Trained Circus Poodles

Attēlu rezultāti vaicājumam “gifs dancing poodles”

I’m no trained poodle!

Greetings from Tallinn, Estonia!

Lars runs a prophetic school from his home in the south of France.  Yesterday he announced that he had no program for our meeting with the local church.  He said that he was just going to release us to prophesy over the locals.  My response was: “I’m not a trained circus poodle.  If I get a word for someone there, I will give it, but I’m not going to perform for you.”

Of course the reality was wonderful and humbling.  When Lars finished his introduction, he announced that we will prophesy: first to the group as a whole, and then to individuals.  He advised them to record the prophesies and then write them down and see what God has to say to them.

He started off, then invited us to jump in if we got a word.  Well, almost all of us did have a word for the group.  It was very instructive and encouraging for them.  Then we began prophesying to individuals.  Prophesy flowed very freely.  Each of us prophesied to at least one of each of them.

Then Lars reversed it and invited them to prophesy to us.  They were shy at first, but again prophesy eventually flowed.  Here’s what one girl prophesied over me:

I see waves.  God is taking you somewhere, but He’s also holding you as you rock on the waves.  You are in the right place.

Once again, mine is a water prophesy (see Mutual EncouragementThe Prophecy Fulfilled, and Lessons in Floating).  She was encouraged to know that she had hit the bullseye.  I guess we can all be trained circus poodles when it suits God’s purpose.  God is good!

Watch Your Mouth!


Don’t undo your blessing with your mouth!

And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak, (Matthew 12:36).

Perhaps it’s because I’ve been a follower of Jesus for 50 years now, but I am absolutely appalled at some of the things I hear people say.  Yes, the people in movies and popular songs use offensive language more and more, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  It’s the things I hear fellow believers say that shocks and saddens me.  Some of them do use the language of movies and popular songs, revealing the old computer programmer principle: garbage in, garbage out.  But I’m not even really talking about that.  I believe that as they follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit will clean up their language[1].

What I’m talking about is a different kind of language that is even more insidious: faithless talk.  Now, I’m not saying that these believers don’t have faith.  I know that they do.  But their mouths reveal a shallow kind of faith: one that trusts God for the sweet by-and-by, but not for today’s needs.

For example:

“None of my prayers are being answered!”

Of course not!  If you’re saying that, your guardian angel is reporting back to God like this: “She says that none of her prayers are answered.”  So the angel doesn’t bring you back God’s blessings that you’ve been praying for because of what it hears you saying.  Angels are completely humorless and very literal.  They will do for you as they hear you professing and confessing.  They don’t understand that you’re just joking when you say, “I forgot to bring an umbrella, so of course it’s going to rain!”  They are under orders from God to listen to you and help you.  If your angel hears you say, “I never seem to have any money at the end of the month,” you have effectively tied its hands and it cannot help you.  In fact, if the angel did something different from what it hears you say, then it has disobeyed God’s orders.

Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation, (Hebrews 1:14, emphasis mine)[2].

“It [the bad situation] must have been God’s will to teach me patience in suffering.”

That may be exactly the reason for the bad situation, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  It might be that allowing the bad situation was the only way that God could get you to quit rushing around and to listen to Him.  We have been so conditioned by this world to do, do, do, that sometimes we forget that the most important thing on our daily agenda is to spend time in God’s presence.  So don’t just do something, pray!

“I’m just praying for God’s will.”

This sounds so pious.  It’s like saying: I’m praying, but letting God decide how He wants to answer.  Friends, this kind of prayer takes no faith whatsoever.  This is a lazy and unbelieving prayer.  God responds to faith, but this is manipulation more than it is faith.  This is “Jesus take the wheel,” not faith.

This next one is even more lazy than the faithless prayer:

“Will you pray for me?  I need to know whether I should . . . or not.” 

The reason I say that this one is even more lazy is because if you have a relationship with Jesus, then you should be able to get your answer straight from Him.  You shouldn’t need an intermediary every time you need to make a decision.

If you are unable to hear from God you:

  • Don’t have enough of God’s Word in your heart and mind;
  • Are rushing through your prayer time;
  • Are filling up your prayer time with your own words instead of taking time to listen; or possibly . . .
  • Have failed to act on the last thing God told you to do.

