Vehicular Vernacular

If you've been following our family for any amount of time you know that we’ve had problems with our truck. With buying a used vehicle, and with the crazy roads here... who wouldn't end up at the mechanic regularly? Now here’s the situation. 

For two weeks our mechanic has put secondhand steering racks on our vehicle. I’ve been hoping that we can avoid buying a new steering rack for $1700. It’s not just the rack - to get our vehicle in good shape for this term we’re looking at spending $5000. We've known this was on the horizon - from the get go missionaries told us that we could expect our vehicle to last only three years.

We live 30+ minutes from town and drive about 1,400 kilometers per month. Having a 4x4 vehicle that can hold our growing family and 20 bags of groceries is a must. It's also critical for ministry with guests with airport runs and the massive piles of luggage, and visits to compounds or our neighbors in the bush. 

Sometimes this is what it feels like going to town...

When we purchased a newly imported '96 Landcruiser Prado for $12,000 almost 4 years ago it was a fantastic deal. The government had a concession for NGOs and ministries to buy imported vehicles duty-free. This was a big thing since the duty on our vehicle was more than $10,000. That's not a typo. 

A duty-free vehicle must be kept by the same owner for 60 months; selling it now means paying the pro-rated leftover duty, around $4000. The Zambian government has cancelled the concession for duty-free vehicles so to buy the same make and model vehicle will cost about $21,000. 

At $8 a gallon a little compact might seem practical but...

You can see this is complicated and we are asking for prayer as we try to figure this out! 

Basically we need to spend an additional $15,000 for the same vehicle we want sell. And I’m torn about it. We actually have money, thanks to some generous gifts while we were on furlough. But we were planning on spreading that money out over the next 3.5 years. Using it all would mean emptying all our accounts and having zero buffer. And how do we know that the new (used) vehicle won’t have all the same problems? What we need is a tank. 

Considering the traffic and road conditions this might be a good option.

So we need prayer, wisdom and faith. And if you’ve got a tax return you’re not sure what to do with, well...