20. Fernando Number 20 - Mama mia!
Moments before commencing this chapter I watched a news broadcast on ABC TV, Thursday 10/11/05. "A number of bombs have exploded in hotels in Jordanís capital Amman. A high death toll is expected".
One of the names of a bombed hotel was - Days Inn. How could I ever forget my experiences surrounding a Days Inn Motel in California? Looking back to the first 10 days in April 03, it was an exciting time of learning, and trusting God's leading in a weird, but wonderful way.
I didnít know this chain of hotels obviously has branches the world over. After I had heard Days Inn, I became more alert and watched even more carefully. Two items stood out in the broadcast, which didn't make sense. (In a moment I will come back and explain).
This bombing was the fifth such incident, which made me wonder, if there was a connection to what I had written in my auto-biography. On my first trip to the USA the first hotel I mentioned was the Marriott Hotel. On August 5th, 03 the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia was bombed, causing serious damage and casualties.
Another cowardly attack in Israel again against innocent people occurred on April 30th, 03 outside Mikeís place, a bar on Tel Aviv's beachfront. I had written about a story, which was reported from Kentucky/USA. A shop owner had become a Christian and changed his adult-bookshop to selling bibles instead. The converted adult bookshop was renamed Mike's place. (In the end I suspected the story may have been a fairytale).
Close to home, in August/September 03 two fires, exactly 4 weeks apart, made me suspect that my story was linked. The first fire was on 22.8. (This number caused me to shed many tears early in my story 'More in number than the sand'. Not only the number, but the location may have irritated those who hated my writing - the first 4 letters of the name.
As I read it today, having used my code for so long - I see not only 'see the cross, I am' or 'see my cross', by also 'MC it'. At the time of this fire, which caused 20 Million Dollars damage, the letters MC meant nothing, except an abbreviation for 'son of'. Much MC has happened since.
The arson attack on Henley Beach Road, exactly 4 Sunday mornings later, also damaged and destroyed a group of shops, which has since been repaired or rebuilt. A section of the Mitcham Shopping Complex, which was left untouched by the fire, continued trading. The new development, born out of the ashes of August 03, is scheduled to reopen in October 06, at a cost of $ 60 Million Dollars. Ashes have a tendency to bring forth new life, new hope and stronger people.
The bible is full of stories, where evil people plotted against the innocent. But God intervened on behalf of the downtrodden in amazing ways. HE loves turning hopeless dilemmas into heavenly dreams come true.
(Please ask me for details, if you're unclear).
Friends, the worst reaction we can have, to the evil acts of misguided minds, is to walk away in fear. This would make those responsible think they have achieved their goal of destroying our way of life and won. People who love truth will always be the target of those pushing the opposite agenda for their selfish purposes. On the frontline are those who speak up and sadly those linked to the revolution.
We must be vigilant and protect ourselves, of course. But if businesses would lose clients, or even have to close altogether, after a terror attack, those responsible would think they have triumphed. If you have been a client of a business, which was a victim of a terror attack, keep supporting this business even more than before.
From the travel section of a major newspaper: Who is the man in the middle? If I picture the ladies carrying the wood as 2 crosses, a third cross fits in the middle. WHO would be the man in the middle. *(Read on).
Late observation: Moments before typing this I watched the 'ABBA Top 20 Special' on TV Channel Seven. How dare they place my favourite song 'Fernando' at Number 20? (Then again, this is chapter 20!).
Some other placings made more sense: Nr. 7 SOS! Nr. 5 Take a chance of me (gamblers), Nr. 1 of course Mama Mia! I AM AM AM.
The two clues I noticed about the bomb attacks in Amman, Jordan on the TV News were this: The report concluded that even while the bomb blasts were small ones, it was an indication that the terrorists had found a new frontier - Jordan (or words to that effect). In the end the blasts killed 57 people. How can this be described as a small blast?
Secondly, as the report was read a picture of King Abdullah II appeared. The king was smiling! If a picture is worth a thousand words, this picture did not fit the report, no matter how many words were printed telling the story. Things did not add up, I spoke out.
I emailed a number of Newspapers in Amman, Jordan and The Washington Post:
Date: 11/11/05 - Subject: Big or small blast
Our ABC News (Australia) reported Wednesday's tragic bombings of 3 Hotels in Amman, Jordan. From what I saw in the pictures the damage of these attacks looked very serious. I could not understand two things:
One, our reporter called the attacks minor. Is this justified, when 70* people lost their lives and 117 injured?
Two, a photo was shown of King Abdullah II, with a smiling face?
I do not understand, why they showed a smiling king under these circumstances. The King was supposedly visiting Kazakstan, OK, hiz angst may not be as big, but he not happy about it.
To show a smiling king, whose country has just been attacked, is not good journalism.
Dieter R. Fischer
PS Perhaps you may want to help out our ABC TV News with a photo of King Abdullah II, looking more serious. But then, who needs to look sad when you are a king? And he it.
*(One report claimed there were 70 dead).
It amazed me, the way the German word 'angst' fitted into the email. Both, the place where the king reigns, Amman, plus where he was visiting at the time, Kazakstan, made me sit up. Why bother mentioning where the king is visiting? Why is this part of the story? (Strangely enough, I sent an email to a Christian worker in Kazakstan days later). When I saw how, 'he it', a phrase made famous at least twice in my long journey, it fitted into Amman perfectly. It all made sense.
A discovery in another corner of my world on 12/8/05 actually involved the word 'discovery'. All I can say is, I am amazed as you will be, the way God arranged this little wonder. (Remember, I just write the scripts). No, this well timed piece of scheming did not involve numbers, but two words, which together turned into this little gem of a tale:
It started when I read my bible reading in Every Day with Jesus on 12/8/05. The day before, on August 11/05, I had uploaded Chapters 4 & 5 of the book you are reading. In one place I wrote that the spacecraft Challenger had returned to earth after its mission in space.
