Chapter 3 Written / Published 27.5./31.5.16 Pics by author, unless indicated
|The timing of publishing Book 15, Chapter
3 on May 31 was not planned, at least not by the writer. Surprises, such
as this have happened from Day 1 of my 'accidental writing career'. God
forbid, that we should fail to appreciate them any longer!
This chapter is, as readers probably expect, filled with digits 1 3 5 - unplanned magic. We celebrate a major sporting achievement in Adelaide and take a short, one week trip to Victoria. Predictably, odd things cross our paths that made it into the diary.
We stand side by side with a former Prime Minister, before reaching new heights in Melbourne and traveling on into Victoria's high country. Enjoy reading, but more importantly - find and follow your calling.
3. Finally - One Won
In the previous chapter two words surprised us, because they had appeared very timely at the launch of this book. 'Follow me' matched Heed the Call, the title of this my fifteenth book, so perfectly. It happened again a day after publishing the previous chapter.
This time four words, the subject of a bible study in four parts, could not have fitted better. Take a look:
When God calls you - Vision Christian Media - Word for Today May 1:
The reading continues ... difficulty, suffering and the opportunity to be used by God. As example the writers tell of the late Chuck Colson, whose life turned upside down, after he was implicated and jailed following the Nixon Watergate affair. His career was over; the end of the road for him.
However, while in prison Colson's calling was just beginning. God used him to bring hope to many prisoners. God did not stop using him after his release. Colson gave himself fully to the work of the Lord. His suffering birthed an organization called Prison Fellowship, a world-wide organization, which to this day is showing Christian love to many inmates and their families. Colson said: "My greatest humiliation - being sent to prison - was the beginning of God's greatest use of my life."
Approximately six weeks into Australia's A-League football season I had to make a decision about actively supporting our team, Adelaide United. The Reds under their new coach Guillermo Amor had had a very bad start to the 2016 season. In the first 8 weeks they suffered five losses and only managed three draws. After three weeks of competition they had dropped to the bottom of the ladder and stayed there for five weeks.
Fans felt disillusioned with the new coach. They might have loved his name Amor, but not the results to that point. Was it a good move to appoint the Spaniard, a former top player for FC Barcelona?
I almost decided to rest my support for the team at this low point. But what kind of football lover would only show interest when his team wins? Instead I renewed my membership and continued as I had since the A-league's season one.
In hindsight the decision to keep supporting my football team in 2016 was a good one. In a remarkable turn-around, starting at round 9 (coincidentally, this was around the time I rejoined as a member) the Reds started winning. As if a magical something had come into play, a fairytale was in the making. The boys started winning match after match. They only lost one more out of the next 20.
Finally, for the first time, Adelaide won the Premier's plate at the end of the regular season. The success came with a little 'help' from their arch-rivals Melbourne Victory, who held Brisbane Roar to a 0:0 draw after a crucial fight for top spot.
The scene was set for a first time ever grand final at Adelaide Oval. (In the A-League, after the regular season, the first six teams play off to decide the ultimate champion.) At the end of the 2015/16 season Adelaide United became IT.
Adelaide's football (soccer) fraternity had never seen anything like it. The newly renovated and expanded sports ground, the Adelaide Oval, was packed to almost capacity on that unforgettable, sunny Sunday afternoon. A sea of red jerseys provided a colourful contrast to the lush, green grass and blue sky. The cheers of 50119 excited football fans provided a carnival- like atmosphere long before kick-off.
I was especially happy just to be there with two of my sons. We all witnessed a thrilling football match with No. 24 (Kamau) scoring the first goal for Adelaide. The crowd went wild; and again, even more so, after No. 8 Isaias placed a free-kick, perfectly into the top left corner, leaving the Wanderers goalkeeper and his team stunned.
Equally superb was the Wanderer's fight-back goal*, a cracker of a shot after the break, which beat even Adelaide's captain and super goal keeper, Eugene Galekovic, and created much excitement in the stadium. The opponents from Sydney were known for strong come-backs.
