Hit by a Motorcycle, May, 2002
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Johnson Journal
Dear friends,
It's a terrible feeling to watch a motorcycle hit the front of your car.  The cyclist is not protected and just flips over the hood.  That's what happened to Kay and I last Monday.
We had just loaded up the car to take a load of stuff to a friend's house.  It was raining and rush hour.  At the intersection leaving our urbanization, a taxi stopped to let me cross.  I looked the other way to make sure it was clear and the next thing I knew a young man was rolling over the hood of the car.  In Caracas there are thousands of "motos".  They operate as a messenger service and zip between lanes of traffic to get to their destinations.  They are a law unto themselves.  When one moto goes down, dozens can gather around to support their fallen comrade.  It can be scary.
Moments after the accident, two ladies appeared.  They were not only cousins of Giovani, the cyclist, but evangelical Christians that attend the church of a missionary friend of ours.  A little later a man came up who attends another related church in the barrios.  He remembered that I had preached there.  So from the beginning they assured Giovani that we would not try to get out of our responsibility.  And the congegation of cyclists never materialized.  Also, we took Giovani in for X-rays, and fortunately he didn't have any fractures.
In Venezuela it is not easy to define one's responsibility.  In the states if there were an accident at an intersection, both parties would be somewhat at fault.  You wait for the police and they make an accident report.  In this case, the policeman made out the accident report assigning the blame to me, and then asked me for a bribe, saying that he would tear up the ticket if I paid him.   I explained that as a Christian I could not do that, that I would assume whatever responsibility was mine.  The result is about a $150 ticket, I think.  I'm not sure, because I was told to go to a bank to pay it, and neither that bank or any other we've tried knows anything about paying a ticket.  Apparently, most people pay the bribe!
We are leaving the country, so it would be fairly easy to just let it ride and pay nothing.  The problem is that in order for Giovani to get his motorcycle repaired, he needs our insurance.  To get insurance, he needs the accident report.  To get the accident report, I need to pay the ticket, make a court appearance, and go to the insurance office to get the proper forms.  Even then, the insurance is not likely to pay.
So, just when we're trying to finish well and pack and sell 15 years worth of accumlated stuff, this complicated process appears on our doorstep.  We still have quite a bit of furniture to sell.  I'll end the story here, except to say that hopefully you can see why we count so much on your prayers!
On a more positive note, you prayed for Sonia Carmona last week, and she had her operation for a collpsed uterus yesterday.  She came through the operation well and will be released today.  Teresita continues to recover in Medellin.  Church today was good, with a packed house, good worship and preaching.
Ivan Carmona was preparing an evangelistic Bible study for our cell group at work.  He was going to do it at home, but it started raining hard, so he stayed in his office.  A couple of salesman started looking over his shoulder as ha worked on his computer, and he ended up doing the Bible study with them.  They are both interested, so please pray for Osvaldo and Nelson.
As always, thanks for your prayers.  We need them!