Don’t believe me, do you? Well, here’s how it works.
Right now gasoline here locally is like $6 or $7 per gallon, depending on whether you’re in town or further down the road.
But we’re not on ANY road. So we have our gas flown to us in the mission plane. Full service (someone else pumps) and home delivery! Now, this door-to-door service is pretty nice, but there’s a catch. It costs to have the plane fly in here. And with rising fuel prices, it costs more and more all the time! So when you do the math it costs us about 50 cents a pound to fly that gas in here. So that adds $6 per gallon to the price of the gas!
So there you have it. $13 a gallon.
Thankfully, we not driving around in a Hummer. We’re not driving around at all (pretty reasonable, since there’s no road in here!) But we use the gas to run the generator when the solar power isn’t enough to keep everything like our lights and computers running. Rainy season = clouds = no sun = solar doesn’t always perform!
And then there’s grocery shopping. Imagine if you had to do all your shopping once every 4 weeks…. or every 6 weeks. yeah, tell us about it. If you only get to the store every 6 weeks, you better not forget to buy anything! But we have a missionary in town who is the “buyer” who does the shopping for us. That’s a huge blessing. We can stay in the tribe doing translation and teaching and not have to shut it all down to buy groceries. But then imagine if driving to the store cost you $417! That’s the cost of a flight. So, 880 lbs. of groceries, all in one bulk buying (that’s enough to make Price Club shopping look small scale!) But the cost of the plane adds that same 50 cents a pound to the groceries, just as it does to the gasoline.
So… 5 lb. bag of sugar? Add $2.50. Sticks of butter? Add 25 cents each. Pound of hamburger? Add 50 cents. And so on.
RELIEF IN SIGHT?
So yeah, that’s the reality in here. Our flight program leaders are looking for ways to have the spiraling fuel costs subsidized. That would be a huge blessing to us and all the other missionaries they serve. Imagine if each “trip to the store” cost a couple hundred bucks less!
So pray with them… and us, about that. That would free up so many resources for other things. Ministry projects instead of “gas money.”
IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT US
Of course, as fuel prices go up, all commodities go up, as well. And that affects everyone, including the Palawanos. The price of rice and other basic items has been going up and up. Then when you add unscrupulous vendors, hoarding, price gouging, and so on, the whole situation is worse. Economic hard times make it tempting for the Christians to get involved in illegal or questionable activities in order to come up with more cash to buy food.
Abil (remember Abil? My coffee drinking buddy… the main teacher/leader in the church here?)… well, he keeps preaching on how Christians need to be ready to endure hardship. This life may just get harder and harder, he says. These are the “birth pangs” of the last days. The Lord’s return is just around the corner.
THE BOTTOM LINE
He may well be right. For sure, suffering is a given. And the Lord’s return is a sure thing, whether it’s next week or still years from now. Point is, we don’t know…. when. But we do know what we’re supposed to be doing until then, and that is simply living for him and seeing how many people we can bring along with us into his glorious kingdom.
It always boils down to that, doesn’t it? Nothing else really matters when you take the big picture (eternal) perspective.
And that’s why God has you there… wherever you are. To live for him. And that’s why we’re way over here. Bringing God’s Word to the Palawanos.
Thanks for praying for us and we continue to reach Palawanos. God is working in lives here. Just today Arturo stood up in church and taught from the newly-translated book of Acts, exhorting everyone to be encouraged in the Lord and to be a witness to the community. Two others wanted to buy their copies of Acts after church.
It’s a blessing and a privilege to be a part of this. Even at $13 a gallon.
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