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magicbus.gif (16147 bytes)

This page describes the bus ministry
of Windward Bible Church

(Updated November 2007)

NOTE: We are currently setting up a fund to get another bus. Click here to go directly to that page. We sold our old 1991 Toyota HiAce last year with it having some 360,000 miles on it and being worn out. You may contact us directly if you would like to help. Click here if you would like to donate through our website.

Here we present an overview of the vehicles that we are using in the ministry. Up until recently, no one who attends our services had a vehicle to use to drive to services. Of the individuals and family that attend WBC, most live over one mile away. Thus, we must transport them all ourselves, as is still the case most of the time. During a typical service, we will have 25 people and more that come. Sometimes we have as many as in the mid forties who come. In those cases both buses are stuffed so tight that mosquitoes cannot even find room to get in!

Currently and over the years we have people attending services from all of the following villages or communities on Carriacou:

  • Dover

  • Limlair

  • Belvedere

  • Belair

  • Bogles

  • Experiment

  • Hillsborough

  • Beausejour

  • Brunswick

  • Six Roads

  • Harvey Vale

  • Mount Pleasant

Many of the above areas are depicted on a map posted on LCM in the section entitled "Carriacou Points of Interest." The transportation for our congregation is a major need when one considers the size (~3 X 7 miles) and topography (very hilly and mountainous) of Carriacou. The need is even more intense when one considers that we have many small children and some adults above 80 years of attending our services.

In the past we have hired drivers to run their 'transports' or 12 to 18 passenger 'buses' (or minivans) to transport our people to and from services. But, we had many problems with promptness and dependability. Moreover, the cost is prohibitive because of the increase fuel costs (about $4.00 US$ per imperial gallon) that has to be passed on to those who pay for the service. Some of the roads were so bad in places that some drivers would not even consider running for us. And, the evening services require the drivers to run at night, to which most are understandably reluctant to commit.

The good news is that many of the roads on Carriacou are currently in much better shape! There are several sections that need replacing or repair. Thus, our vehicle are easier and less expensive to maintain. Using each bus enable us to pick up and return our folks back home in 40 to 50 minutes each way. Using one vehicle increases the pickup time to one to about one and half hours. The driving alone often leaves us weary after each service.

Since the fall of 2007, we have had to make two or three trip for some services, both in bringing people to services and taking back home afterwards. This requires us to leave home 1 to 1 ½ hours before services to pick up everyone, and we often start ten to fifteen minutes late due to having to wait for some. With two buses, Linda and I both can usually leave home about 45 minutes before each service and get be back early enough to start on time. We also like to have a time of casual fellowship after each service. But because we know that we will have to make two trips, we must leave with the first load almost immediately after each service. This hinders the sense of church family and growth of our church. It also means that we get children home later that I would like on Sunday and Wednesday nights, since the children must be up very early the next morning to catch their buses to school. There are also those occasions when we could have a flat tire or encounter other problems that could leave us and our folks stranded with no way to get them home with only having one vehicle at our disposal.

There are also times that we use the vehicles to transport people to and from the doctor, clinics, and hospital. Sometimes we also use them for real emergencies. For example, several years back a friend was visiting us from the US and we were out in the Vista one evening returning from a store. We were flagged down to pick up a woman who was on her way to the hospital, to have a baby. After I picked her up I soon discovered that her birth pangs were only one minute apart! Needless to say, I popped the Vista into 4 wheel drive and shoved the accelerator down to get her to the hospital before we had to deliver her baby!

The vehicles we currently have in use are described in the following links:

Click on the thumbnails of each images to enlarge them.


1999 Toyota HiAce 'Bus'

(Japanese right hand drive vehicle)

It is powered by a 2000 cc engine that has about 175,000 mile on it, which is not bad for this model. It gets 15 to 17 mpg, which is also not bad when you consider the loads we carry.

Thanks again for those that helped us get it. We praise and thanks the Lord for it! It has been a marvelous tool for ministry since we received it in June of 2005

It is designed to carry 18 passengers plus the driver comfortably. The chassis is heavily constructed and does not sage under the heavy loads. We hope to get many years of good service from this vehicle.

This bus has been providing good service, with the exception of replacing the radiator the latter part of 2007. We received this one in 2005 as a result of two gracious donations in 2004 and 2005. It has been a tremendous blessing to us, and our folks. 


1987 Dodge Colt Vista
four-wheel drive station wagon

Vistarear.JPG (52245 bytes)

Vista from rear

Vistaundrrpair.JPG (49095 bytes)

Replacing suspension and drive train parts right before rear brake line failed

Vistainterior.JPG (51039 bytes)

Shot of interior showing worn upholstery

These photos show my son (Jeshua) and me removing the drive train to make needed repairs to the engine and gearbox (transmission)

(Approx. 145,000+ miles and all original)
2 Liter multi-port fuel injected Mitsubishi imported by Chrysler

Since WBC began in 1992 we have been using our seven passenger, four-wheel drive, 1987 Dodge Colt Vista station wagon to transport some of our people for services. It has often had many more than its stated capacity crammed into it. Sometimes we have had up to 14 adults and children stuffed into it. We have logged some 50,000 on it since bringing it to Carriacou in 1991. The heavy loads and the rough roads have taken a toll on it.

Over the last couple of years I have replaced valve seals, brake master cylinder and wheel cylinder seals and cups, front McPherson Strut assemblies, rear shocks, both front half shaft assemblies, inner and outer tie rod ends, ball joints, strut rods and bushings, the battery, and two motor mounts. We had the seats recovered in 2000 and in 2003, I replaced the generator and the rack and pinion power steering steering gearbox. In 2005 I removed the drive train to replace engine and transmissions seals, the timing belt, clutch, pressure place, and throw-out bearing.

After returning from furlough in June of 2007, we discovered that the Vista's body and interior has more damage. The gearbox shifter also locks up at times, and getting it into reverse is very difficult and iffy. It will not longer start as I suspect that the starter is worn out. This vehicle has been retired from service since September of 2007. It needs more work and dealer only parts are hard to impossible to find since Chrysler and Mitsubishi have apparently gone their separate ways according to what dealers in the Charleston, West Virginia area told me back in 2004. When we get another vehicle, I hope to be able to give it to someone here that may get a little more use out of it before it becomes scrap metal. 


1979 Honda CX-500 Custom Motorcycle

79HondaCX500.JPG (58165 bytes)

1979 Honda CX-500 Motorcycle

(27,000 miles and still original equipment)
Water cooled 500cc twin cylinders with dual carburetors and closed drive-shaft

Riding a motorcycle on Carriacou is indeed enjoyable at times, but it is more of an economical necessity. When you consider the rough roads that assault vehicle suspensions, the high fuel costs, cost of insurance and maintenance, riding a motorcycle makes good sense.

Many trips require only me or only me and one other person. The motorcycle works fine in such cases. I can also make much better time on the bike due to its increased suspension range and low mass making it much more agile on the rough roads.

The engine of this bike is still original. I currently need to rebuild the front forks and the carburetors (I have parts on hand already). A couple of years back when I ran it last, it did smoke, burn oil, and ran like a rocket is exploding behind it when pushed (which is not very often)! It also uses a closed drive shaft as opposed to a chain to deliver drive to the rear wheel. It is basically maintenance free and requires that I merely get on, hit the starter, and take off. Yet, a couple of seals (clutch control shaft, etc.) have slow leaks that I also plan to replace with the parts I have on hand..

The salty sea blast here has tarnished the chrome parts and paint terribly. It would be nice to have chrome parts re-chromed while in the US on furlough in 2006. I also plan to have the chassis repainted. I already have the necessary parts and I plan to dismantle the bike down to the frame as soon as I get some more work done on our rented meeting place at our new location in Windward.

I estimate the cost for restoration of the bike at around $2,000.00. To bring another bike like this to Carriacou in good condition (some six years old for example) could cost as much as $5,000.00 to $7,000.00 (US$). One man here has a 1984 Harley for which he is asking nearly $7,000.00! The Honda has a real wide seat that makes it comfortable to ride.smilewrysmll.gif (1100 bytes)

This bike is not only fun to drive, but also a real asset and money saver to us here on Carriacou. It is fairly heavy (450-500 pounds) and rides pretty good, especially when the front forks are working properly.

On Christmas day in 2000, I hit a cow that jumped out of the brush and right in front of me. I broke my leg and had to go to the US for surgery and therapy. The emergency medical furlough lasted 10 months. The bike was not hurt that bad. I busted the third party cowling and the headlight. However, all the but the cowling has been repaired. My leg was to weak to right the bike and steady it when sitting still for about three years after the accident. However, I had not felt like working on it, nor did I have time to work on it for several years. It is currently stored in my basement.

As of November of 2007, I am thinking of selling it as is with all parts I have on hand. I really need it to save on trips to town to the post office and other little errands. This is especially important since gas is now a little over $4.60 US an imperial gallon! If I do sell it, I would like to get another to use.


Summation

Vehicles are a necessary and integral part of life here on Carriacou. But doing small repairs only when needed to keep them going not only cost money, it also consumes precious time that is needed for ministering to more spiritual needs. Thus, I believe it is prudent to invest funds to properly improve the dependability, performance, and visual appeal of the these vehicle so that we may focus more on the spiritual needs and ministry of WBC.

Walter Robinson II
November 2007

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