Our next real hope was the port of Piraeus, next to Athens for a trip across the rest of the Mediterranean. That was our dream and goal.
Every day we distributed scores of Pandita Ramabai tracts and collected pockets full of business cards. Xeroxing forty to fifty copies of P.R. Tracts was always very simple. We would go to an office and talk to a boss and then it was very rare that they turned us down. We always asked everyone we met who took a tract if they would like to make a contribution. Sometimes it was a few coins and sometimes it was generous notes and sometimes nothing.
We were always thankful and tried to get as many people to repeat what we call the sinners prayer. This went something like this. "Dear Lord Jesus please come into my heart. Forgive me for my sins and mistakes. Fill me with your Holy Spirit of Love and give me the free gift of Eternal Life." We must have prayed this prayer with about 10 to 20 people every day. This is something we still do today. It is amazing how people who pray this prayer even flippantly will remember the occasion.
In Brazil we hitched a lift with a man towards the end of our stay and when we asked him to pray the prayer with us he said that he already prayed this prayer with us three years before. On another occasion we prayed with three out of four young men who had stopped in their car. The fourth refused to pray and as they drove off we told the three that we would see them again in Heaven. A few minutes later the car reversed down the road and stopped beside us and the fourth guy said to please pray that prayer with him too. How many people do you meet in your life who ask you to pray a prayer like that?
Our cash credit was mounting and we had the equivalent of about 2000 US$. We would change all our foreign currency to Dollars as that was the preferred world currency at that time. This could be done in little booths in the towns we passed through.
The exciting thing about living and traveling this way was that we experienced the hand of God many times a day. We had to, as our situation was putting God on the spot moment by moment to take care of us. The number of lifts was mounting and we were trying to keep count of them but would forget in the excitement to keep exact records counting them and then forgetting the exact number.
Of course after 25 years it is pretty difficult to remember all the little details but the main interesting ones still stick out and also I have a previously rather badly written old manuscript to compare and draw on.
We were making awesome progress and Jesus our Spiritual Leader and guide was taking very good care of us. The cockroach episode was not dangerous and I think that maybe the Lord just wanted to show us a rougher side of life so that we would appreciate the good more and also to prepare us for the rough times ahead.
I have missed out one Hotel where we stayed somewhere in Yugoslavia. I think it was after we left Dubrovnik as we did not make it to Thessaloníki in one day. We stopped in some city on the way and I remember that there was a very noticeable spirit among the young people. They seemed pretty unhappy and very sour. They did not smile and it was very hard to talk to anyone about anything remotely spiritual. It was very hard to provision free meals and we had to make do with donated buns from a bakery as we were determined on the whole never to spend money. We were very thankful to eventually get out of this unusual country that was finding it very hard to adjust after the death of the famous Marshall Tito their very long standing President whose picture small and giant size hung in every place imaginable. In this small city whose name I have forgotten, we eventually found a free hotel from a very reluctant manager who was an avowed atheist. However God eventually touched his heart and he even gave us breakfast after saying that we would get none.
We arrived in Piraeus and found a very 1 or 2 star hotel close to the Port. The people here were much more friendly and after our usual devotional time with Jesus our spirits were up. We were able to get quite easily into the port area and we were ready for anything going West. We found a small freighter probably not more than 2000 tons that was going to Rhodes. Not very far but in the right direction. The Captain was happy to take us and we jumped on board early the next day as the ship had finished loading the night before and the sailors were allowed one more night ashore before sailing off the next day.
We spent one more night in our dockside hotel. Now it is important to remember that I was not expecting to write this story down and as I said we did not even have a camera. At that time we did not even own a camera but we did carry a small cassette recorder which used mini tapes and on these we recorded the words of the Bible to listen to as we went to sleep. I would always carry a luxurious short wave Sony radio as at that time we were very news oriented as our Missionary group were expecting the end of the world to happen at any moment. We were very busy trying to discern the signs of the times in relation to the end of the world and the second coming of Jesus Christ. The best that can be said for this was that we were all pretty up to date with current affairs. The BBC was our main source of information.
We arrived in Rhodes the next day in the early afternoon and berthed next to a ship that was very conveniently bound for Alexandria. We talked to the Captain about a lift and amazingly he said that it was no problem but to be on board before 6 pm that evening.
We walked around the center of Rhodes and then made our way back to our new ship. There was no sign of the nice captain that we had met previously but only a new guy who emphatically exclaimed that he had no intention of taking us. I think by now we were easily resigned to such happenings and just crazily believed that the Lord had a better plan. We did look like a pretty forlorn couple as we stood on the road leading out of the Port trying to thumb a lift back into the city.
Then the Miracle happened. A man stopped and we told him our sad story. He was very receptive and was amazed that we had gotten this far. The next ferry to leave Rhodes bound for Cyprus would be in one week. He drove us to the top of the city and we stopped outside a Pension that must have belonged to his friend. We waited in the car and then he came back smiling and we had a wonderful bedroom with a super view all for free with breakfast until the large passenger ferry would arrive in 6 days. Whether he paid for it or whether the owner gave us this for free we could not tell and never found out.
The Lord was now donating a weeks holiday for us on this beautiful and very interesting Holiday Island surviving entirely on Tourism. We hitch hiked around the Island exploring and witnessed the Son et Lumière show of the exploits of the famous Knights of the Crusades. This was a story of unrealized hopes. First the Knights were driven out of Jerusalem and then... (need to research this later)... And then Rhodes. They were thrown out of Rhodes and ended up in far away Malta. Hardly a success story. It dawned on me that God was not on their side using violence to try and keep the Holy land.
We had a few needs like for example a Bra for Irmgard and we would just go into a shop for Lingerie and ask the boss lady having explained our trip and got everything we wanted