(This story is taken from a fantastic biography about Brother Andrew, called The Narrow Road)
The roads in Yugoslavia were extraordinarily hard on cars. When we weren’t climbing fierce mountain trails, we were fording streams at the bottom of steep valleys.
But the worst threat to the little VW was the dust. Dust lay over the unpaved roads like a shroud; it sifted in on us even through the dosed windows, and I hated to think what it was doing to the engine. Every morning in our Quiet Time, Nikola and I would include a prayer for the car. “Lord, we don’t have either time or the money for repairs on the car, so will You please keep it running?”
One of the peculiarities of travel in Yugoslavia in 1957 was the friendly road-stoppings that took place. Cars, especially foreign cars, were still such a rarity that when two drivers passed each other, they almost always stopped to exchange a few words about road conditions, weather, gasoline supplies, bridges. One day we were dusting along a mountain road when up ahead we spotted a small truck coming toward us. As it pulled alongside, we also stopped.
“Hello,” said the driver. “I believe I know who you are. You’re the Dutch missionary who is going to preach in Terna tonight.” “That’s right.”
“And this is the Miracle Car?” “The Miracle Car?”
“I mean the car that you pray for each morning.”
I had to laugh. I had mentioned the prayer in a previous meeting; the word had obviously gone on ahead. “Yes,” I admitted, “this is the car.”
“Mind if I take a look at her? I’m a mechanic.”
“I’d appreciate it.” I had put gasoline in that engine, and that was literally all since I had crossed the border. The mechanic went around to the rear and lifted the hood over the motor. For a long time he stood there, just staring.
“Brother Andrew,” he said at last, “I have just become a believer. It is mechanically impossible for this engine to run. Look. The air filter. The carburetor. The sparks. No, I’m sorry. This car cannot run.”
“And yet it’s taken us thousands of miles.”
The mechanic only shook his head. “Brother,” he said, “would you permit me to clean your engine for you and give you a change of oil? It hurts me to see you abuse a miracle.”
Gratefully we followed the man to his village a few miles from Terna. We pulled behind him into a little courtyard filled with pigs and geese. That night while we preached he took the engine apart, cleaned it piece by piece, changed the oil, and by the time we were ready to leave the next morning, presented us with a grinning new automobile. God had answered our prayer.
Open Doors, Brother Andrew with John & Elizabeth Sherrill, The Narrow Road, Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001, p. 159-161.