03 April 2018

Who makes up your mind? A lesson in curating

I used to watch this man, Walter Cronkite most evenings at 5:30 in my Kansas City home. Then, Friday, March 6, 1981, he ended his nightly presenting of the news for me. Dan Rather took over after that. Here's his famous ending and sign-off in this short video.  

What made those 30 minutes so informative, what made it so nightly for us, what made Cronkite so trustworthy was that he and his team of journalists roamed the world, investigated the happenings and curated the information for us. It was not 'fake news.' It was simply 'the news.'


Curating is the job of the folks on television news stations, at the museum, or at the universities, galleries and high school classes. Curating has to do with choosing, both selecting and deselecting, bringing information or beauty, news and life to others. It's about making sense or bringing the best to others. Walter Cronkite curated the news for us. And we learned and we had confidence in what he reported.


'Fake news' is a term used often in the last couple years, although it was coined years earlier. Media Watch here in Australia reported, "A well-known case of fabricated news in Australia happened in 2009 when a report Deception Detection Across Australian Populations of a "Levitt Institute" was widely cited on the news websites all over the country, claiming that Sydney was the most naive city, despite the fact that the report itself contained a cue: amidst the mathematical gibberish, there was a statement: "These results were completely made up to be fictitious material through a process of modified truth and credibility nodes"


Made up, that's the key phrase in the issue of 'fake news.' Wiki opens their definition with "Fake news is a type of yellow journalism or propaganda that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional print and broadcast news media or online social media."


One of the most famous fake 'news' was a radio drama with Orson Welles. "The War of the Worlds" was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. Directed and narrated by actor and filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds (1898), presented as a series of simulated news bulletins. Although preceded by a clear introduction that the show was a drama, it became famous for allegedly causing mass panic, although the reality of the panic is disputed as the program had relatively few listeners.


Remember the movie, "Wag the Dog?"  1997, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robert de Niro. Woody Harrelson and Anne Heche. Even Andrea Martin. Directed by Barry Levinson. The story was about a president in the US who is caught in a sex scandal and his advisors concoct a war to distract the American public. They succeed in this distraction with the help of De Niro who plays a 'spin doctor' which is what they called these fake-news-sources 20 years ago, and Hoffman, who plays a Hollywood producer who gets the job of creating the war in California, although it is supposed to play out for real in Albania. 


What was 'spin doctoring' in 1997 is 'fake news' today. In 1800 it was yellow journalism. In Russia it's still called 'propaganda.' 


With all this doctoring and curating of information, where is the Truth? And maybe more important for us, who is making up our mind for us? Is it (CNN/ Fox/ MSNBC) or your local newspapers (NY Times/ Sydney Morning Herald/ London TImes). Who is telling me the pure curated truth?

13 March 2018

Your call is being recorded

Seems that every other call I make to any company, for any reason, whether United Airlines, Target Department Store or my little tennis club in suburban Sydney... I hear this message.

"Your call is important to us," then somewhere in the electronic greeting I hear, "your call will be recorded for training and coaching purposes." And usually I'm ok with that. After all, I want companies to improve, especially the next time I ring them. [That said, I wish they would have recorded the last phone call and then improved in their service to me today.]

Because of 'privacy' matters, they also end their pre-recordings with "If you don't wish to have your conversation recorded, just let us know when we answer." Now that I'm thinking about it, over the years, there would be so many conversations with companies, in fact, with so many people, that I wish were not recorded, or which could be accessed and amended.

I remember the controversy surrounding the American president, Richard Milhaus Nixon, in 1972-1973. He had already been the Veep under Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s. Then he ran against John Kennedy and lost in 1960's first-ever TV election. He sat on the sideline, and in 1968 took his turn to run again, this time against the Democratic Hubert Horatio Humphrey. Nixon won easily. The country was going mad with Vietnam, hippies, and inflation up to 2%. We needed a change, and in came Nixon. 'Trickie Dick' some called him.