There was plenty of time, over half an hour, for the Wanderers to equalize. The team from Sydney's West tried hard, but failed to break Adelaide's defense. Much to the relief of the crowd the third goal for Adelaide, just before the final whistle, sealed the match for Adelaide. It was scored by No.7 Sanchez, the Spaniard's 7th goal for the season. Adelaide United, for the first time in their 13 year history, became Australia's football league champions.
The timing of it all struck me as having been arranged just for this page:
Kick-off had been scheduled for 15.30 hours on 1.5. The final score was 3:1
You are reading it in Book 15, Chapter 3, published (God willing) on 31.5.
Those digits 1 3 5 have run through my books since Day 1; as regular reader will well know. When they appear, something inside makes me react. Late last year I reacted, committing my wife and I to sponsoring a child in the Philippines.
The way it came about was, in my world view, arranged by my unseen, almighty friend and manager, to use a non-religious phrase.
Our sponsored girl in the Philippines
At the time of writing (May 2016) a famous, rich actor Mr. Depp has been making headline news on the world stage. He publicly insulted Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Joyce, making a very derogatory comment about his looks. It was clearly in retaliation for receiving a fine from our authorities for illegally bringing two pet dogs into Australia on his private jet. The reason I mention this here is the meaning of the word depp. In southern Germany they call a person of low intelligence a depp.
It raises the question: Is it correct that one does not need to be very intelligent to become rich and famous; or good looking to become a politician?
For the answer we should look neither to Hollywood nor Washington. Depps are everywhere. And for these let me quote 3 bible verses, keeping in mind that in God's eyes our IQ or our looks are of very little importance:
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all ..." (James 1, 5).
"Wisdom is with aged men". (Job 12, 12). Aha - Altmann! (Bk. 1 ff.)
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111, 10.)
This figure surprised me not merely because of what I had already written, but of a story I was about to write, which ends in just these three digits 1 (0) and 53. It happened just over a week before this writing, on Friday May 20th. As I was riding my bicycle in a northerly direction from our place I suddenly remembered a message I had to pass on to my mother-in-law, who lives south of our place. I changed direction immediately.
Had I not done so I would not have passed the major intersection, the one I reported on in the previous chapter, the Liebherr (Masters) corner. In passing, right in the middle of that busy cross road, I spotted a set of keys. At first I ignored it, thinking what good would it do if I collected it? But my conscience nagged to return and pick it up. I could possibly hand it into the police station?
I returned to pick it up, mindful of fast moving peak hour traffic. Luckily for the owner, his set of keys came with a tag, displaying his name and phone number (disguised for privacy) It also included a remote car door opener.
How this young man, Ben, could lose a set of keys in the middle of a busy intersection remains a mystery. I was able to contact him. The next morning he picked them up, explaining that they must have fallen out of his bag, as he was driven home from work.
But there was something else attached to the keys. A blue bottle opener with a company name written on it: NOBLE and SONS. In the back of my mind the name Noble registered. Not only did I recall somebody, who works or worked there, but this person happened to be present in church way back in 1999, when I was at the lowest point in life (Bk. 1, Ch. 9 and 10).
To refresh my mind I read Chapter 10, where indeed the name Noble appears. Tear welled up in my eyes, tears of joy and thankfulness, how God had so wonderfully brought me through those difficult times.
Continuing my writing, turning to my diary for information, my eyes fell onto a graphic. It had been printed in our church newsletter on Sunday 15.5, less than a week before I found above keys:
Diary: Graphic from Church Newsletter 15 May 2016
'Change the world' with a key ...?
The incident of my key find at the Liebherr corner had a sequel. After you read it, you will agree, the timing of it, Bk.15, 3, could not have been more appropriate. As finder's reward the young man gave me two scratch tickets worth $ 20, with the possibility of 20 winnings. ,
Unfamiliar with lottery tickets I learned that to check if you win a prize (first prize $ 300 000!) you had to scratch out numbers. If three out of five numbers were the same, you're a winner. If so, to find out how much you have won you have to scratch another panel on the right. Take a look at the one winning combination:
Winning numbers on scratch ticket: 53 53 47 53 19 - $ 10.00
My diary is filled with peculiar things I see or hear; so much to write, so little time! How can somebody spell Ousiders wrong (PHCC) or suffer the paint of imprisonment (APN) or speak the word allowed (all owed - BBC/TF) by mistake?
