main reasons for getting this vehicle from the continent;
Firstly, it needed to be a left hand drive and secondly cars and 4 wheel drives are cheaper in Germany than in Britain and the rest of Europe.
The plan was that we would stay in Kromeriz on Wednesday night and travel back to Prague Thursday morning for a BBQ in the afternoon. Paul would then fly home whilst Andrew and I headed into Germany on the Friday by train to pick up Emanuel’s new truck.
However, throughout the week Andrew had a sense that he and I should head straight to Germany on the Thursday instead.
Amazingly whilst discussing this with Jimmy and Dean they had had a sense that they should take us. These two ‘Holy Spirit’ decisions proved to be absolutely critical to the success of our mission!
It was decided that we would stay in Prague on Wednesday night and leave for the town of Gera, which is near Leipzig, at 6am on Thursday morning.
The fact that Jimmy and Dean took us to the dealership meant that Andrew and I were saved from a two-leg train journey, the second leg of which seemed to involve a sporadic service at best.
We left Prague on time and reached the Honda garage at around 9.30am. A good inspection of the vehicle was called for and Andrew took us for a test drive in it. It all seemed to be in good working order with the bodywork in good condition too.
Next we had to take care of the paper work and payment. Andrew and I had taken English pounds in cash with us, which now seemed to be causing us a problem. Ronne (Andrew’s contact at the dealership) phoned a variety of banks in the local area and was told that they couldn’t accept such a large deposit in pounds. This problem was thrown about for about 30-40 mins whilst Jimmy and Dean interceded for us. We didn’t believe that the Lord had brought us this far to fail.
Finally the dealership’s main manager stepped in and phoned his bank and “bingo” the deal was back on!
Jimmy and Dean decided that they needed to get back to Prague, so we said some hearty farewells and they departed.
The next stage of the plan involved Andrew going to the bank with the dealership manager while I followed one of the garage employees in the Pajero into Gera (the nearest city), our new purchase needed to be insured, number plated and licenced for export. After about an hour and a safe deposit of the cash Andrew joined me at the vehicle registration department.
By the time the documentation process was finished it was about 2-2.30pm. And this is where the Holy Spirit’s prompt of going to Germany a day early proved itself to be vital. If Andrew and I had left it until Friday we would have never made it in time to complete the licencing process, as the vehicle registration office shuts at lunchtime on a Friday.
The garage employee led us back to the dealership, sadly we couldn’t remember his name but he spoke good English and was a great blessing to Andrew and I.
Time for us to depart! Andrew set the Satnav for Shaftesbury and we headed out onto the E40 Autobahn.
It was about 3pm and we decided that we would drive till 8-8.30pm and then look for somewhere to stay. Our aim was to catch the 1.30 ferry from Calais the next afternoon.
During the first part of our journey the scenery was stunning as we traveled through the hills to the north of Bavaria. The industrial heartland of Germany then started to come into view and this would set the tone for the rest of our German experience.
Generally there is no speed limit on the Autobahn (though there are places where speed restrictions do apply) so you can “floor it” if you really want to. Andrew and I split the driving into 2hr stints, stopping to eat and refuel as and when we swapped shifts.
8pm approached and we were close to Cologne. There hadn’t seemed to be any places to stay along our route so we prayed that God would direct us. The next right took us into the city and almost immediately there was a hotel, we debated whether to stop and decided to carry on and see if there were any others. As we headed further and further into the centre of Cologne with not a hotel in sight, it became clear that we had missed our blessing. God had answered our prayer almost immediately and we had driven on past it looking for somewhere else to stay, the two of us laughed about this later as we shared a beer in the bar of ‘our’ hotel that evening.
Leaving promptly at 8am we picked up the E40 again and headed for the French port of Calais and our rendezvous with the 1.30pm P&O ferry to Dover. Calais appeared right on time and we joined the queue of trucks and cars heading to Britain.
An hour or so later we were back on British soil, driving ‘on the right side of the road’ towards the M25, on a Friday afternoon. Oh joy! But it didn’t prove to be to too bad actually.
Where was the first place that we hit static traffic on the whole of our trip?……………you’ve guessed it Stonehenge!
Our Satnav though had even seemed to factor this tailback into our ETA and we arrived at 6.30 as predicted.
Glad to be home, Andrew and I had covered 1223km in two days, seen a lot of Europe, enjoyed each others company and brought Emmanuel’s truck through the first stage of it’s trip to Ghana.