By now, if you didn't live in that era, or in that country, you would have had ample opportunity to see several almost-documentary movies whether it's David Frost's interviews or Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman in "All the President's Men." The story includes 18 minutes of erased tapes from conversations in the Oval Office in the White House. What was on those tapes? We won't know. Maybe the president simply said, "I'd rather my call was not recorded today."

His end was nigh, as a result of those missing minutes, and he humbly and sadly left office yielding the presidency to Gerald Ford, who was never elected to either President or Vice-President, but served as both.

The tale of missing minutes; the reminder that sometimes you can erase what you don't want to have said... I'm thinking that I would love to have that button somewhere in my life, to rewind and make the right choice, or to say the right thing, instead of what actually came out of my mouth. I live in a series of regrets so often, it's painful.

OK, maybe I never lost the presidency of the US because of such erasures, but I imagine I've lost friendships, or at least I've lost face in front of family and friends, and people I don't even know!

The Proverbs remind us "In a multitude of words, transgression is unavoidable." (10.19) So it's better to quit speaking, rather than continue speaking and look for the erasing elements later. The saying ends with "he who restrains his lips is wise." I would love to live in that wisdom.

What about you? Would you rather your call is not recorded at all? Will you watch your words more carefully tomorrow? Can you pray for me to ensure that my lips don't cause me pain tomorrow?

09 March 2018

In like a lion

When an American child learns about climate and weather, about seasons and especially springtime, the sing-song assistant for this month is, "March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb."

Of course, the reference is to the end of winter (the lion) and the gentleness of spring (lamb). If only. I remember the first official day of Spring in 2010, in Kansas I was traveling and was scheduled to play golf at a course near Arkansas City. This was the photo I took that day.

Needless to say (and yet I say it), my friends Josh and Dan and I didn't play that day. The roads were so treacherous, we didn't even meet up as we should have.  I guess the lion still roared for 21 extra days in 2010.

Comparing lion and lamb is a biblical theme as well. Isaiah the prophet uses them in the same sentence twice, but not like you might have heard. There is no text about a lion lying down with the lamb. Here's what many are quoting

"And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;  and a little boy will lead them."(Chapter 11. verse 6)
and "The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the Lord.   (Chapter 65. Verse 25)

The world of Isaiah had more wandering animals; today we only have such animals in the zoo or the outback. Still the plan is to work to make the world a better place, today, such that enemies like wolves and lambs can lie together. Maybe Russians and Ukrainians. Maybe Labor and Liberal. Maybe. Which is the lion and which the lamb? 

Lions tear things up, like the end of winter. Lambs rest and gently bump into each other. Ah, springtime. 

But of course, for us in Australia, this is the end of summer and autumn is upon us. Do we have a lion/ lamb sing-song in use? 

I found this song with lyrics displayed (not captioned) on Leeland's official site.  [ https://youtu.be/C9ujBoud26k ]   I love the sentiment, the lyrics, the One about whom this man is singing. Maybe you will enjoy it and learn as well.

I hope your spring or autumn is restful and calm, and focused on the Messiah, the Lamb who was slain for the sins of the world. And the Lion of the Tribe of Judah-- that's another nickname of Messiah Yeshua. He will come again to rule and make His ways known on the earth. Then even Labor and Liberal will get along, because we will all get along with Him. That's where unity happens. That's where life happens.

Happy March!

24 February 2018

Do you see?

The violinist in this video is world-famous. Her name is Lindsey Stirling.  The setting is lower Manhattan, New York City, 14th Street East side train station. The L train crosses there, too, but this platform is fairly plain and uninteresting. And most of the people are uninterested in Lindsey Stirling.  If it were another setting, say Carnegie Hall, or Broadway just a couple miles up north, the applause would have been riveting. But it wasn't. The setting was the subway platform. Players are a dime a dozen.  I wonder what her busking produced that afternoon.

