Chapter 8 Written / Published 13.7./21.7.19 (Pics by author, unless indicated)
|HOME THE WINNER GAVE IT ALL Given your all - now what?|
It's uncanny what pops up, the links you notice when you're bi-lingual. NOS 85 and 185 held a secret link until now.
We shall take a bike ride down the coast from Los Angeles to San Diego. At the time, besides the enjoyment of cycling, I had felt the excursion was a failure. Writing this chapter, magic appeared out of nowhere.
In amazing timing, unplanned, there's a link to the first moon landing, 50 years ago to the day of publishing.
A brief one night stop in Orange County follows, before flying east to Atlanta. A six-hour ride on a Greyhound took me south on Interstate 85. It was my fifth visit to my sister in Loxley, Alabama. At the end, a call to speak up against wickedness!
8. L and the moon
Following on from the previous chapter, those with a basic knowledge of the German language would have known why I wrote 'try God the Father'. The German word for Father is Vater. Playing jumble letters with a t o r y we created 'try GOD' (the A &O).
But there's more. I discovered a parallel, quirky twist in the little word HE, translated ER in German. To the best of my knowledge I had not used the ABC123 code on these before:
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Jet passengers, who fly from Australia across the Pacific Ocean to the USA, find that the time they arrive is actually before the time they left. Our plane arrived at 5.55 AM. We had left Adelaide at 6 AM the same day, 15.05. Jon and I parted at the airport. He and his friend were continuing to Oklahoma to meet their storm-chasing companions. I stayed two nights at the YHA Hostel in Santa Monica. That was a mistake.
The hostel was not the reason, even though the standard had dropped somewhat since my previous stay. It was lack of sleep, caused by jet-lag plus another factor - I snore. Sharing a dormitory with a handful of young people was not a good idea. As I opened my eyes the next morning they were met by those of a young man from England. He had occupied the bunk bed under mine.
If looks could kill, I'd be dead now. Immediately I knew that I must have snored loudly, keeping him awake. I felt bad about it. Silly me asked: "Did I snore?" I sensed mild anger in his reply: "Did you ever!" Feeling even worse I wanted to make peace, knowing we'd both be spending another night in the same room. My solution, however, was the worst I could have come up with: "If I snore tonight, just bang on the bed, and I will stop".
Big mistake! The young man did as I had told him. Every time I dropped off to sleep a big jolt woke me up. This happened at least three times, after what seemed like hours of waking in between.
Literally unable to find some sleep, at around 5 AM I grabbed my blanket and sneaked out quietly into the TV lounge. There I hoped I would at least get some shut-eyes. To my surprise, even at this hour, one guest was sitting watching television. I didn't care. I curled up on the lounge a few meters away and finally fell asleep. It only lasted, God knows how short a time, before I woke again.
The early riser watching TV had also fallen asleep. His snoring woken me up! (So that's what it feels like ...?!) Lucky, this was the day for checking out; perhaps my last ever in a YHA, unless booking a private room.
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The plan was to overnight en route at Doheny State Beach. Seven years earlier I had stayed there and paid only US $6 camp fee. What a shock, when at the small kiosk at the entrance, the price to pay was US $40. That I only arrived by bicycle with a small tent didn't matter.
It was still early afternoon, so I continued further south to try another spot. When I arrived at the Crystal Cove Campground it was getting pretty late. I was too tired to enjoy the pretty sunset over the Pacific Ocean as I arrived at the entrance. And things turned from bad to worse. The gatekeeper in khaki uniform pointed out the sign: Park full. Now what? He explained that a year earlier the booking system had been computerized. One fee applied to all and since I had not booked, he can't allow entry.
By now the sun had set. There was no way I would cycle back to the nearest town and book into a hotel carrying a tent. (The next night I'd be doing just that). No pleading with the officer: "I only need a small area of grass ..." made him change his mind. I was not allowed in. (I felt like Joseph and Mary that Christmas! But it was JO's fault - he should have known that at Christmas, everything is booked out months in advance, ha ha).
Just then, more campers drove up to check in.; a young couple in a small hatchback. They had made a booking for a tent site. I felt cheeky, asking if their tent was a small one, if I could perhaps share their site? They agreed. The Ranger finally allowed me in. It saved my night!
My dream of a good night's sleep, unfortunately, didn't come true. It was unseasonable cold, which kept me awake, tossing and turning to keep warm.
