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Family camping in Central America.    Grand Rapids, Michigan to the Panama Canal and back. 
Central American Camping
(Page two)
    Following is a summary of an experience I had with a person saying that he heard the audible voice of God, and my confirmation of that is what actually happened to him.

     While camping for a couple days in Guatemala, we met an American woman (Sandy Barker) camping there who told us that her husband (Joe Barker) had heard an audible,  authoritative voice speak to him while he was in the shower.  She said that the voice told him that he was to sell his possessions and travel to Nicaragua with his family and help a group of people who were suffering, and dying  because of a lack of clean water.  She assured us that she had not heard the voice, and asked us if we believed that her husbands story was possible.  My response was that the Bible tells of such events, but that I didn't know of anyone who had heard the audible voice of God.  I told her that I thought that it is possible and that I am listening.
    The next day they left  and headed south towards Nicaragua, and we continued to think about this family and their story.  We left soon after, watched them in the next camping spot, and camped with them in Nicaragua at their destination point.
        While camping near lake Nicaragua, Joe Barker told me that he was invited to meet with some Spanish Catholic Nun missionaries and agreed to let me go along with him.
        At that meeting the Nuns described the terrible situation being experienced by a large group of people who had to escape from their village because of death threats by political insurgents.  These people had escaped into the forest and were forced to drink from polluted water sources and needed a well dug for them.  They said that after several children had died, the village gathered with the missionaries and cried out to God asking that He send someone to help them.
        Joe Barker asked, "when did this prayer event happen!?  The missionaries described the date and time of the prayer event and Joe cried out, "that's when I heard a voice telling me to come here!"
         Now...that's only the beginning of the story.  The Barkers have stayed in Nicaragua for many years since that event. We have followed the ministry of the Barkers in Nicaragua.   It could only have been the direct guidance of God bringing them there to explain the many community development and personal salvation events that have followed.
        In our city and neighborhood, we have been involved in community development work for many years ( www.whereverGodwills.org/Service.html ) and are overwhelmed by the scope of the work that has been accomplished by God through Joe and Sandy Barker.  http://www.fishnicaragua.net/    Joe heard the audible voice of God and obeyed!


In Central America, personal safety dictates that travelers do not get on the road before 8:00 am and then must get off the road well before dark!  This is because there are bandits (sometimes police or army men) who stop vehicles with rocks or brush in the road at night when there is light traffic and under the cover of darkness.   SO... when we broke down in the El Salvador mountains at dusk, we were not  happy.

After hearing CRUNCHING SOUNDS from the area of the transmission, Bill crawled under the truck, disassembled the clutch housing and figured out how to get the truck to move.  Noises from under the truck seemed to indicate at first that some parts in the transmission had disintegrated but then LaVerne saw sparks coming out from under the truck when the clutch pedal was engaged.
      WELL...we put the transmission in second gear, turned the key and the engine
STARTED!  In second gear the truck can go about fifteen miles per hour.  As long as we didn't have to use the clutch we would be able to get out of there and somewhere safe.  We took the next hour and a half to reach Santa Tecla, El Salvador, dodging unlit vehicles, pedestrians, farm animals, and wagons in the road.
We stopped along the road at the locked entrance of a park for the night, getting assurance of our relative safety from people living nearby.  We had a truck that could  not even be driven into the limited security of the gates if they were open! 
    In the morning we found that the park,
Los Chorros, was a beautiful tropical water/garden park.  It reminds you of the kind of scene you would experience on a south sea island. 

Exotic pools of clear water, water falls, tropical flowers, lush vegetation and beautiful people


After some dismantling of the clutch we found that the clutch disk spring had become jammed against the pressure plate when the clutch was engaged.  Several attempts were made to cut or remove the spring but nothing worked.  The space available to remove the spring was too small! Since we have been home, mechanics have told us that it's an impossible task.   Bill  had to admit the problem could only be solved with special help from God and he asked for that help.  After about three hours of moving parts, levering spring tension, and fishing with a coat hanger wire, Bill saw that the spring was in his fingers, out of the clutch housing.  All Bill could say was," I don't know ... we all prayed, and it ended up in my fingers"! "Praise God!"


The problem made us grateful that God is not only the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills and master of the storm and sea but also God of the inch, the quarter inch and the cubic millimeter. We had to do the equivalent of getting something the width of a quarter through an opening the size of a dime.

The next morning we tried following an organized tourist caravan.  What would it be like to follow a caravan through Central America?  Never have to worry if you were on the right road when there were no signs for a hundred miles!  Never having to worry about being robbed with no one to call for help!   Well...following the caravan was easy but it also was like being chained to someone.  We had to travel at their pace, and start and stop when they did.
The line of travel trailers and motor homes ahead of us attracted a lot of attention.  We felt like we stuck out more and lost our feeling of looking  local. We did not see people moving about in their usual patterns.  Local people often stopped to see the caravan.  We followed along to the city of Grenada and camped with them at a beautiful lake side park on Lake Nicaragua.
Throughout our travel through Central America we were following the travel log provided by the Sanborn Insurance Company which notes landmarks all along the Pan-American Highway.  Driving at night in Costa Rica is nearly like driving in the United States.  There are seldom any animals, there is usually a good shoulder along the road, the marks on the road are clear, and the signs are readable.  We found the campground noted in our travel guide with a minimum of confusion .  During our stay in San Jose we worked in the building shared by the Christian Reformed Church and several other Christian agencies with whom the C.R.C. works.
We really enjoyed Panama for its beauty, the Panama Canal, the capital, and mountain sides.  Swiss and Italian people have expatriated there and it has an Alpine mountain feeling only fifty miles from the Pacific Ocean's palm fringed beaches.