She is playing the world-famous music of Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah!" But no one stops. At least not on the edited version we see.

A year ago somebody on the Facebook page of "Gospel of Jesus" uploaded this video with this caption: She is very famous by violin, but when she play violin on subway no one recogenized her. How about Jesus? Can you see Jesus when he is behind you?

Lindsey finishes the song and has some words with her internet audience. The words she shares and the caption of the video ask a similar question... "Do you see?" Whether it's the gift to which she alludes or the Gift of Eternal Life that the captioner wrote... we often miss the forest for the trees.

During Christmas/ Advent people sing the carol, "Do you hear what I hear?" It's not that we who hear or we who see are special, or better. We have been privileged to see the beauty that is the Savior of the world, the Son of Man, Yeshua, the Messiah. Born of a virgin, in a stable in Bethlehem in Judea, not far from Jerusalem.  And God opened our ears to learn the truths of the Bible. We are very grateful people.

Can you hear? Don't miss the performer. Don't miss the sounds of the violin. Don't miss the salvation that God extends to us in His messiah.

"He that has an ear, let him hear." (Yeshua, 7 times in the book of the Revelation)
"Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is (that) one" (Deut. 6.4)

23 February 2018

Jewish Evangelism?

This article was originally a talk given in Japan in November.

Jewish Evangelism in East Asia: Street Evangelism 101

By Bob Mendelsohn
Jews for Jesus, AustralAsia
Given in Wakayama, Japan
15 November 2017

