Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 11
(Photos by the author, unless stated) Book 11 / Ch. 11 Written / Published 9.12.12 / 11.12.2012
As I commence writing I am listening to the radio. Gospel Music Selections, the station that plays traditional Christian music. The male singer just sang the lyrics: "He is closer than a brother." How true these words become in this chapter!
"Thus says the Lord of hosts: Execute true justice. Show mercy and compassion, everyone to his brother." (Zechariah 7, 9)
11. No room for the n.
After praying, asking what God wanted me to do for the next ten weeks in Germany, having a door close unexpectedly, I knocked on another - the Salvation Army. I phoned their Stuttgart Corps, whose chief officer was a Scotsman, but spoke almost perfect German. However, even offering your services for free, especially when you're looking for a live-in position at short notice, proved not as simple as I had hoped.
At the end of that first week in Germany, after more prayer and trusting in God's guidance, I decided to search the internet. It was a Friday. I knew from previous experience that God could lead me, despite the millions of URLs on the net, to just to the right one. He did in an instant.
I had typed in freiwilliger Mitarbeiter dringend gesucht (voluntary worker wanted urgently) and clicked on the first option that appeared on the screen. An organisation in Heilbronn, about 45 Minutes away by train, was looking for carers to accompany disabled people on their vacations. Did I read correctly: "... free accommodation and all meals provided?"
I phoned the contact number immediately. The coordinator seemed keen on me, since I said I had worked with disabled people for a number of years as volunteer driver. We arranged for an interview for the following Monday. It was all plain sailing from there. This surprised me, considering the Germans, normally, are particular with their paperwork - all forms must be filled in with i's dotted and t's crossed!
It was almost too simple, too good to be true! But God is good, God is true!
The co-ordinator did not even ask to see my police clearance or driver's licence, which I had brought with me to the interview. The gentleman, his name was Christian, indicated that they would need somebody, starting the following Saturday, to be part of a team, travelling with a group to the ALLGAU, in Southern Germany.
Did I hear correctly? I knew the Allgau from my 2007 Germany visit, when I spent a few nights in a rented holiday cottage. (Book 6 Chapter 12 is titled: All go Allgau). "After this trip", Christian continued, "we are looking for a helper to join a group for a trip to Austria."
WOW !!! Was this the answer to my prayer, or what? A month of working holiday, all expenses paid, in the mountains of the German and Austrian Alps? What more could I have wished for?
Next, Christian added: "We are also still looking for a person in late September for the Majorca (Spain) trip. Would I be interested?
Well, I thought, after four weeks in the mountains in Germany and Austria, I'm sure I could tolerate two more weeks sunbaking under palm trees on a Mediterranean beach, all expenses paid!
Unfortunately, the return date clashed with my return flights back to Australia. Otherwise, ... ?
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For my interview as carer for the disabled I took the train to Heilbronn, about 50 kilometres from Stuttgart. Walking along Bahnhof Strasse I suddenly became acutely aware of a registration plate. A VW was parked on the side of the road:
Registration plate, one of many that made me ponder ...
What took place next, moments after photographing above registration plate, surprised me totally. An old Model Wartburg (?) an East-German made classic vehicle, turned into a driveway, across the footpath I was walking on. Four young people were in it. It parked right there, in a parking spot, outside an office building. The registration plate was:
JA 210 H.
Through the rear window I saw the back of a young man, obviously rather big built, wearing a top with this writing on it: GUIDE ME (or Guide us, my diary entry is unsure, which). What was this all about? Haven't we all seen slogans, on clothing people are wearing, which make us think: "What on earth ...?"
I found Heilbronn remarkable for another reason. The literal translation of Heilbronn is healing fountain. In my writing I had just completed Book 10 - Healing In His Wings. Later in this chapter we will visit the Heils-armee (on route L1105).
How the world at this time needs healing and hope!
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In and around Esslingen / Germany
My friend Willy, who I stayed with and who had visited us in Australia four times, made a bicycle available during my visit. It was also a Giant, considerably older, and with a luggage rack. It was just what I needed.
Summer evenings in Germany in July are long and mild. How I loved just riding through the suburbs, across the fields or just any place, my adventurous spirit would take me. Needless to say, Christians who commit their day to the Lord, will always be found, where God wants him or her to be, without feeling like a remotely controlled robot.
As in all other places I travel to, my two months in Germany again were filled with stimulating data, call them codes, which I saw and took note. Not all, but many I photographed. How I came to enter this world of codes, of unexplained co-incidental links, is a mystery to me. All I know, it didn't happen overnight, but it is here - and I trust God that HE has a higher purpose for IT. HIS way, HIS will will be done!