That last one is rebellion.  If you can still do the thing God told you to do, you should do it immediately.  If it’s no longer possible, then you need to confess it, repent for not obeying, and obey immediately the next time He tells you to do something.  Nothing will stop you from hearing God’s voice like disobedience.

“I feel called to the mission field, but . . .”

Friends, everything that follows that “but” is wrong, lack of faith, and disobedient.

  • . . . I’ve got kids.

Really?  You think that God doesn’t know that you have kids?  If God calls parents to the mission field, then He’s also calling the kids.  And often the kids are better at sharing their faith than their parents are.  Your kids can tell your cranky neighbor that he needs Jesus—and he’ll actually listen to them.  Some of the most amazing missionaries I know grew up as MK’s (missionary kids—though it is not a guarantee, of course).

  • . . . I can’t just pick up and go.

Really?  And you think that you can tell God Almighty no?  As one who did that, I can tell you, things are so much better when you do them God’s way.  It’s a good thing for me that God is very, very merciful because although I walked a very tough and painful path (of my own choosing), He didn’t punish me like my disobedience deserved.

  • . . . where am I going to get the money?

When God tells you to go somewhere, He will always supply the means necessary to get you there.  If you find the faith to go despite not having the money, then you will also find that God is faithful.  He will never let you down.

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 4:19, emphasis mine[3]).

*sigh* All we can do is pray.”

Whenever I hear this I want to shout: “Hallelujah!  Now God can finally work in this situation!”  Why do we use prayer as a last resort?  I’ve gotten into the habit of taking everything, every situation, every person, every need: both great and small straight to my Heavenly Father who cares intimately and infinitely for me.  And do you know how God often responds?

I will answer them before they even call to Me.  While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers! (Isaiah 65:24, emphasis mine).

Many times I have seen the answer before I’ve finished praying.  I think God does far more this for people who use prayer as their first resort.  So what kinds of things do I pray about?  Everything!  I’m always surprised when people tell me (with an embarrassed tone): “I pray for a good parking place.”  I not only pray for a good parking place, but I proclaim that God has given me a parking anointing.  Now, sometimes I get a parking place that is where I want it.  Other times I get a parking place where I need to be, but didn’t know it.  For example, I have found people’s wallets by my parking place (who better to return the wallet intact than someone who will also return everything that’s inside of it, too?).  Other times I have parked farther away because there was someone I needed to meet on the walk to or from the place I’m going.

Not only do I have a parking anointing, I also have a transportation anointing.  I started proclaiming this before I actually saw it: proclaiming and thanking God for a transportation anointing.  And after consistently doing this, I was soon arriving at bus stops just before the arrival of the bus, and often finding a seat when I needed one.  Whenever I missed a bus, train, or flight I looked around to see what the Kingdom Purpose for missing it might be.  Often there would be someone I needed to talk to or pray with.  And always there would be an extra measure of grace (and funds) for replacing the ticket.  And I believe that the reason I received that extra measure of grace is because I never got upset about a missed conveyance.  I kept my mind Kingdom focused.

That’s the secret in a nutshell:

Keep your mind Kingdom-Focused!

And never forget: God is good!

[1] And of course that process will be helped by them spending more and more time in God’s Word and in God’s presence.

[2] See the whole chapter to understand the context.  And remember never, ever tell the angels what to do.  Instead, ask God for angelic help.  The godly angels take their orders only from God.

[3] Again, read from verse 10 to understand the context.

Celebrating Jerusalem’s 50th


Here’s a picture of a bird I did not shoot.

I was invited to a celebration for the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem into Israel.  Since it was being celebrated here in town, of course I wanted to go.  As often happens, God has a secondary purpose for going to the event.

The person who invited me was Deborah, my filmmaker friend.  I recently met Eleanora (see A New Friendship Blossoms) who is a retired professional actress.  Deborah’s good friend, actress Barbara Sanua, has gone home to be with Jesus.  And although Eleanora is a good deal older than Barbara was, she could still possibly do some acting for Deborah.  A filmmaker needs actors, and Deborah has used many non-professional actors.  But a professional—especially an Italian—could be a real blessing for her films.  Thus, with Eleanora’s permission, I brought her to the event to introduce her to Deborah.