The problem: Jewish Evangelism is different

Whereas all non-Christians have a need for salvation in Yeshua, the Messiah, most non-Jews have no hostility to Jesus, and might even have a sympathy or at least tolerance for Christianity and the message of our Messiah. Muslims say they believe in Isa. Many Filipino Catholics or Indian Hindus, even Shinto here in Japan have warm feelings about Christianity. But Jewish people, whether in the USA or Australia or around the globe, sometimes have a rejection of Yeshua in their conversation. They may not even know why they reject Him, but they have a culture of saying ‘no’ to the Messiah by name. So, Jewish evangelism is different.
I grew up in the middle of the US, in Kansas City, a moderate-sized city of 1 million people, with about 25,000 Jewish people, in the 1950s and 1960s. Being Jewish was everything to me. I played tennis with Jews, had a chemistry club with neighborhood Jews, went to synagogue four days a week, learned with rabbis, but never once heard the name of Jesus, except when I hurt myself or was angry. “Jesus Christ” I would shout. I never once considered who He was, what He claimed about Himself, or why I didn’t believe in Him. Jesus was simply a non-issue for us Jews. And if someone had approached me with the Gospel, my knee-jerk reaction would have been “NO”, categorically “no”, without even thinking about it. Why? Who knows! But Jewish people just don’t believe in Jesus. End of story.
That said, what are you going to do to bring the Gospel to Jewish people where you live, here in Japan, or in Korea, Taiwan, US, or New Zealand?
We have heard the last couple days story after story of guest houses, of welcoming wandering Israelis and sharing Messiah over food on the hummus trail. I will not repeat any of that. I personally welcome Israelis into my home and that will be a continued source of new contacts and good will.
My assigned topic is “Street Evangelism: The Basics” and that speech might better be delivered in New York City or Tel Aviv. Although major cities like Bangkok, Seoul, Osaka or Tokyo would be excellent sites for large-scale distribution of literature, if we want to reach Jewish people, which is the point of LCJE’s considerations, then large-scale campaigns of evangelism, using Gospel tracts, street drama, public singing performances, etc.… well, that’s not where the Jewish people are. I don’t mean to diminish any efforts of street work, obviously. Each week around the world of Jews for Jesus, where we work in Budapest, London, Sydney, Los Angeles, etc., every week we hand out Gospel tracts and make ourselves available to Jewish passers-by using many methods. What I am saying is that to reach Jewish people in East Asia, street evangelism might not be the most significant operation to employ.
I love taking the Gospel to the streets. I got saved because some Jesus people were witnessing of their faith in the US in 1971 on the streets. I read the Bible these young evangelists gave me, and took Jesus on board. I heard the Gospel and immediately joined them in proclaiming Jesus among the hippies of the 1970s. As a result, a church was born in Kansas, which to this day continues in strength. Street evangelism was practical in the 1970s as activism and anti-Vietnam war sentiment abounded. The streets have dried up a bit, that is, activism with flyers and pamphlets don’t mean the same as they did in 1973. Even so, our Jews for Jesus ministry continues to hand out tracts in Ukraine, in Russia, Germany, Hungary and in Australia, and continue to find open Jewish people who are willing to give us their details to meet up and consider Yeshua.
To be fair as brother Shoji reminded us yesterday, the number of Jewish people in Japan is only 1,000, in Singapore -- 900, in China 2,000, South Korea 100, Taiwan 100, Thailand 200. (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jewish-population-of-the-world, Jewish Virtual Library, 2016).  We had more than all those numbers when I grew up in my little neighborhood! So where are the opportunities for you now?
The themes of our LCJE Asia conference this week include “Looking for Opportunities” and “Making Connections.” Let me use those two categories to help us all consider this.
Looking for Opportunities
First Looking for Opportunities.
We have to learn which Jewish people are out here in Asia. That would include both the Israeli travelers and the expatriates who are on assignment from their parent companies for 2-3 years, lawyers and government officials. They are out there!  Those 900 in Singapore exist… how do we reach them?
What are my resources? Can I start a guest house, and be home all the time during the traveling season or will I be able to recruit enough volunteers to support the house ministry? Do I have products like messianic books, Bibles and CDs, do I know Hebrew or am I prepared enough to know how to answer Jewish objections to the Gospel? In other words, I need to have an honest self-evaluation. I need to be realistic about my own limitations.
Also I have to count the costs which ministry to Jewish people attracts. That means my time, and my money, my staffing issue…all these are resources which are required. Jesus told us to ‘count the cost’ before building a tower (Luke 14.28), and dare I say this tower of personal involvement in Jewish evangelism is very costly.
I believe getting involved in evangelism among Jewish people, on the streets or in your homes, in your office or at their house… requires us to think about what we are doing.
Let me define evangelism first, then let’s go on from there.
I believe ‘evangelism’ is ‘giving someone both an opportunity to consider Yeshua for himself and to receive Him as Saviour and Lord.’ If that be acceptable, then, this definition means we have to extend ourselves to those outside the faith. It demands our availability to unbelievers. It means we have to do more than share lunch. It means we have to teach, make disciples, and persuade people about the Gospel. This is uncomfortable, to be sure.
Many of you live in Japan. Others in the UK. Or Australia. Even New Zealand. Each of these are islands, and an islander thinks differently than a person from a large land-mass like Europe or America. Here’s what I mean.
On an island, you have to get along. You have to moderate your hostility to your neighbour. You cannot fight with others with whom you hope to work or play. The British ‘via media’ of the Reformation era is an example of this. The ‘tall poppy syndrome’ of Australia and the ‘pacifism’ of the Japanese post-WW2 cultures demonstrate this to me. Sharing the Gospel then, in the midst of the required ‘fellowship’ of all people on an island…that’s costly. Telling a Shinto follower, or a Buddhist, or anyone for that matter, that their religion, or their ‘way of life’ is wrong, and that Jesus is the only way to heaven… that’s costly to relationships. But without giving people the chance to hear this message, then we are not evangelizing at all. We have to give people the chance to hear.
As Joseph said yesterday, “Jewish people are not suspicious of East Asians.” While white European Christians have been linked historically with the pains and evils of anti-Semitism like the Crusades, the Holocaust, and the Inquisition, East Asians have no such history. Therefore, Jewish people don’t know what to do with you Asians and your version of Christianity; we don’t mistrust you! You don’t have the serious blockage of those hindrances that prevent many white European Christians from beginning the conversation with Jewish people.
That said, let me give you a 10-step approach to evangelism, whether on the streets, when you first encounter someone, or in the nursing home as you sit with Mrs Goldberg for the 30th time in the course of four years… let’s break this down for the ordinary believer sharing the Gospel with the ordinary Jewish person. This is not necessarily how professional missionaries will do this work, but it’s the usual, the ordinary. Looking at Ethiopian eunuchs or tax-collecting Zaccheus as models are useful to be sure, but most of us don’t have such episodes. We are ordinary people witnessing to ordinary people.
Two major categories for us, then, the atmosphere and the attack. First all the pre-evangelistic enterprise, then the actual evangelism itself. I don’t denigrate either nor exalt either. Each is purposeful and worthwhile.
The ATMOSPHERE
1.Purpose to witness to Jewish friends
2.Determine that this person is in fact, Jewish
3.Extend a gesture of friendship to him AS a JEW
4.Share a word of personal testimony
5.Ask sympathetic questions
6.STOP