There was still a long way to go to San Diego. As my ride south on Highway 1 progressed, I realized that I would not make it. The only other option to still arrive in San Diego that day was public transport. Looking back, had I not taken that course of action, I would not have had the long layover (over 3 hours) in San Clemente. I wouldn't have had time for a stroll and seen the magic of 5150 Picasso (last chapter). God knew.
God also knew that in San Diego I needed a good night's sleep. This was not as easy to obtain as I had assumed. Not only was it a Saturday, when I arrived late evening, hotels were booked out due to a big sporting event. Camping was out of the question. To make matters worse, I still had no data on my phone, which had a flat battery.
In the end, one hostel manager, who had just given away their last room, helped out. He found a vacancy in a motel near the Old Town and phoned to book it for me. By now it was dark outside, after 9 PM. I had to ride my bike through the streets of San Diego to find it. Many times during my 2019 jaunt did I ask God, where now? HE always led the way, but not by an audible, mysterious voice. God uses people. That night it was a lady, still walking her dog. She must have been frightened, when this stranger approached her, asking for direction.
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That Sunday morning in San Diego it rained. Locals said it was unheard of that it would rain this heavy in May. Riding in the wet for miles was out of the question. Public Transport was the only alternative to get to the church I had intended to go - Shadow Mountain, EL Cajon.
Every Sunday morning, on our TV Channel 72, their Pastor David Jeremiah gives a sermon. Why not visit there? From the 247 / 4747 Motel to the Old Town Railway station was only a few minutes. A kind lady in uniform, railway staff, googled the church for me, after I had asked for directions. She even wrote down, which metro line and bus number I needed to take.
Not only was I heading for the wrong place, the rain continued. I got wet changing from trolley to bus. Luckily, in San Diego, as they do in LA, buses are fitted with bike carriers at the front. Without this I would never have made it to church that morning.
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Stop Press! What amazing fact I just uncovered!
L Street and the huge letter L directly below could not have come more timely. As I write the entire world is preparing to celebrate a milestone in history:
But there's more. It came only hours before editing and publishing:
(Back to San Diego)
When I finally arrived at the address given for Shadow Mountain Church I was somewhat confused. Where was the main auditorium? On television it looked like a huge building, but this address looked nothing like it. That's when I realized the mistake. I had arrived at the South Bay Campus of Shadow Mountain, a suburban branch church. I felt a little disappointed. In hindsight, however, had I not come to the wrong place, the above L 50 linking would not have come about. God knew!
Not that God needs a big auditorium and thousands, worshipping to deafening rock music. God looks inside the heart. HE is blessing those that worship HIM in Spirit and in Truth. HE is the truth. Perhaps there is a misunderstanding?Jesus is our rock, yes, but does that mean rock music is his favourite genre?
Timely rock music
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Music can touch your heart, even cause tears of joy as you think of the lyrics. May I add, even just music, Christian or non-Christian. It can stir the emotion and cause eyes to moisten up. The late James Last and his orchestra produced many such moments.
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If the music at Shadow Mountain church was loud or not I don't know. I missed the singing and only arrived 15 minutes before the end of the sermon. The people were friendly, chatting afterwards over a cup of coffee. The Pastor was very interested in my undertakings. He helped me book a motel back in LA for that night and gave me clear direction, how to get back downtown.
That same afternoon I returned to Los Angeles on the Amtrak train. It took far less time than it would have on the coastal route. I had booked a room at the Key Inn in Tustin, Orange County, purposely wanting to time travel back 16 years:
Global dilemma: ONE, the great I, has been removed from the market place!
The receptionist at the Key Inn told me she upgraded my booking. She allocated a ground floor suite, Room 121, which faced Denny's Restaurant across the car park. I had dined there all those years ago. Room number 121 at the time didn't mean anything, except perhaps 12 Won? The number 12 (or two won) made me take the unforgettable track in 2003, when my mind was still suffering from severe paranoia.
Had I not booked into the Key Inn, I would never have stumbled onto the Main Place second-hand shop right next door. It was a blessing. Not only was I able to obtain an extra blanket for a Dollar, I met a wonderful, Christian man, Mark, the manager of the shop. Every day, according to the sign outside, a church service was being held there at noon. I didn't want to miss it.