There is the possibility they are just simple errors, nothing more. At the same time they occupy my mind. Perhaps they are codes, a leftover from my struggle to prove my sanity?
Only three hours before writing this paragraph I heard (code?) 3 / 5 during the Hour of Power, a TV program broadcast from Shepherds Grove, California. I used to watch very regularly many years ago.
A week earlier (on Sun 22.5.16) I had risen to use the bathroom just before 5 AM. I decided to stay up and watch the program, something I had not done for many months. That morning Robbie* told a humourous story, which I would like to retell:
*Grandson of Robert Schuller.
Here is why I retold above story of Robbie and Hannah: Five hours after I had heard him preach, telling his funny love story, we went to church. I did not give Hannah or Robbie another thought, until the graphic for the theme that Sunday appeared on the big screen above the platform:
Hannah - ... and the Lord remembered her.
It was not merely the name Hannah, which made me take above photo. Moments later, as my mind was still across the Pacific Ocean in Shepherd's Grove, California, the leader Dave (above in uniform) announced the first hymn: "Joyful, joyful we adore thee ..." This is the theme song, sung at the beginning of every broadcast of the Hour of Power.
One detail on above graphic of Hannah had me thinking - how strange the three letters (J and is) came out!?
During a recent bible study, as way of introduction, the leader asked each of the small group of a dozen or so, to say a few word about their name. Some knew exactly what their name meant or how their parents came to give it to them.
Having been put on the spot I got a little nervous and mixed up the meaning of my name with that of my son Benjamin - Son of my right hand. My name Dieter has nothing to do with food. It's common in Germany and means 'warrior of the people' or 'army of the people'.
When it was my wife Isobel's turn, she said it was the Spanish equivalent of Elizabeth. Somebody in the group said it meant 'Beauty'. I certainly agreed with this interpretation. (After all, I did marry my Isobel more for her looks than her money, ha, ha). An online source* gave a different, very interesting explanation of the name Isobel: 'Pledged to God'.
Our church's theme, the Salvation Army, for 2016 is 'Deeper and Wider'. If it means thinking deeper and looking wider, that's what I do.
- - - - - - -
Let's leave our deep thinking for another day and take a road trip instead. The day after Adelaide United's great day of victory in the Hyundai A-League my wife and I took our Hyundai for a week's holiday to - where else - Victoria. We had booked into a place in famous Lydiard Street. Ballarat, a former gold mining town just over an hour's drive north-west of Melbourne. (En route I could not help noticing two registration plates, heavy vehicles, part of the same road works: POP was one, the other ...110).
Unfortunately, the weather had turned very cold and wet. Whilst we arrived early enough for a possible short stroll downtown, we stayed in and watched television instead. The news was not very good on the weather front - Melbourne was expecting winds of up to 110 km/h, according to Kylie, the same TV presenter mentioned in the previous chapter ("...in about 4 minutes we interview a lady, who brought up 6 children under 8."
Only days before this chapter, my wife and I watched an episode of Dr.Blake solving a crime. Some scenes were filmed at Lake Wendouree, the location of the 1956 Olympic Rowing events, only a few kilometers from the city center.
It was tempting to stay in the warm bed on our first morning. But I rose and took an early morning bike ride around the picturesque lake. Unlike a previous trip in 07 (Bk.6, 18, Picture below) there was plenty of water in the lake this time:
Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria
At the western end of Lake Wendouree are the Botanical Gardens, one of Ballarat's tourist attractions. A well known feature among the beautiful trees and flowers is an avenue with statues of former Australian Prime Ministers. The most recent ones are not yet included.