This 10-step program is then as follows:
1)     Purpose to witness to Jewish friends. Make a friend. Share good things with your friend.
2)     Be interested in them, not only in teaching them or converting them. Find out if he is Jewish. Hebrew speakers like our new friends from China, et.al., are not necessarily Jewish.
3)     Passover seders, food in general, anything that says, “You are Jewish and that’s great.” The history of the Church has said quite the opposite. Being Jewish is something Jewish people have had to repent of, in order to turn to Christ. It’s a liability, not an asset. Take gifts to their son’s Bar Mitzvah.
4)     Share a word, not 10,000 words. Share your story. Not a long story. Point out, three things: 1) where you were, 2) what God did to get your attention and 3) what you are like now.
5)     Asking questions that you do not know the answer to… like “Do you think there will ever be peace in the Middle East?” or “Do you believe in a personal God?”. NOT “Say, what about Isaiah 53…have you read that lately?”
6)     STOP is not an acronym. It really means stop talking. Listen. Let them rest, too. Kind gestures of nodding do not necessarily mean anyone is interested in what you are saying, even as some of you are doing to me just now.
Now we move to the Attack. We move from making connections to making disciples.
I call it Persuading People. And if persuasion is not a comfortable word for you, then I don’t know what you will do with these Bible verses and the ministry of Paul, particularly. Persuasion has to do with the good use of the Scriptures and helping people learn what they are teaching.
Note these passages:
Luke 16.31 But Yeshua said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’
Acts 17.4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. 
Acts 18.4 And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. 
Acts 18.13 saying, “This man persuades men to worship God contrary to the law.” 
Acts 19.8  And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 
The ATTACK
7.Answer all objections from their Bible
8.Get them involved in regular classes
9.Ask for a profession of faith (Decision)
10.Follow up (Immersion, community of faith)