It rained and rained all day, but the event was held in an arcaded courtyard.  Once the introductions were done, Eleanora was fascinated with the celebration.  Hebrew Roots is even newer to Italian believers than it is to Americans.  But it is also growing here.  So there were Jews, Messianic Jews, and Hebrew Roots Christians in attendance—a beautiful thing to see in a country that once collaborated with Hitler in the rounding-up of Jews into ghettos and eventually concentration camps.

In the course of the day I also met Bruno.  I only knew Bruno through Facebook and our mutual friendship with Deborah.  Here in Italy, Deborah is very well-known and knows everybody.  Bruno had lived many years in Oregon before returning to Italy to care for an aging aunt.  The aunt has since passed away.  Bruno was very happy for the opportunity to speak English, which he does with hardly a trace of an Italian accent.  I enjoyed talking with him.  It’s really nice when a Facebook friend turns out to be someone you also like knowing in person.  Bruno seems like a real gentleman in every sense of the word.  Too bad that he lives at the other end of the country.  But who knows, we could meet up again sometime.

Eventually the rain and cold got to Eleanora and also to me.  We decided to go home.  Deborah asked Eleanora if she could get a ride to the train station.  She didn’t really need to go to the train station, but near the train station there are lots of phone repair shops that have all sorts of phone gadgets.  Since my house was on the way, she dropped me off first.  I said my goodbyes and my two friends (who are now friends with each other) and they drove off into the misty rain.

I recently had a conversation with my son, Tim (the translator of my books).  He asked me if I had ever shot a gun.  I shocked him by saying that I have shot both rifles and a pistol.  I love shooting rifles, pistols not so much.  The only thing I didn’t like about shooting was that my first target was a bird.  I shot it right through the head and it dropped like a stone.  I instantly hated and loved it.  I hated that I had killed the bird, but I loved the satisfaction of shooting.  So I changed to old bottles and cans, which were much better.  There is something very satisfying about shooting and seeing the bottle shatter or the can jump.  I told Tim that I shoot a rifle left-handed, sighting with my left eye.  He was surprised because I am so dominantly right-handed that I really only use lefty to hand things to righty or to hold things steady for righty to fix.  But I explained: my right arm is stronger and therefore steadier for holding the rifle still.  All the left hand has to do is gently squeeze the trigger.  The reason why I prefer a rifle to a pistol is because a pistol is held with both hands, elbows locked, and I found it harder to sight with a pistol.  My ex’s 22 rifle was just the right size and weight for me.  Although I haven’t shot in a long time, I would love to do some shooting again.

Today was like shooting: very satisfying.  I shot two birds with one stone today—in a manner of speaking.  It’s been a really good day.  God is good!

Fall Safe

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Do you see the Altar?

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Now do you see it?

19 October 2016

The park director here at Timna had told me that we would have to move out of our deluxe tent into a regular tent for one night.  I agreed to the arrangement, while hoping that they would have a cancellation.  As the date for the move approached, Nina and I prayed to be allowed to remain.  Last night there was a ruckus caused by one of the new arrivals.  They had been asked to move because they had been assigned the wrong kind of tent.  The husband gathered up the kids, ready to move, but the wife pitched a walleyed fit, screaming, stamping her feet and slapping her hands together.  The park employee that had delivered the bad news began to retreat to the office.  She followed him all the way to the door, screaming the whole way.  When he shut the door behind him, she continued to scream, pacing and stamping her feet.  Finally she paused for breath.  She muttered to herself, occasionally throwing a hand to heaven, pacing all the while.

I watched, praying that it wouldn’t even cross his mind to ask nice women like me and Nina to move.  And that prayer was answered.  The screaming woman got her way, but we were not asked to move.  Perhaps the offered the true occupants of that tent a free stay in one of the regular tents.  I felt sorry for the park employee, but even more so for her poor husband.  No doubt he is very accustomed to her fits of rage.  He seemed like a nice fellow.

As the sun began to set Nina and I watched the shadow of the mountains climb up the mountain in front of us.  At the top of the mountain is a big rectangular structure that we have begun calling the Altar.  At a certain point, the whole mountain is in shadow except for the Altar.  It gave us holy goosebumps to see it lit up, as it were.

