Hey Ho, Hey Ho, It's off to work we go
A while back we wrote a couple of articles on guidance. And
said: 'We're right in the slap-bang middle of a bit of the Lord's
leadings as we tap these words into the computer'.
We didn't explain. It was still glass darkly time, folks.
Now we've a bit of a clue, so we'll fill you in up to today.
When we were in Israel, surviving the voluntary work that was
the nearest thing to slave labour this side of a chain gang, God gave us three
things to do if and when we returned.
Thing #1: build a great big deck on the north side of the
house. (No, Doris, that's not very spiritual. Guidance doesn't have to be.
Okay?) So we did. It's nice. Makes our get-togethers on Thursdays relaxed.
Informal. Folk can move around. Discuss (which means argue if you know our
friends and neighbours) in small groups. It beats sitting in rows, or staring at
someone's knees in a big circle.
Thing #2: lecture on Israel around Northland. Surprisingly,
most of the invites have come via Jews. That's very nice.
Thing #3: visit the Pacific islands, tell them about God's
People and His Land, the history, covenants, prophecy, style of thing. Er,
but... Hellooo, God! We might be having a little problem there.
(Now, dear discerning reader, please note that we weren't
giving the Lord a straight 'no'. We're too long in the tooth for such
unhealthy nonsense. Let's just say we were pointing out a few snags that He
might have overlooked.)
In fact, several snags. Which island? We can't just arrive;
religion is pretty well sewn up across the Pacific; barging into some village is
like gatecrashing someone's home. And... But...
When in doubt, first try being sensible. A call to Korean Air
ascertained we had enough brownie points for one return freebie to Fiji. Okay,
Lord, we'll decide to go thattaway. (Both of us. We were agreed on
that. Agreement is important. Don't leave home without it.)
Now, if you do something right, God kicks the
surprise-surprise pedal. The same morning as we decided to give Fiji a go, we
went to the local cybercafé to check our email. (Have we ever told you we're
too paranoid to be wired at home?) Started talking to a bloke at the next
terminal who'd read some of our stuff. All slightly so-what until he said:
'I'm off this afternoon for a couple of weeks in Fiji. Is
there anything you'd like me to bring back?'
Why did he say that? It just sort of popped out. And we found
'Yes, please. The address of some believers well away from
the main tourist trail. We think God wants us to go and teach...'
Would you believe he came back with just that, and an
invitation from the local pastor to teach. The Lord was in it.
We'd struck another snag. Quite a genuine one that even our
long-suffering doctor agreed with. Eileen (...George writing this bit...) had
an attack of the dreaded gallstones.
Gone are the days when, at the slightest twinge, one was
rushed in (why are people always 'rushed in' to hospital; cute cliché,
somewhat overdone) to be operated on there and then. Now, thanks to
restructuring, there are waiting lists that stretch far into the dim future.
There are even (we joke not) waiting lists to get onto the waiting list.
Eileen was in continual pain. Which varied from an annoyed ouch
to an ear-splitting yaargh. So the medical mills ground slowly (but they
ground exceeding small) and checked it wasn't her heart. Which involved her
running on a treadmill whilst hooked up to something futuristic, all under the
dispassionate gaze of a clutch of anonymous experts.
No probs. Perhaps it's just ulcers, said they. The let's-have-a-look
technique is called a gastroscopy (Latin for 'don't try this at home'),
but to the layman it's just a matter of swallowing a telescope. Not, according
to my beloved, too uncomfortable. And not, according to another clutch of
experts, the source of any trouble.
Meanwhile, an ultrasound scan confirmed that, sure 'nuff,
Eileen had been assembling and hoarding enough gallstones to make a rockery. Or
rosary. Ultrasound is fascinating. I got to watch, and made bright comments as
yards of plumbing and weirdly pulsating organs swam onto a large screen - until
I was told firmly to hush by the technician and my unappreciative spouse.
Still the waiting list for the operation stretched ever on.
So God told Eileen to prepare for a crisis or several. And told me to drive
The pain, on a scale of one to ten, shot up to lots.
We became regular visitors to A&E. Eileen got enough pain-killing fixes to
make a junky jealous. (And yes, you can fake the grimaces and the yelps. But
nurses look for the sweating, the soaring blood pressure, the chaotic
To cut a long one short, even the medics were eventually
impressed and the Great Day arrived. The name of the game - laproscopic
cholesystectomy - was longer than the four tiny incisions they made. And
Eileen's recovery and return to what we laughingly call normal was rapid and
complete. We recommend!
(Just don't visit us on one of our Open-House Thursdays: we
have a tendency to produce the appetite-destroying specimen bottle with its
twelve boulders for visitors to admire.)
And a nice touch from on high: the surgeon was Jewish and the
recovery nurse was a Christian. Very, very nice.
We booked our flight. But, because we're nervous little
folk, we've wanted to find out all we can about where we're headed. That's
a trifle tricky, seeing 'our' village isn't on any map. So we mentioned
this to the proprietor of the 4-Square we use, and told him the name of the
He glowed. 'That's my village!' he enthused. And
submitted patiently to all the questions we fired at him. There are a million
things we need to know when we're living with the locals, far from our
geriatric comfort zone.
Two items of news we've heard in the past week.
One is that the Fijian military have been put on full alert.
The news is sketchy, but it's one of those bits of political unrest that
happens. So? It can't be more exciting than the Intifada in Israel. Can it?
The other bit of goss is that there seems to be a revival in
Fiji. Moslems and Hindus are encountering the power of the risen Saviour and are
being transformed. We remember the sixties and seventies in New Zealand and look
back fondly to the revival then. And this time? Perhaps we're not really going
there to teach.
God dangles bait; reality can be astonishing. It would be
exciting to find we're going there to learn.