About a dozen 'parishioners' attended the short service in a corner of the large second hand shop. Mark played the guitar as we sang a few choruses from a song sheet provided. His short 'sermon' was most impressive. He told of his personal experience, something a listening audience loves to hear. His former life must have been horrendous. He was very candid, telling how low he had fallen following a marriage break-up. (Certain details, if I understood them correctly, are too awful to mention here.)
But God entered his life. The prodigal son returned to his heavenly Father. He met Jesus. His life turned around 180 degrees. As he spoke, the joy of the Lord was almost tangible, pouring out of Him. Mark made mention of the date of his 'return'. When I heard it, 12.12.12, it made me wonder, was Mark also a numbers lover?
Talking to Mark afterwards it came to me, perhaps there was another reason God led me back to this very spot on the globe? Perhaps I could leave my bicycle here for safe-keeping, while I was visiting my sister in Alabama? (I did not want to carry it, as I did in 2012).So it was. Mark assured me my bicycle and other gear would be safely looked after. Another answer to my prayer.
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Sunny Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA
Late in the evening on May 20th, 19 I sat on an American Airlines jet from LAX to Atlanta, Georgia. What a relief it was; I had thought I would miss the flight. From previous experience I had assumed I could just catch a local bus to the airport. From Tustin, however, it was not so easy. I had allowed plenty of time, but failed to hear the driver call out my stop to change buses. What saved me was a passenger, who knew the bus routes better than the drivers. The better option would have been the long route, the train to Union Station, then the Fly Express bus.
The overnight 4 1/2 flight arrived on time at 5.07 AM. No trouble finding the Greyhound Station. Getting off at the wrong metro station was no big deal. A brisk, early morning walk through Atlanta was just what I needed. There was still plenty of time for the 7.40 AM scheduled departure to Mobile.
Except the bus was leaving late at 11.15 AM. (On the return journey the service improved a little. The wait was only 2 1/2 hours). The worst part was that passengers were just left waiting, without explanation or clarification as to when the bus was coming. As the hours of waiting lingered, finally, passengers for Bus 1265 were called to queue at Gate 4. But then, why let us stand by that gate for almost another hour?
Fortunately, had I booked the only other bus ride that day, and there were a delay, arrival time in Mobile would have been after midnight. Not a good time to ask anyone for a pick-up! Pity, I have to write about this negative experience. But if I were a sufferer still, this Greyhound fiasco may have cause my Black Dog to surface!
At my age one has learned to be more patient. Patience is an outworking, a fruit of the Holy Spirit. My thoughts didn't turn into depression. Instead I had six hours to contemplate the bigger picture. I became aware, saw many road signs, that our bus was actually on Interstate 85. In Chapter 3, had I not written about a storm that caused many lives and caused much devastation on Interstate 85, in Lee County?
Picture below: A back street in Alabama with a Devine name.
Staying in one place with my sister Anita (nice name) gave me time for doing some washing, catching up with my nephews, who live on the same premises, going shopping etc etc. My grand niece, whom I had met as a teenager in 2012, grew into a pretty, mature young adult. We dropped into the health food store, which she was working that day; all by herself.
My sister loves shopping at second-hand stores, a passion possibly inherited from our mother. As we entered the car park of a Salvation Army store in her KIA sedan, another shopper arrived in her vehicle. For a split second I caught her front registration plate - JESUS. Makes sense - Jesus probably would rather shop there than on Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills. (HE saves, just kidding).
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Coming back to Chapter 3, mentioned a few paragraphs earlier, we read about that storm in Alabama. Next, the subject changed suddenly and I felt to point at a serious issue on my heart - abortion. It so happened, at the very time of my above visit to Alabama, in May 2019, this US state passed legislation to ban abortion, almost totally. As I understand it, the new law forbids killing the unborn, when there is a heartbeat.
How refreshing to learn, somebody saw the light and did something about the global sin, the shame of mankind. Millions of unborn humans never had a choice, they were helplessly slaughtered, using women's rights as excuse!
During my time in the US the airwaves were buzzing with talk on the subject. Is America finally waking up to the big mistake of 1973, the verdict in the Wade vs Roe case: Access to legal and safe abortion is a constitutional right!
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There is one human right every woman should have, the right to live without abuse, without being enslaved and exploited.