- - - - - - -
During our short two day break in Ballarat I tuned into their local Christian Radio Station on 103.9 FM a few times. (What a pity, their frequency isn't 103.5 ... just kidding). An entry in my diary records how I enjoyed their program, especially the music. One song particularly blessed me immensely for two reasons. Firstly because I heard it twice during the short time of listening. Secondly, the song title seemed to fit the title of this, my fifteenth book: "Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling..."
To reach our next overnight destination, Lakes Entrance in Gippsland, we had drive through the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne. As regular reader would know, I had been there many times, seen it all, except I had never been on top of the Eureka Tower.
Leaving Melbourne at 15.30 hours, before the peak hour traffic, did not result in a smooth exit. Traffic was slow through the suburbs and continued crawling on the Monash Freeway. There was not only one bad crash, which caused the chaos, there were two. The second time traffic came to crawl I lost my patience somewhat. I exited the freeway impulsively at Pakenham, but turned the wrong way, trying to get around the crash site. It was a mistake!
After about 5 km driving south, we ended up on a gravel road, no signs to guide us, no detailed map. As it was getting dark, I came to my senses and returned to Pakenham. After filling up with petrol the attendant very kindly gave us a map, so we would find our way back to the freeway.
Soon we were back on the highway, rushing along for 210 kilometers, with only one toilet stop, after which I reflected: Why am I worried, arriving a little late, when there are no appointments, no pressing duties waiting, and a luxury room reserved for us?
Taking an early morning walk, on my own, I spotted a soft drink can standing on the ground, all on its own. It looked very conspicuous. I took a picture because it was a Sunkist.
There is a 6 / 5 story in my diary, thanks to my wife Is, who told me what she had heard on radio that day. She heard veteran political reporter Barry Cassidy say: "One Labor party policy has been kept quiet - they want to abolish 5 cent coins, because they cost 6 cents to produce." I'm good at dates. That day was also May 6th.
Pity we only spent two nights, one full day, at Lakes Entrance; far too short at such a beautiful place, in lovely autumn weather. Our next destination, however, also shines at it's best during autumn. Leaving the Gippsland coast on Saturday, 7th May we drove on the beautiful alpine road over Mount Hotham to Bright, Victoria. Regular readers may recall that in late 2010, as reported in Book 9 Chapter 10, I had crossed over this mountain pass by bicycle.
Two things stood out in my mind. One, in the middle of the car park, on it's own, lay a large woolen sock. I noticed the shape - the letter J. (Even though Is wasn't with me, I did not take a picture, people watching, thinking ...?) The second fact I took note of - the veteran vehicles were mostly Vauxhalls. The very first motor car I owned was a 1961 Vauxhall, Victor.
Echuca on the River Murray was our final overnight stop. Unfortunately, the weather had turned sour again, at least for tourists. The farmers and gardeners probably rejoiced.
- - - - - - -
A week later, our holiday already a week in the past, a few things happened which filled three pages of my diary. It was Sunday 15.05, Pentecost Sunday in the church calendar, where Christians reflect on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Not that I expected anything special. When I do, nothing happens; but when I forget myself and just follow my creative, active mind things suddenly take place.
Besides the number 1015050 (details private) crossing my path, there was another number, the number 103, which spooked me as soon as I saw it on a registration plate in a driveway. While riding my bicycle in the Adelaide suburb of Linden Park, I noticed a man exiting from his vehicle. Nothing unusual, until I recognized it. The same vehicle not only received a mention in Book 4, Chapter 5, there also is a photograph - registration plate ... 103.
Here is the twist, besides fitting into this months (May 31) chapter: I was only a street away from the Nursing Home, where I visit my old German friend Hildegard. Sadly, she is now bedridden. But at 103 years old, she is doing fine.
A closer look into Book 4 back home revealed the date, the time when I had the experience with vehicle 103 in Chapter 5. It was on 15.7.05. Remove the 7 and we are left with 15.05.
The title of the chapter indicates that the day was planned by the Master. I believe Sunday 15.05 in 2016 also was.
Let's pray that every day of our life we recognize HIS call and follow HIS plan. HE knows best.