As I looked up at the Altar I remembered the time when I was little, no more than five years old.  I was hiking along the ridge top in Palo Duro Canyon with my family and the Phillips family (my parents’ best friends).  Everyone ahead of me went to the left of a cedar tree on the cliff path.  I went to the right and fell off the cliff.  I could have died that day, but I had landed comfortably on my back on a muddy outcropping, just four or five feet below the cliff—and about 100 feet or more above the canyon floor.  I was unhurt and not even frightened.  Margaret, my mom’s best friend, jumped down and rescued me, handing me up to my dad.

Then I remembered another time that I had fallen.  I was planting ground cover flowers on top of a retaining wall.  I was hugely pregnant and lost my balance.  I fell backwards off the wall, landing on my bottom on a big, soft bag of mulch.  Again, I was unhurt and not even very frightened (it had happened so fast).  My thirteen year old son was terrified because he had seen the whole thing.  I had to take some time to reassure him that I was fine, really fine.

In fact, looking back I can’t think of a single time that I’ve fallen from any height and hurt myself.  The worst falls I’ve ever taken have been at ground level, like when I broke my arm (see Summer in a Cast and God My Healer).

You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping, (Psalm 18:36).

God is my Fall Safe.  God is good!

The Gift of Presence


Suki praying in English with translation

My friend, Suki, was going to speak to a group at the church in Turin where I had visited just a few weeks ago (see A very Italian Allegory).  Although she was going to be in Turin for the whole weekend, I decided only to come Friday, returning to Milan in the evening.

Then Rosa contacted me about going to hear Suki speak.  Suki had introduced me to Rosa a few years ago.  She said that Rosa could benefit from a bit of encouragement from me, especially since I live close enough to actually visit her, which I’ve done a few times since.  Rosa had to work on Friday, but told me that she had the whole weekend free.  I have an invitation for Sunday morning, but I changed my idea from a daytrip on Friday to a daytrip on Saturday to accommodate Rosa.  We met at the train station and went to Turin together.  The trip from Milan to Turin on the high-speed train is under an hour, but once in the city, it took us almost two hours to cross town to get to the church.  Part of this was the Saturday bus schedule and part of it was the weather: it was raining.

Seeing that we were going to be significantly late, I wanted to pray, but Rosa chattered and chattered.  So I sent up a quick prayer for Suki.  In fact Rosa talked non-stop (in Italian) from the moment we met until we arrived at the church.  My ears were in serious need of rest.

Now, I don’t mean any of this against Rosa.  She’s a precious sister in Christ who feels desperately lonely for Christian fellowship.  She’s not allowed to talk about Jesus at work, and she lives with her mom who will hear nothing of her Christian talk.  Her mom had a boyfriend who was into tarot cards and other occult stuff.  Rosa has a neighbor, Gunther, who’s a believer.  But Gunther is so fixated on the demonic that he will talk about practically nothing else, harping on her mom’s need for deliverance ad nauseam.  So I understand Rosa’s need for a sympathetic ear.  This is why I didn’t silence her.  If I had thought that Suki was incapable of hearing from the Lord without my prayers, then I would have insisted on taking time to pray.  But as it was, the quick prayer was really all I did before we arrived at the church.

When we finally got there, Suki had been talking for an hour.  She grinned and introduced us before continuing with her testimony.  She had requested that I be there and pray for her because her testimony is quite long and there are any number of ways that she could tell it.  Hers is an especially important testimony for Turin, since Turin is not just the Italian, but the European capital for witchcraft and satanism (see Fashionably Early).

Suki gave her testimony the way the Holy Spirit led, and the response speaks for itself: there was only one person who didn’t come forward for prayer.  Some were delivered, some healed, and those who were in need of salvation received it.  All received a prophetic word from Suki that was encouraging and right on the mark.

Afterwards there was a luncheon arranged by the church.  Many of the people there remembered me from my visit last month.  They were pleased to see me again, and this time they were intentional about maintaining contact with me.  One person even offered a ride to the nearest subway station so that we could get back to the train station while remaining dry.

