Saturday, May 19, 2007

Another camera-phone gem

It's a men's hairdressers...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

"Randy Elrod Inspired"

Now, Randy is a friend of mine from Franklin, Tennessee, and he dreams up, hosts and convenes the annual ReCreate conference that I attended in February. See here, here, here and here. If you are a creative person in church ministry, You Need To Be There In February 2008.

Carlos is my blog-father, and Randy is his blog-father, so that makes Randy my blog-grandfather.

You will notice a new addition to the sidebar on the right, namely the "Randy Elrod Inspired Blogroll". This is a list of lovely blogs that you must go and visit and then come back and tell me which ones you liked the best. They are all really shiny and have interesting, informative and life-changing content. With the odd exception.

Have fun surfing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Going to Poland

I'm up to my eyeballs trying to get prepared for our trip. Felicity and I are going to Poland tomorrow night where I will be speaking at a worship conference in Warsaw. I'm really looking forward to it, and I know it's going to be great, but right now I'm up against the deadlines for preparing my talks. It hasn't helped that some of my day got chewed up by trying to pull some video files from a dvd, convert them into mpegs and then get them into a PowerPoint presentation. It took ages, and then although they play in Media player, they won't play in stupid PowerPoint. PCs make me cross.

Anyway, that was just a little rant to let off steam. Look out for some photos here from Poland in the near future, and please pray for us, and for the conference organisers, Scripture Union.

Oh yes, and the weather. Here it's been 37 degrees C - that's 100 for you Americans, and there the forecast is for rain and 15 degree (59 F) temperatures. I don't even own a rain coat...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another Amusing Cairo Photo

Of course it's no problem to serve beer to your pre-schoolers.

"John" update

Well, he's back. Came home yesterday, and has been reunited with his family. They need lots of time and space now to rebuild and restore. Please continue to pray for them.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Classic Merc

Those who know me well will be familiar with my penchant for classic cars. As I walked out of our gate this morning I found this beauty parked on the other side of the road.

It is a Mercedes-Benz 230.4 - dating from around 1974.

Now, old cars are a very familiar site on the streets of Cairo, but they are normally total wrecks. This on the other hand, was totally pristine. Even the interior, dash and seats seemed untouched by time - certainly not shot to pieces by the sunlight like every other thirty-five-year-old car here.

A horrible week

Had a good day at church on Monday, including a team meeting at my house, which is always nice, and then Tuesday was a national holiday, and the girls had to go to school, so Felicity and I took the day off, packed a picnic and headed out to Wadi Digla for a walk and some time together.

It was just wonderful, and we talked through some of the stuff that's been on our minds and just reconnected. If there had been daisies there then we would have been skipping through them.

I think it was God's way of preparing us for what was to come.

At about 5pm we got on a bus with some of the other church staff as we were all being treated to a river cruise by one of our church cell groups. We'd been on the boat about twenty minutes when someone got a phone-call from "Susan" to say that "John" was late coming home and had anyone seen him? So we asked around, and the last anyone had seen of him had been at about 11am. He never showed up for cell group - totally out of character, and he hadn't let anyone know where he was going. "John" is a staff member at church, and a very good friend of everyone on the boat.

So the rest of the boat trip was spent worrying, and praying and making phone calls, all the while trying to enjoy the beautiful weather, and the fantastic Nile scenery, not to mention the food and drink.

We organised people to search the church grounds, to walk around his neighbourhood, others were scouring the streets in their cars, the police were contacted, people were phoning around hospitals etc. Prayer bulletins were being texted and emailed and everyone was on red alert. We went to bed late with no news, and I don't think anyone slept well that night.

The next day dawned with no news, and we had that same desperate ache inside that we had when Pastor Dave died eight months ago. We spent the day having meetings and waiting for news, not knowing whether to change the weekend service plans in case he had died and we would need to do a memorial service. It was a horrible day.

For some reason on Thursday, we didn't feel such a dread and foreboding. Maybe no news is good news, maybe God was hearing our pain and comforting us. Whatever, by then we were pretty sure he hadn't been in an accident, or wasn't lying in a hospital, or worse, a morgue. Had he been kidnapped? Not "John". Too big and strong and loud. You'd never take him quietly.

We got through the weekend services by plain old trust and faith in God. He was our rock, our shield, our defender, our sustainer, our comforter.

Then, Friday afternoon, He texted "Susan". No info, no clues as to whereabouts, but at least it was contact, and he's alive. Praise God!!!!

Yesterday (Saturday) evening he texted me and some others. Felicity and I were watching a film, and when I got the text, all the emotions I'd been holding back came flooding out, and I bawled for a good while. Relief, anger, pain, grief, fear, uncertainty, all mingled together.

We still only know that he's in Europe, that he's planning to come back soon and that he's sorry for all the pain this has caused.

Please pray for "John", that he would have the courage to return and be reunited with his family, and that we can help him through these next few weeks. Please also pray for "Susan" and the kids, and that as a family they can work through this whole situation to a good conclusion.

Watch this space for more news as we get it...