Alert readers would have recognized that it was not the spacecraft Challenger, but the Discovery, which was in the news that day. I could have missed it, but remembered, when reading the prayer at the end of the bible reading:
Notice not only the words 'challenge to discover', but other keywords in my story - place, trust, life, all.
I had felt a bit of a fool after discovering that I had written discovery, instead of challenger. Isn't it amazing how God can use our mistakes to show off?
One week earlier my football team, Adelaide United, played a pre-season match in Melbourne. I joined a busload of 40 fans on the overnight trip, to cheer on our players and fly the flag in the fresh air. As always, fans were free to spend the day as they wished. We were to meet back at the bus, for transfer to the stadium, at a set time.
On this occasion my little wanderings around Melbourne turned out as exiting as the match that evening. (Please don't take this as reflection on our team's performance).
The bus dropped us at the famous Melbourne Markets, a short stroll from the centre of Melbourne. It had only been 5 weeks since I had experienced some incredible, powerful happenings in this same city, the capitol of Victoria, Australia's second largest city. The 3 digit code on a parking clock in Elizabeth Street, the the cozy night I spent sleeping in my Suzuki in Five-Crown lane, etc. I shall always treasure as fond memories.
On the way in the bus I was thinking, I could buy myself a new belt at the Melbourne Markets. Stepping off the bus the first stall, closest to the parked bus, sold belts at half price. I saw one, picked it up and discovered a slight fault. In the end I purchased the $ 20 belt, which was reduced to $ 10 for half price again at $ 5.00. Not only that - I loved the engraving on the buckle - Global star. Hey, what timing, what magic, it just came to me. Read under the picture!
This is the $ 20 belt I purchased at Melbourne Markets. It was reduced to $ 10, but I paid only $ 5, because it was slightly marked. Where is the magic in that?
Our football team approx. 19 hours ago beat the Central Coast Mariners in a sensational 2:1 win at Gosford, North of Sydney! The score was 0:1 almost to the end, when Adelaide United scored two goals in the last 5 minutes. What a belting on home soil, sorry Mariners!
Earlier that same morning I was in the City watching Australia play Uruguay in the elimination round for the World Cup 06 in Germany. The winning goal, the only score in the match, was scored by Uruguay in the 35th minute. One commentator at half time said 38th minute. Oh, yeah, I let him know. 3 minutes - just hold your breath that long. It will seem a lifetime. (While in town I picked a few clues, another story to be written).
As I had done in the USA, I decided to revisit a few places, a walk down memory lane, as it were. I headed south down Elizabeth Street. The parking clock was still there. This time I took a photograph (shown in Chapter 17).
Nearby, a few plastic garbage bins had burned down. The terrible mess would not have impressed any interstate or overseas tourists, attracted by my parking clock and/or the Crown Casino.
Casually strolling along the footpath nearby, I saw a young man holding a coffee mug inside a clothing store. It made me take more notice. Indeed the store had a Da Ninci name, MAN-TO-MAN. It was a branch of chain of clothing stores. One week before I appeared at the Kapunda Road Royal Commission I had bought my brown suit from a MAN-to-MAN store.
The hub of Melbourne is on the corner, where Swanston Street meets Flinders Street. I sat and sipped a coffee at a fast food place, watching a constant stream of colourful pedestrians walk by on the pavement outside. Thinking (and silently praying) I wondered where life was taking me next. Since I was right opposite, I decided to sit and meditate inside St. Paulís Cathedral for a few moments. My tired eyes welcomed the break, too.
After I had sat down in a pew at the Eastern side, I read seat No. 65. (3 months later seat No. 55 in the same church played a role - another mystical story in my diary). To my right against the wall was a table full of candles. A priest walked over and busied himself, cleaning up burned candles. The organ piped up for a brief moment, in praise to God I assumed, then stopped again.
Amongst such spiritual surroundings I couldnít help thinking and marveling at what God was doing in my life. As I reflected, especially the supernatural leading of God's Holy Spirit in such incredible, specific ways, my tired eyes filled with moisture.
Unlike our other body parts, closed eyelids don't guarantee to keep fluids in. (Thank God, not about the eyelids, but the other body part, you know). I had to restrain myself from letting it all flow. I didn't want the priest to see me and ask: Is there any way I could help to ease your burden? I am trained to listen to people. I understand. Would you like to talk it over?
Or did I? Either way, he was busy near the table of candles.
It had only been a week since I had launched my fourth book, Candles and the wind, the one you are reading. In the introduction on the index-page I had urged Christians to let their lights shine, to move outside the comfort zones, meaning the church walls. I promised that the flame of their burning lights will find shelter in HIS hands.
On leaving a few minutes later, I made an interesting find on the southern exit of the cathedral. Had I walked out from where I had entered, I would have missed it. Thinking about Federation Square next, I left via the southern door, at first following another man down the exit ramp. For some reason I turned back. It may have been that walking down the ramp would have meant crossing busy Flinders Street away from the traffic lights.
I am glad I turned back and took the southern steps instead. Otherwise I would have missed this little shrine.
I took this photo a week after launching my book - Candle and the wind. A candle is burning on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, outside. If I had asked the candles, how they felt, they might have said: It is more cozy inside, on the table near seat 65!
Please note: Only one candle is lit - for the man in the middle. *(See above).
Federation Square Melbourne features paving with artistic expressions in words and letters. My code-filled brain went into overdrive.
Can you find: er, UPPEDWATERTOAL, LOVE, OFARSPR ADIN, MY HAND, PUTBYYOURSWORDIGIVEM, OUCH.
Had I not crossed the road at that point I may have also missed a real great movie, plus the colourful afternoon, which followed.