Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cologne to Los Angeles

After the conference ended in Wiedenest I stayed on and had a couple of very quiet days. I purposely allowed a few extra days just to walk in the countryside and do a little thinking and meditating in preparation for my return to Los Angeles. There were only about 20 of the conference delegates left and little by little they departed on the Monday and Tuesday. By Tuesday evening there were only eight of us left.

Tuesday was an early start. A student from the Wiedenest Bible Institute took me to the airport leaving at 5.45 am. My flight for Heathrow, London, left Cologne at 8.35 am. Cologne is a quieter airport with Frankfurt to the south being much bigger and busier. I thought I may have encountered more delays at Heathrow, but no. Security was tight and strict but moved along pretty quickly. After an hour and a half in London it was a 10 hour flight to Los Angeles, flying over, Iceland, Greenland and Canada. It was interesting seeing Greenland with snow and ice and then with a clear demarkation give way to the tundra vegetation and small lakes.

Nancye met me at Los Angeles and it was then home to relax. The family was all somewhere else celebrating the 4th of July, Independance Day. We celebrated at home!

Later I will try and post a few photos of the conference.

Monday, July 02, 2007

SLOW train to Berlin - FAST train to Cologne

The Wiedenest Brethren Missions Conference officially finished on Friday. It was a most stimulating time giving a fresh vision of the work of the Lord world-wide. It makes us realise that we are not alone in the battle but that the Lord has His servants everywhere faithfully spreading the gospel. Of course there is still a need for workers as the harvest is great!

Earlier last week Brian Killins (missionary in Bogota, Colombia) mentioned to me that he would like to visit Berlin. That part is OK. However, late Friday night as I was enjoying a cup of tea around 10.00 pm he looked for me to say, Manuel Cortes, a Colombian brother from Bogota also wanted to join us, however, Manuel had to be back so as to return to Colombia on Monday. We would have to leave at 4.30 am on Saturday morning. I like the adventurous spirt of Brian and responded immediately with a "YES"!

The three of us left Wiedenest by bus soon after 4.30 am and arrived in Gummersback some 40 minutes later to stand on the railway station freezing while waiting for a train. After almost dying of cold in the frigid morning atmosphere we took the train into Cologne about an hour to the west. After a half hour wait we took the slow train to Berlin as between the three of us we purchased a family ticket that only cost 33 Euros. However, to get to Berlin (600 kms from Coogne) we had at least nine changes of trains and waits of over half an hour in each place, but it was good to sit back and enjoy the German countryside. There were crops of wheat, barley, sugar beet, corn, potatoes and millet to name a few. The German countryside is so green and well organized. It seems there is no waste land. There is either forest or farmland , apart from the villages. We passed through Dusseldorf, Essen, Hamm, Hannover, Braunschweig and Stendall to arrive in Berlin some 11+ hours later. We found a hotel and after a quick "rest" took to the streets on foot and by bus to see some of the sites. At dusk we went up the Berlin tower to see the city as the sun set. It is a very attractive and interesting city. After a meal at 11.00 pm we returned to the hotel and were up again at 7.00 am.

We tried to find a church nearby but to no avail. After a breakfast we took a tour and visited the downtown and government area - what remains of the Berlin wall, Check Point Charlie, what was East Berlin, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and much more. It was a very interesting morning. Earlier we had made the decision either to return on the torturous slow train or get the fast train. We opted for paying a bit more and taking the fast train. The fast train left at 2.00 pm and we were back in Cologne soon after 6.30 pm. What a difference as we flew acroos the countryside at speeds of up to 200 kph with no changes of train and just a few stops.

What an adventure! It made me nostalgic of missionary days in Colombia when would take off on adventurous evangelistic trips to remote villages. Oh for another life!!! We'll just have to wait for all that the Lord has prepared for us in the adventures of heaven.

Today I am going to relax. I purposfully allowed two free days at the end of the conference, when most have departed, to walk in the countryside, read, pray, meditate and prepare myself for returning to the demands and problems of the work in Los Angeles. Your prayers would be appreciated as we have a serious issue before us that is demanding our attention back in LA.