I have written before about the gift of presence (see The Matchless Gift of Presence).  It blows my mind to think that sometimes the most encouraging thing I can do is simply to show up.  This was definitely the case today.  Suki was encouraged.  Rosa was encouraged.  The people of the church in Turin were encouraged.  And really, I did little else than simply show up.  But then, it’s not me, it’s God in me.  God is good!


Impromptu Consultation

Joanna has her marching orders, and I have mine

Joanna, a young missionary living in Croatia, sent me a message today asking for prayer.  She is a native Croatian who has ventured out of her country only once—and that is when we met in Sarajevo.  Joanna said that she was invited to go to India and partner with a missions organization there.

Joanna has had quite a struggle with her faith.  She’s 23 years old, and the first believer in her family.  Her mother has given her a lot of trouble, even throwing her out of the house.  Her father (who is divorced from her mother) treats the whole thing with indifference, like it’s just another fad in her young life.  The economy is not terribly strong in the Balkans, so Joanna has had a constant struggle to find money to finish her education.  But God has always come through for her right when the money for the next semester is due.  And I have been her prayer support through all the drama in her life.

So today she said that she wanted prayer to know whether she should go to India, and how on earth she was going to pay for the trip.  She has been saving her money for a trip to Israel.

I told Joanna that the real issue is this: is God calling her to go to India?  When she knows the answer to that question, then she’ll know what to do: stay home and continue to save money for Israel or be obedient and go, trusting that God will provide.

After a few minutes Joanna sent me another message, saying that her friend had a great idea: tell God that if He wants her to go to India, then He needs to provide her with the money.  I responded that it takes no faith to put such a challenge before God.  Most likely, He simply won’t play the game at all.  I brought her back to my original answer: she must know whether God is calling her to India, and then respond in obedience.  God will honor obedience.  What He won’t do is perform like a trained poodle.

A few minutes later another message came from Joanna: God is calling me to India!  And even though she doesn’t know where the money will come from, she’s very excited to have that clarity and direction.  Often we just need to get quiet and ask God about our next steps.

I recently had to make such a faith decision, myself.  I had heard about a conference in Idaho.  Of course the subject is one that fascinates me: prophecy.  But the thing that really made me want to go and be there is this: they will have an excursion out to the side of a mountain to watch the total eclipse of the sun pass over the United States.  God often calls me to go to things like that.  The problem is that this is in August, perhaps the most expensive time to cross that ocean.  It’s already a lot that I do it once a year, but twice?  I really needed clarity from God on that.

First I tried to rationalize it, saying to myself: if I go to the US, I can spend a month editing my book at home, where it won’t be an expensive place to go, and my meals are all provided for me.  But I still didn’t feel good about it.  I only got clarity on whether to go or not when I spent quiet time talking and listening to God.  That’s when He told me: “I brought this conference to your attention because I want you there.  So I bought tickets, booked a room, booked the flights, and notified my family.  Of course, they were thrilled.

Where’s the money coming from?  I don’t know that’s not my problem.  Mine is simply to obey.  God is good!

Mutual Encouragement

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The Timna oasis at dawn

For the past several years I’ve been friends on Facebook with Miriam.  She had visited Italy and felt God’s call here, but began suffering issues from a trip to Africa sometime previous to the visit.  The doctors told her that it was some kind of parasite.  So she began treatment and asked for prayer.  I committed to pray for her every Friday morning.

One day a few weeks ago, God released me from my prayer commitment.  I didn’t tell Miriam because I didn’t know what that release might be saying to her, to me, or both.  The next thing I knew, Miriam announced that she was visiting Italy.  I took this as a very good sign for both her health and for coming to Italy as a missionary.  Both thrilled me because it showed me that I had truly heard from God about praying for her health.  It also represented an answer to my daily prayer for more missionaries to this mission field.

I sent Miriam a message, asking if it would be possible to meet.  I wanted to meet her in person because we really only knew each other on Facebook and through our mutual friends.  I also wanted to tell her about God releasing me from the commitment to pray for her healing.  But her answer came back that she has been very busy with planning her daughter’s wedding.  She was too tired to commit at that moment.  I realized that she may still be suffering symptoms, despite God’s release.  I gave her my phone number.  She responded that she’ll only be in Milan on Saturday and Sunday, the last week of April.