It so happened, again after writing about Alabama, there is another moral issue that needs addressing - prostitution. The same woman politician of chapter 3, a Green Party member in the Upper House, introduced a law to make prostitution legal in our State of South Australia. She is the one who also fights for the rights of piglets and greyhounds (those with 4 legs not 4 wheels), but seems to not care one iota about unborn babies.
In an information session, during the writing of this chapter, my eyes opened to what is already going on in the prostitution business, and what the Greens Bill would do to women, who are caught up in it. Ruthless, greedy people, often men, lure young ladies into working for them, promising big money, easy work - no English language necessary! They are not fully informed, however, what is waiting for them, the price they pay for earning big money.
The argument of the Green Party to protect and give rights to these so called 'sex-workers' is to regulate the industry. What foolishness! Does the Greens MP really think that those who operate at present illegally, will suddenly become law abiding citizens? Does she really believe a pimp (a person living off the earnings of prostitution) will suddenly obey laws and shield women from abuse and give them rights according to regulations?
Legalizing prostitution, some argue, would control and reduce the number of brothels. However, in Victoria where legal brothels can operate, the numbers tripled within one year of legalization.* Likewise in Sydney - the number increased four times within a few years.**
Sources: *The Age Newspaper 2/3/99, **Sydney Morning Herald 11/11/2000.
That this law was passed in South Australia's Upper House is unbelievable! What were our politicians thinking? A clause that would forbid children living on premises was quashed! This means, in theory a mother with children could serve her clients in one room of their house, while her children in the next room are doing their homework! It's madness! As I understand, our law would be a world first to allow this; letting women ruin their lives and dragging their children down with them!
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Hope Park, Downtown Los Angeles.
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There is more fallout from this dangerous legislation. If landlords were leasing properties within the legal zone, they would have no right to forbid the establishment of a brothel. Imagine the conflict in the mind of a Christian property owner!
Interesting to note that this current attempt in South Australia will be sponsored by our Attorney-General. One would have expected a conservative, female politician would oppose this bill, birthed (if you pardon the pun) in the perverted brain of a Greens Party member. If anything needed aborting, it's this radical, destructive push to legalize wickedness.
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Years ago, I recall, it was Diane Laidlaw, a powerful politician in our state at the time, who tried to legalize prostitution. All together there had been 13 attempts to do this. So far all failed. In 2019 it will too. God willing.
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Researching my former books I came across Book 5, Chapter 22, written 13 years ago. Back in 2006 I was very engaged in political issues. Two photos took my attention. They pointed to stormy and Alabama, but in a different way. Take a look:
Pictures from Book 5, Chapter 22 - 2006.
The common argument that it's the oldest profession in the world, still does not make it right. The issue is not so much about the activity, it's about living off the earning of prostitution and the associated ruined lives that result from it.
A father of an unemployed 20 year-old would be elated, if his daughter came home, announcing: "Guess what, Dad, I got a job today!" Would not that elation evaporate the moment he finds out that the occupation is sex-worker? I would like to ask my local member of parliament, if he is going to vote for this legislation. If yes, my next question will be: "What if your daughter was lured into prostitution? Would you still be in favour of it being a legitimate occupation?"
Friends, we are living in wicked times. The enemy, Satan, is very busy at work. This is why Jesus came - to destroy the works of this devil. Should committed Christians not be passionate about the work of Jesus? And if they are, should they not feel righteous anger against those evil works and DO SOMETHING about it? God's will be done, yes, with or without HIS followers. But God uses HIS people as HIS instruments in defeating the enemy. Christians are HIS voice, HIS keyboard, HIS pen.
Raised hands, raised voices in worship Sunday mornings are wonderful. But this does not tell politicians how bad and dangerous their laws are.
Above law, which has already passed in the Upper House will be dealt with in the Lower House in August 2019. Local members of Parliament will debate and vote on this bill. It's a conscience vote.
One final point: Australian members of Parliament, as I understand it, are sworn into office, pledging their allegiance to Her Majesty, the Queen, before Almighty God. They place their hand on a bible. (There may be exceptions, as one Muslim MP did under the Rudd Labor government.) But those who did so, how could they vote for prostitution, and for that matter abortion, to be legalized, when that bible clearly says it's wrong?
A scripture in the Old Testament clearly warns:
Friends, our land is already full of wickedness. But thank God for HIS Son. Trust HIM. HE can change everything.
(Next chapter, God willing, 13, 8.)