Hi everyone,

Well, I thought this is a better way to communicate than trying to send individual emails to the whole world. I guess blogging CAN have a purpose!

My trip began with a train ride, mostly standing room first 30 min to the airport. Haifa was much colder than usual. I thought to myself, if I’m cold here, what will Canada be like! (I think I need to buy a heated coat and socks!)

Security was one of the fastest experiences I’d had, not even my luggage was checked. At the last minute I thought, I don’t want to schlep my coat, and so I packed it in my suitcase. Afterwards I thought, “are you mad, what if you have to walk outside between terminals!” But it was too late, so I then went through duty free. My video died, and my TV is so old that connecting anything to it is a pain, so I decided to splurge on a good deal they had a 20″ LCD, the price was pretty good, and 12 interest free payments means, if inflation increases or whatever, that I will actually end up paying less…. I can’t wait to see the faces of my God-children the next time they come over to watch a movie with me!

The flight from Tel Aviv to Toronto was uneventful, over 12 hours (I lost count in the end). Spent the first few hours reading and rereading letters, then read a book, then dozed, watched a movie, walked up and down the aisle a lot. The time actually went fast but the dry air gave me an awful headache. I was worried I’d put my multifocals out of position (can happen if jerked wrong, and at one point, when taking off some headphones they got tangled in my glasses), but thankfully, a night’s rest later… my multifocals are OK and I am seeing without a headache so I was probably tired and the dry air.

Toronto was absolutely confusing. They have crazy customs regulations. You have to get off the plane, take your luggage, go through passport and customs control where they don’t even LOOK at your luggage, and then put your luggage back on a conveyor belt to your plane. At one point the conveyor belt to receive luggage jammed and it took someone 15 min or so to unjam it. I was concerned I’d miss my connecting flight but all went well. Security gave a bleat of concern when they scanned my back-pack, I had an empty water bottle. “Why is it empty”? I told them so I could refill from the water fountain on the other side. They gave me a weird look but let me keep it. I guess everyone BUYS their water, but if you have a good water bottle, why waste it?

So then I got on the plane to Toronto. I was sure I’d have an empty seat next to me, but at the last minute a young man sat next to me. His name is Derek. I thought it would be a hopeful conversation. He asked if I spent time in Toronto. I told him I would later. He asked who I would visit. I told him some former Chinese students. He asked what I taught. I told him English via the Bible. So he asked if I was “religious.”

I then explained I don’t like to think of it that way. I believe in Jesus as my Savior, but that I believe in a relationship with God through Jesus.

The rest of the trip (5 hours) was him drinking beer, getting the steward/stewardess confused as to how many he’d actually had so he drank a LOT more than allowed, him accusing me of drinking his beers, and cursing the Lord, saying it was all bunk, and major unintelligent things. At one point he said something really nasty then looked me in the eye and said, “what would Jesus do,” I told him I’d have to think and got up to go to the rest room to get a few minutes of quiet and to pray! Alone, as I thought and prayed, the thought came to me, “Jesus would love him and ask him to talk more about himself and what he thought.” On the way back to my seat, he passed me, in the same direction, and shook my hand. When he came back he challenged me again, and I told him, Jesus would want to know more about you… and we talked a bit more… he closed up, and I was able to doze for an hour or so… but then he started up again, cursing the Lord, taking His name in vain, and trying to get me upset. I just smiled, and prayed, and tried to be nice…. towards landing he made comments about heaven/hell and crashing, and then I realized, as we were landing, he sat crouched with his hands over his head. He was afraid. At one point he looked at me and said, “I”m not afraid,” and I smiled, and prayed, and said “I know…”

So I was thinking, the best “revenge” I can think of, is please pray for a young man named Derek who is now living in Vancouver. He loves to gamble and drink, is afraid of flying, works in plumbing, and is angry and hurting. My heart goes out to him. As I think of him I remember the Lord’s admonition in Revelation, “I would that you were hot or cold, but because you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth.” Derek is definitely “cold” to the Lord… and that is material that God can work on. I pray that you and I will see Him rejoicing with our Lord on that day.

I got off the plane and was greeted by my friend J and her sister R. J looked great and a had a huge smile… I so rejoiced to see her! What a blessing that the Lord has enabled me to have this time off. Slept wonderfully and am looking forward to the coming days.

Thanks for your prayers. I’ll keep you updated as I have something worth sharing. O, and if you don’t mind praying for cats, my neighbor just wrote to say she discovered that Guay my cat has worms! Yikes!

Have a blessed weekend and happy 2007.



Currently Reading: Your God Is Too Safe by Mark Buchanan



RichRH — 12/30/2006/4:49 PMI’ll try to keep Derek in prayer, and I’m thankful you had what impact you could as you sought to plant a seed. Hopefully he’ll have something to think about before at least his next flight, if not his next drink!