I had an appointment with missionaries in Turin that Saturday, but I just left it up to God to connect us or not.  Upon returning from Turin I found a message from Miriam waiting for me, saying that she would be teaching on Sunday afternoon at a local church I like to visit.  Immediately, I knew I wanted to go see her.

It had been several months since I had visited this church, but surprisingly, I remembered how to get there.  I found the church as friendly as ever.  Miriam came in just before the service was to start.  She saw me and came to say hi.  I think my presence encouraged her, as is often the case.  Sometimes just showing up is very encouraging.

Miriam gave a great message, and it was followed by a very intense time of seeking God.  Several of us were called out as people with a special burden—including me.  I fell to the floor and groaned in birth pains.  I understood what it meant, too: prayer.  I am birthing something in the spiritual atmosphere in prayer.  Then there was a time of prophesying.  Several people got prophetic words, including me.  Miriam came to me (I think I was still on the floor) and said to me: “The wind of the Spirit is blowing over you.”

Immediately I got the image in my mind of the oasis at Timna, when the wind whipped up ripples across the surface of the water.  As early as 1976 the words oasis and spring were pronounced over me prophetically (see The Prophecy Fulfilled) about my present ministry.  So I understood that the oasis in the vision was me.  The wind was the Holy Spirit moving in my life.  Then in the vision my attention was drawn to the paddle aerator in the center of the oasis.

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You can see the white water splash of the aerator just in front of the pergola

While we were at Timna Park in October (see Desert Foxes), someone nightly turned the aerator off because it makes noise.  I found the noise soothing, but I guess someone there didn’t.  The problem was that they didn’t bother to turn it on again in the morning, and the park employees didn’t always get to it right away.  Without the aerator, the water quickly became full of algae and the fish were endangered because of both the algae and the lack of oxygenated water.  So as I gazed at the vision in my mind’s eye, I heard the Lord say: “Stir up the gift that is in you.”

Then there was a time of testimony, and I told Miriam what I had come to tell her: that I had been released from praying for her health, and that I believe the reason is because she is already healed, even if symptoms remain.

When the service was over, I went to Miriam to tell her what her prophetic word meant to me.  She was encouraged.  I love how God will use two people like Miriam and I to encourage each other.

Now the thing I want to see is when God brings Miriam to Italy, and where He places her.  I know that He will do great things through her for this land, and that will be an answer to my daily prayer: Lord of the Harvest, please send more missionaries to this Harvest Field!  God is good!

Spiritual Symbolism Everywhere We Look!

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The replica of the Tabernacle of Moses at Timna Park in Israel

18 October 2016

Today Nina and I went to the Tabernacle.  A local Messianic congregation built a replica of the Tabernacle of Moses at Timna Park.  It brings more interest to the park, but the park didn’t want to have to guide tours through it.  Knowledgeable members of the congregation volunteer to lead tours through the Tabernacle.

Nina and I had been through the Tabernacle last year with Fabio and Sissy (her sister and brother-in-law) and Michael (her son)[1].  And that was amazing, but this year was even better.  For one thing, the guide was a whole lot better.  She could quote chapter and verse where the most intimate details of the Tabernacle point to Jesus as the Messiah.  And I mean every little detail (numbers, colors, materials used, forms, etc.) all has great significance and highlights Jesus as the Messiah.

At first I tried to translate for Nina, but the information came a whole lot faster than my ability to translate.  The guide gave me a card with their website: Berean to Berean, so that I could look all these things up on my own.

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Nine ostrich eggs

After lunch we went to Hai-Bar Nature Reserve, thanks to the suggestion of our new friend, Igal.  Many of the animals indigenous to Israel (most of them mentioned in the Bible) have been preserved or even restored from near extinction.  This is a drive-thru safari kind of park.  One of the first things I saw was an ostrich nest.  I counted nine eggs and pointed it out to Nina.  Her immediate response was: “Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit!” and we named them together: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control[2].”  I guess that after seeing all the symbolism in the Tabernacle, it had us thinking symbolically.

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Who would guess that something with such pretty eyes could be so aggressive?