The attack then is the Case in Persuasion to help your Jewish friend to find Yeshua.
You move from answering their questions to asking some of your own. You move from defense to offense.
Number 7 then is answering questions from their Bible. Of course, most traveling Israelis don’t carry a copy of the Tenach with them, so for them you need one of Barry Rubin’s resources he mentioned yesterday or an app on your mobile hand phone to which you can point the enquirer. The version does matter; the Scriptures matter even more. I really loved seeing the photos of the Chinese cases in persuasion yesterday as they studied the Bible together with Jewish people.
Number 8 is getting them involved in a regular Bible study. A group. A weekly meeting with you over a bento lunch box. Something which is ongoing, but not permanent. Don’t invite them to a school from which they cannot graduate, like a Sunday school class that has no ending. Say, “Your questions are great, and warrant continued investigation. Can we meet for 2 weeks or 2 Tuesdays or 3 lunchtimes in a row, to discuss this from the Bible, and see what others might be saying about this?” or such.
Number 9 is the hardest one. Remember our definition of evangelism. Giving people an opportunity, giving them a chance, give them the option to receive Yeshua as Messiah. We must give them this chance. Sometimes twice, three times, dozens of times. The reason many don’t give people this option is they haven’t given the Jewish person enough information to make a considered decision. We don’t know how to answer objections. We don’t know enough, we say. So we don’t offer them salvation in Yeshua.
The other reason we don’t offer people to pray to receive Yeshua is that we don’t want to be rejected. We think when people say ‘no’ to us about the Gospel, that we are somehow the ones being rejected. It is not true, but some of us with a bad self-image, who need to be loved and respected, well this work is not about you. Jesus said, “You will be hated by all because of My name.” Mark 13.13.
You will have to get over this rejection, this personally directed hostility, it’s not personal. It’s about Yeshua, amen?
Step 10 is especially important. After a person prays and receives Yeshua, what’s next? What about community? Church? Messianic congregation? Baptism, immersion? You have to get the Jewish believer ready for the Church, and you have to get the Church ready for the Jews.
Regular discipleship is key, and a major missing component in evangelism among most workers today. It’s the nuts-and-bolts of ministry; it’s where rubber meets the road, it’s the tough, behind-the-scenes, unthankful responsible work of the minister of Christ.
Let me summarize.
We understand that Jewish people are different. And thus Jewish evangelism is different.
We look for opportunities to meet Jewish people.
We make connections with Jewish people.
We evangelize and disciple Jews…and we persuade men and women to follow Yeshua.
Take the Gospel to the streets with Gospel tracts. With songs. With prayer stations. With Boards of curiosity. With street drama.
Take it to your homes with those whom you host.
Take it to their homes and offices by being involved in others’ lives where they are.
Let us give all people an opportunity to receive Yeshua as Messiah and Lord and Saviour.

For more information, contact
Bob Mendelsohn
Thank you.




FYI, for the photos of the conference, please go to




11 February 2018

First world problems... adventure in travel


I've heard people talk about 'patience' for years. And they talk about how to achieve or gain patience. Usually it's through inopportune times or struggles that patience is learned. I think I get it. I'm not noted as a very patient man. So what does that say about my struggles? Not a thing. It says a lot more about my responses to those struggles and how slow I am to learn.

Case in point. Last Sunday I left my hotel at 7 am in Jerusalem and took a ride to Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport. Easy. Check in with my box of goods was easy, which is rare for me there. But wait, my flight to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines was delayed. OK, no dramas. I'm happy to sit there for a few minutes. They said, "it won't be too long, maybe 15 minutes." Not a problem. I have a new book I'm reading. 15 became 30; 30 became 45, and 45 became "You are going to miss your connection in Istanbul, Mr Mendelsohn." Oy. What was the problem anyway? Seems the inbound plane had not left its location yet. So, wait, if the plane hadn't left yet an hour ago, and it would take 2 hours for that plane to arrive at Ben Gurion, then you and your computer already knew that I would miss my connection. That means your computer or you should have re-organized my travel plans and gotten me a ticket on another airline, so that I could be in Berlin about my scheduled time. But they didn't.

So they flew me eventually through Istanbul about 2 hours later, and I sat in the airport for a bit, watching the rain pour down outside. Then my final flight took off, and I got to Berlin. About 10:30 pm, and the place looked like a ghost town. No personnel to meet us, but what did meet me was a demolished box rounding the carousel. I was really tired after spending the whole day going almost nowhere. Who thinks of finding offical personnel at that point? I was glad that my box was in hand. I was glad to be in Germany and had to get to my AirBNB. They had been awaiting my arrival there since 3 pm.

