It’s another hot and humid morning as you fill your backpack. Clothes, paperwork and toiletries are crammed in around as many Bibles as you can carry.
From the minibus you watch the jungle speed by, interspersed with occasional villages, shops and petrol stations. Then, after four hours, you reach the border. Your palms sweat. “Will I be allowed through? What if I’m stopped? What if they search my bag?”
You complete your paperwork, taking every precaution to avoid undue attention. You approach the officials to submit your forms, then the waiting game begins. “How long will it be? Do they suspect me?”
Finally, you’re called forward. Your passport is ready, your visa granted! You lift the heavy backpack once more, concealing the effort you’re exerting, then it’s a minibus into town. You’re half way there. The local guest house is basic but a shower, bed and fan are welcome relief.
The next day you take an early taxi to the river. Your passport is checked before you tackle the steep bank to the river’s edge. You cross a rotting plank, backpack and all, to the ‘speedboat’ - a wooden canoe with an engine attached. You’ve read about these in Lonely Planet: “Very fast, deafeningly loud, uncomfortable and rather dangerous.”
The engine roars and you’re off down the vast river, the boat jumping, bumping and swerving between driftwood and whirlpools at 50mph. As the monsoon rain begins to pour, you use every inch of your poncho to shelter from the bullets of water assaulting your face. How long O Lord?!
After six or seven hours of struggle you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. You’re there! You leave the boat, stretch your legs and haul your bag up the steep staircase.
As darkness falls you hurriedly hand 20 Bibles over to local believers. 20 families will receive God’s Word, in their own language, for the very first time. They will be strengthened, overjoyed, and eternally grateful. Perhaps one day you will meet them in glory; you can only wonder.
One thing’s for sure - you’d do it all again.