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Now it’s trying to get through Nina’s window.  Go away!!!

I have never been in a drive-thru safari park before, so this was a new experience for both of us.  The car in front of us may have given an ostrich something to eat because it stayed by their car for a very long time.  Finally the driver blew his horn, which did absolutely nothing to deter the feathery aggressor.  Eventually it lost interest in their car and approached ours.  We couldn’t go around it because we would have had to leave the road to do so.  Nor could we back up or turn around.  So as the ostrich approached us in the middle of the single-lane road, we were sitting ducks.  When it got to us, the ostrich pecked at the hood and at the windshield, making Nina scream because it was very close to her.  Then it moved to Nina’s window, which she kept tightly closed.  It pecked angrily at the window.  Now that it was no longer in our way, I began to roll forward.  The ostrich kept pace with us as we gained speed.  But eventually its tiny birdbrain must have realized that it wasn’t getting a handout from us, so it gave up the pursuit.  It was the moment in my life that was most like the movie Jurassic Park.

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The ostrich was the only aggressive animal we encountered, and really only one of the many ostriches that we saw.  The rest of the animals paid no attention whatsoever to the metallic boxes rolling through their territory.

It was a very interesting day and lots of fun (aggressive ostrich notwithstanding).  I couldn’t wait to share with Igal how much we enjoyed his suggestion.  Who knows what tomorrow holds?  Only God!  God is good!

[1] See Rough Landing in the Holyland.

[2] Galatians 5:22-23.

An Impromptu Meeting

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La Svolta – watch the trailer

I had a missionary coming in from the US: Joey.  I had been planning on meeting him at the airport, but today Joey sent me a message saying that he was fine to catch a train from the airport into Milan.  This was great news because I had been invited to join another missionary at the train station: Christian filmmaker, Deborah[1], for a brainstorming session with Paolo, her principal actor.

So I let Deborah know that I will be joining her after all.  She wanted me there because in her words: “You’re a creative person.”  But really, I have nothing like Deborah’s talent and creativity—especially the visual kind.  I’m really just a words person.  I think the real reason to have me there is because we’ve been friends for about fifteen years now, and she just really wanted to see me, however briefly.  And perhaps my presence would add something else: someone who speaks her native language who can explain things in Italian, if needed.

The meeting went very well.  Deborah explained her concept for this new film she’s about to shoot.  The challenge of this particular film is that she wants to make it in both English and in Italian.  This was a point of some concern for Paolo, who doesn’t speak English.  He wants his English to sound good, and who can blame him?  His main concern was to get the script in both languages with enough time to do the part justice.  I love Paolo’s devotion to his craft.  He sees acting as his mission and mission field.  He is singularly focused on acting for the Kingdom.


Me, Deborah, and the immensely talented Paolo

After our meeting it was time for me to meet Joey.  We had arranged to meet at McDonalds in the train station.  It’s easy to find and there is only one in the station.  Plus, ask directions to McDonalds, and even if the person doesn’t speak English, they all know where McDonalds is.  Seth and Missy[2] had asked me to host Joey.  They wanted to meet me and Joey, too.

So I waited outside of McDonalds.  Before long I saw Seth, who introduced me to Kevin, another missionary.  The world of YWAM is small, indeed because they have a presence in virtually every free country, and their missionaries are encouraged to “try on” a few different places in order to understand where it is that the Lord is calling them.  So paths intersect all over the world, and that is such fun.  Kevin was passing through Milan and heading back to his mission field in the far east.  I love that Milan is such a great travel hub.  We literally see people from all over the world passing through.  The person who was missing was Missy.  Seth explained that she’s home recovering from a cold.  Never one to stand around and just wait, Seth said that he would go wait upstairs (on the track level) for Joey’s arrival.

Minutes later, Seth returned with Joey.  He said that Kevin had gone to buy his bus ticket to the airport.  When Kevin returned, we bid him farewell (or in Texanese: happy trails).  Then Seth and I escorted Joey back to my apartment, catching up on each other’s lives and getting to know Joey.  I have so many wonderful friends all over the world, and today I met yet another.  I love my life!  God is good!

[1] See The Dream Team is Coming!

[2] You may remember them from Meeting Missionaries in San Francisco.