So I got to my housing. The next morning I logged onto Turkish Airlines website and sent the above photos, with a nice note about my rain-soaked luggage and brutalized box. After another email from Turkish, asking for more information, I sent along with a narrative of the interaction, an invoice for the products which I bought in Israel and which were in the demolished box. Several more emails came from the official website, maybe even from a person (although no one signed it.) Finally yesterday morning I opened an email from the airline. The word was "The evaluation process related to your baggage is completed. Please click the button above to see your evaluation result. For your questions, you can make contact with us by message." Fantastic. Any reasonable person would have paid me what I requested. If there were issues, any reasonable person would have both checked the inbound baggage service, the Istanbul connection, or something to verify my allegation, and the photo evidence. I was shocked when the result of their 'investigation' was a most disappointing disregard.

Again unsigned. No apology. No admission. Did I learn patience? Is it too late for me to learn that just now? Lord, give me another chance.

Two days ago, on Friday I left Berlin to fly to Detroit, outside of which I'm writing this morning. I checked in to the Lufthansa Airline flights to Frankfurt and then to Detroit on Thursday morning. No problem. Took the taxi on Friday morning at 7 am to Berlin airport without a problem. Got to the counter and the agent took my luggage (new box) and handed me my boarding passes. All good. Phew. But wait, I noticed she had given me three passes. I only had two flights. Oh, maybe the 3rd was a receipt for baggage. Nope. It was a triad of flights, and now my flight from Frankfurt actually went to Dulles (Washington, DC) and then another from Dulles to Detroit.

What? The counter agent didn't say a word. She didn't inform me of any changes to my routing. I had received no notification from Lufthansa (even though they had my mobile phone number and my email address in my profile) When I asked, the agent actually didn't know anything as to why my non-stop had been removed from my reservation. "That's all I know," she said.

Instead of arriving into Detroit at 2:15 pm on Friday afternoon, I would now arrive at 6:30. OK, not horrible, really, as I would sit in the Frankfurt lounge for a while, but maybe United airlines would know what happened. It was a code shared flight with Lufthansa. The agent I rang in Chicago saw my new arrangements on her computer but was surprised that Lufthansa had not informed me, and they had actually created a new reservation altogether. If I had not rung the United agent, United would have canceled the rest of my flights from Detroit through SF to Sydney. Wow... thanks (for nothing) Lufthansa.

Seems as though a major snow storm was making its way in and through Michigan, hitting Detroit fairly hard and dumped 7 inches of snow on the airport through Friday alone. Eventually, my flight from Dulles, delayed 5 different times from its 5 pm departure to 10 pm, and then was canceled at about 7:30 pm. Again the United airlines personnel helped me a lot and secure a new flight on American Airlines, although from Reagan National not from Dulles, but with plenty of time for me to make it from Dulles. They organized my baggage, a voucher for a taxi, another voucher for a meal... and I sat on the American flight which left at 10:30 pm, arriving into Detroit at midnight. (6 am in Berlin)

My friend Glenn Harris fetched me from the airport and took me home with him for a wonderful night/morning of hospitality.

These adventures in travel were simply first-world problems. I didn't have to shovel the snow at the Detroit airport. I didn't have to work on the baggage services. I just sat most of the time. I was able to put the problems in perspective due to God's grace. Seeing things from His point of view-- that's a gift!

Did I learn patience? Was I really patient during those 5 delays?

Was I a patient man ever during this experience?


This is a hard one to calculate and to evaluate. But in the last couple years I've been self-evaluating a lot, and honestly can say, "Yes, Bob is growing in patience." I was able to relax on Friday; I had no control and freely yielded to the Lord. It was faith, personal faith in the God of the universes, which allowed me to relax. The Bible says the 'fruit of the Spirit' is love, joy..."patience... self-control." (Galatians 5.22-23) In other words, God is producing this fruit in me, as I stay connected to Him. It's not a function of my willing, white-knuckling. It's not a function of personal religious manipulation. It's a function of faith in the Lord, who is the Spirit.

As a result of that recognition, and observation... I'm more and more humbled and thrilled that the Lord Himself is making Himself real to me, and making His life in me that much clearer. Thank you, Lord. Thanks be to God.