Wednesday, April 27, 2022

My First Car as Pastor

I gave up everything when I entered full-time ministry in 1994. I came back to Sabah with zero savings, zero money. I drove the College's van for the first year when needed for official duties and I rarely made the rocky trip to Kota Belud township over 90 mins. Now it is only about half an hour on tarred roads. When I served in the HQ for 3 years, as treasurer I sourced and raised funds to purchase cars for my colleagues and at the end I got to drive a 1.5L Proton Saga which took me to over 30 villages from mid-1997 to the end of 1998. Before that I drove a 20-year old van which manual hand-gear and iron rods sticking out of the driver's seats which I covered with newspapers and cushion. I drove that old van twice to Telupid from KK and back about 4.5 hours one way without air-condition. It was not until the end of 2001 when I received news that my Otago PhD grant was going to be increased by NZ7,000 for my final year that I considered buying my own car. I saved up for a third of the price and took out a 3-year loan on a Kancil 660CC.

Even now when I think of my first car as pastor, I wondered how I managed to drive up to Mount Kinabalu with four people with my wife, son and an exchange student from Canada. It must have helped that the passengers were not overweight. I drove my Kancil until there was a family need of my wife driving back and forth the hospital caring for our newborn daughter. So I bought a 2nd car, a Kenari which was underpowered as I remembered driving back to Tambunan was a chore because it was so slow and I could not pass heavy vehicles in front of me. My 3rd car, a 1.3 Myvi which I still own was bought at the end of 2009 about 18 months into my sojourn in Singapore so that we took holidays back home in Sabah we had a vehicle to drive around. Last year we almost sold the car as it is getting past 12 years old now but decided to keep it as the mileage is still reasonably low and maintenance costs are affordable as well. It was not until I bought my Kia Picanto in 2018 that I began to learn about cars with watching numerous You-tube videos on car reviews. At the end, it was the cheapest non-national car and I am still extremely happy with it now that it is coming to four years of ownership. In all my vehicles' ownership, I give thanks to God, never rushing or spending beyond my budget and sticking to my principle of never borrowing for a period of more than three years. God be praised who visits His children and care for them - "What is the son of man that You care and visit, O Lord" (Psalm 8).

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