One warm evening I decided to jump on the Giant and cycle a few kilometers upstream along the river. Unexpected, yet so predictable, I saw things: (Please note, Oberesslingen is the suburb where I was born and lived for the first ten years of my life.)
<<< en in and n out >>>
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Talking about no room - my brother on our initial, happy reunion had agreed that I could stay with him for a time, if I needed to.
Having to stay a week longer than initially planned at my friends Willy's and his wife's place, I felt to give them some space and ask my brother, if I could bunk down at the corner of his living room for a few days. When I phoned him, however, when my stay was to become reality, his reaction was rather different. (Please note, this is not my brother, who lives in the Ruhrgebiet).
Our phone conversation went something like this:
Afterwards I saw the funny side of things, the narrow mindedness. How fear can rule a person beyond reasoning. His worry of not getting wet washing dry was greater than a brother's need for accommodation!
Unless he feared that I would again be challenging him to return to the faith we both learned during confirmation classes at the Friedenskirche (mentioned above) in 1964? During many phone conversations from Australia I had steered our conversations in that direction, only to be rebuked for again bothering him.
Either way, I forgave him for not making room for me. My visit had threatened this routine, possibly upsetting the whole structure of his ordered life. I made a point of later seeing him again, twice.
I brought it all to God. He is closer than a brother, or a son for that matter. How wonderful to know!
HE again came up with a far better place to stay, than at my brother's. This is how it came about:
The Sunday I was to move to my brother's place, but couldn't, I took my borrowed Giant to Stuttgart, about 13 km away. At the Salvation Army in ...
... the Rothebuehl Strasse a special function was held that afternoon. I didn't know what to expect, but felt that God's Spirit was urging me to go there. The function was a farewell (coffee-and-cake afternoon) for a Brisbane couple, Todd and Susan, who had been serving in Stuttgart for a year or two. The afternoon had an Australian flavour to it.
My answer to prayer arrived on a bicycle and, just as I had, ten minutes after starting time. The young man (under 50 anyway) and I were the only ones to arrive on two wheels, so we hit it off in an instant. During the coffee afternoon I was telling him my story, which included my failed attempt to work at the Brotherhood etc.
At the conclusion that sunny July afternoon I asked, if he wanted to join me for a ride around the district? Looking back, I'm glad I asked, because he agreed. It was the beginning of our friendship, plus an answer to my prayer for accommodation.
When he asked me where I'd like to ride to, a place came to mind - No. 96 Schmidener Street. My grandmother used to live there. One of my earliest childhood memories go back to this address. My mother, my brother and I often caught the O-bus and the tram to visit grandmother on Sunday afternoons. We always looked forward to DeBeukelaer biscuits and Coca Cola, which at home we seldom could afford.
It so happened that en route to Schmidener Strasse we would be passing near my friend's studio / flat. He asked if I wanted to take a look? At first I could not see a point, but then, why not? Glad I did. During the brief visit, out of the blue, he mentioned that he was leaving mid-week for an extended cycle holiday to Greece. Did I want to stay here, while he was away?
How trusting was that We had just met hours earlier, and he was prepared to let me stay in his place for as long as I wanted to!
And so it was. Over a total period of 12 days, I was able to use his studio on two, no three occasions. The location was idyllic, above the Neckar river, bordered by vineyards, overlooking Stuttgart and the surrounding hills.
Looking south, over Stuttgart, Germany
During my stay at No. 71 (on 27.7) I was riding into Stuttgart along the cycle path beside the Neckar River. My mind was forever digesting all the miracles God had granted me. My Spirit was forever praising HIM, thanking HIM. That particular morning I knew exactly what I was thinking at this moment: I asked the question to myself: Who am I?
Within a second, maybe two, my eyes fell onto a white question mark and a number on the ground - 7. Then, only metres further on, another number - 100. No other numbers nearby. Having just come from No. 71 made me turn back, get out my camera and take these two photographs:
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Let me conclude this chapter with a story from my newfound friend, who let me stay in his studio. One year he went on one of his long cycling holidays. In a corner of his dwelling is a grandfather clock. It's one of those large, free standing clocks, where you can see the pendulum swing from side to side, and which needs to be rewound manually every so often. Living alone he had nobody to wind the mechanism of his big clock. Naturally, it stopped some time (Note !) while he was away.
Being a believer in God's word, that on God' world clock this world is close to midnight, he was astounded on his return. The clock stopped at 5 to 12!
He said, he never rewound the clock as a reminder of God's amazing timing! I took a photo, take a look:
Grandfather clock at No. 71: