Autobiography Dieter Rolf Fischer Book 6 ALL IN HIS HAND I Archive: Book 1 I Book 2 I Book 3 I Book 4 I Book 5 I Index Copyright 2002 - 2007 I Text and Photography by Dieter Rolf Fischer, unless indicated I Above photos: Telstra
6. The AO football hand
The airline allocated seat No. 24 D for my short flight from London's Heathrow to Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. I'm sure many travellers passing through Schiphol are not aware that this huge facility is 4 metres below sea level. I wasn't thinking about that either, as I waited for my small black suitcase to float along the carousel. The half hour wait seemed so much longer, knowing my hosts were waiting in the arrival hall.
The kind couple, who offered to put me up for a 2 nights in Amsterdam, were close relatives of my friend John, whose passing in January 2001 is recorded in Book 1, Chapter 26. What a difference it makes, when somebody locally picks you up at the airport and takes you to their home. (My wife and I have done it many times, and not just family or friends). My friends lived right in the centre of a small town called Purmerend, approx. 1/2 hour from Amsterdam by car.
I had been to Holland before, a number of times. But this was the first time since the start of my unusual, supernatural journey. Right from the moment I arrived in Europe I was aware that, if my story had reached this far, I would be expected to be seeing things as a test, if God could and would be leading me to places. This sensation stayed with me right through my trip.
However, I knew I was not a puppet, performing to proof God could do anything, anywhere by just pulling strings. If I was to arrive at a place I was meant to be, or was doing or seeing something specifically or supernaturally, I knew it would be God showing HIS power to people around the world. HE has done this, as you all know, in many other places.
As I have mentioned, there may be very ordinary things happening in the normal course of everyday life, I may never even know how God was working through them. To be following Jesus means to walk by HIS Spirit. Each does this in their own way, as long as they do and not stagnate.
My hosts were busy for a few hours the next morning. They were happy for me to take one of their bikes for a ride. Netherlands and bike riding go together like Hollywood and film making, except one is a little more glamorous than the other and hands out Oscars.
It was a magic morning, sunny, not cold and little wind. The towns of Edam, named after the cheese (or did the town come first?) and Volendam were just the right distance away. It was a strange sensation to be cycling on the dam of a canal, looking at the high water level on the right and seeing cows grazing 4 meters lower on the other. Still, they were as oblivious of their low position, as many air travellers at Schhipol airport.
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Downtown Edam, NL - 20/4/07
Those who have spotted the (H)nine may expect me to say I only noticed the fluke after having the film developed. Not so. I did it this way deliberately. Be er ale (sic).
Nearby on a bridge I saw a blue shoelace. The way it was positioned it looked like the Christian fish sign. I redid it into a J
Below: Beautiful VolendamAfter taking this photo I noticed a van parked nearby: DENYEL. On editing I see how this word is pronounced like Danielle. My late Dutch friend John has a daughter by that name.
Cycling around the cute little streets and bridges of Volendam, a small canal was littered with floating debris: lots of (I can't seem to get away from it) white styrofoam.
I considered performing a quick clean-up act, but refrained. There is a difference between a rescue at sea and one on dry land!
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In the afternoon my friend Peter and I took a bus into the centre of Amsterdam. I had always wanted to visit Europe during summer. This was better than summer, the warm weather, without the crowds. Having only one afternoon in this historic, art-filled city, I was aware I was missing some treasures, such as the Anne-Frank-Museum or the masterpieces by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, all of which I had seen during previous visits.
Just off a busy shopping mall I spotted what looked like a church. Sensing something more interesting than shops, we had a closer look and discovered that it was a monastery. This English-speaking parish, right in the middle of Amsterdam, had had the pleasure of a visit by the Her Majesty, the Queen of England in 2006. The occasion was the 400 year anniversary of this institution.
A little gem, in more ways than one (5), the writing above the altar at the front of the church, read: Create in me a clean heart. Psalm 51, 10.
That evening, I felt a little embarrassed, my hosts insisted on taking me to one of the finest restaurants I'd seen in a long time. They insisted on paying for it all. I felt spoiled that evening, thinking Isobel would love this. I made up my mind there and then, if Peter and his wife ever come and visit Adelaide, we will insist they come with my wife and I to a fine restaurant, where we do the same, dine in style ... and let them pay for it (just joking).
That evening, by change or by design, I'm unsure which, their friends Dennis and Carmen were also dining at the same place in Purmerend. Chatting briefly with Dennis, I read the letters on his shirt: Carmel. As I read my diary to prepare for this chapter, suddenly I saw it - NL.
Left: My host in front of the statue of Rembrandt, situated in the Rembrandtplein district. Like the monastery, in 2006 Mr. Rembrandt also had his 400th birthday. He was born on 15.7.1606
Right: In her diary teenager Anne Frank wrote about her enforced prison, together with seven other Jews. They were hiding from the Nazis in a cramped attic near this church.
Anne describes this church tower in her diary. It was all she was able to see from her awful prison. The world would be poorer had Anne Frank not kept a diary.
In her book 'Creative Journal Writing', published in April 07, Australian author Stephanie Dowrick mentions some of my thoughts in her book. She further reprinted an entry, where I describe one of my magical 4he experiences, the 1000G tomatoes story. It happened on 18/10/05 on the same afternoon I heard this author speak in Adelaide.
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There was just enough time the following morning for a brief, but brisk walk. Except, my physical exercise stopped, as my brain kicked in, thinking: "Hey, that looks odd". On a main road, just over the canal, were five scooters, neatly parked side by side, outside a motorcycle shop. The brand name, Aprilia, and each one priced at Euro 1999 took my interest.
Some months ago I noticed a large sign above a motorcycle dealership Aprilia, on Adelaide's Main North Road. The location is very close to the sign, which concluded a chapter I had written about Easter 06, (in April, the sign - A1)
An interesting far fetched thought: NL + IA, change A to O, mix the letters for - LION.
Each of the Aprilia scooters had a tag with a number attached. What a challenge for DR, the numbers-man. It didn't take Einstein to add 7, 9, 19, 46 and 60 to arrive at 141. If it had anything to do with the Purmerend postcode 1441, I do not know. I am sure a mathematician could have hours of fun, extracting complex equations.
I had little time for that. My train departed from Amsterdam, Central Station to Germany early that afternoon. A girl from Queensland, Australia sat right beside me on the train. My diary only mentions that she slept. Even if she weren't, I doubted that she would have viewed the names of our train stops, Bentheim or Rheine, the same way I did.
My destination for that Saturday (April 21) was Hamburg. In Osnabrueck I had to change trains. The timetable allowed me an hour to fill in. How could I not take this unique opportunity and not tread on German soil for the first time in 4 1/2 years, especially in a place I had never been to before.
It was a lovely, sunny afternoon. I went nowhere in particular, but was very careful to not venture too far away from the railway station. Passing an open bakery I could not resist the crispy pretzels and some pastries. A visit back to Germany is also a journey into the gourmet world of my childhood.
Friends it's amazing, but even in Germany as I walked the street my mind never stopped reading registration plates on motor cars. To me it was as natural as watching where I am walking, as not to trip over and fall. One outstanding registration number, OS-OS 717 belonged to a black SMART car, parked outside a restaurant. OS obviously stands for Osnabrueck. (On editing, another thought - so, so). The 1 & the 7 was to come into play rather interestingly, unexpectedly. (Read on).
Hamburg held a special memory for me. It was from this large harbour city, where my plane departed to take me to Australia as a teenage-migrant. One of my best friend's sister-in-law and her husband offered their hospitality for a few days, which I gladly accepted. Right from my arrival I was served and pampered like a king. (I feel inadequate in being able to thank all my friends for their hospitality).
The Kirche am Rockenhof in Hamburg Volksdorf was holding a Service to celebrate Konfirmation. Most evangelical churches hold this ceremony annually. The young people of the congregation confess their faith publicly. The church, symbolically, embraces the new generation into the wider body of the church, in this official kind of way. Candidates are mostly around 14 years old.
Unfortunately, some turn their back on the church and/or their faith around the same age. My two brothers did. I was told some young people only go along with this tradition in order to receive gifts, often large sums of money from relatives. How sad if so!
I listened with interest as the ceremony was taking place in the packed out Evangelischen Kirche. As the names of the candidates were read out, each was also given a scripture as a life-long reminder. Each candidate received a different scripture verse. (I wonder, how does the Pastor allocate a certain scripture to a certain boy or girl to be confirmed?)
One name was read out: Lisa S...... How co-incidental, I thought. Her middle name, which was not printed on the service sheet, was Magdalena. This together with her surname was the same as that of my first heart-throb, when I was 15 years old. Another Konfirmant was named Olaf... He was given as memory verse Psalm 51, 10. Now, where had I seen that before?
The lyrics in a hymn, sung at the Volksdorf Church service, went like this:
Hab unterm Kopf ein weiches Kissen, hab Kleidung und das taeglich Brot, sei ueber vierzig Jahr im Himmel bevor der Teufel merkt Du bist schon tot.
May under your head be a soft pillow , have clothing and your daily bread, be more than 40 years in heaven, before the devil notes, you're dead.
I could not make sense, what the second line meant. Back in Adelaide, I went as far as googling the Pastor, who had officiated in the service. She replied to my email, but did not give a satisfying answer. I let my mind rest, explaining the line as, perhaps, a subtle insult, aimed at the devil.
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Konfirmation on 8th March 1964. My brother Gerhard (left) and I dressed up, including bow tie and pocket handkerchief.
I still have and treasure the bible I am holding in my hand.
My special memory verse: "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes observe my ways" (Proverbs 23, 26).
My eyes have been working overtime, observing HIS ways. Did not another scripture say - HIS way is narrow and steep?
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Later that Sunday afternoon, after enjoying the company and delicious food with my hosts, I looked forward to a special event: The Football Bundesliga clash between clubs HSV (Hamburg Sports Verein) and 1.FSV Mainz 05 (How Da Ninci can you get?)
It all started via the Internet. I had found out there was a Christian fan club, which I promptly joined as non-active member. The person organising the fan club had arranged a ticket for me to watch Hamburg play at the AOL Arena on 22.04.07.
When I first arranged my schedule for this trip, I noticed that Hamburg played a home game on the weekend I would be travelling through. Amazingly, I learned that VFB Stuttgart, was also playing a home game two weeks later on 5.5.07. As a young teenager, an ardent fan of VFB Stuttgart, my dream was to one day play in their senior team and be selected for the National German team. Players like Uwe Seeler, Helmut Rahn, Franz Beckenbauer, nicknamed the Kaiser (Emperor) were my heroes (right behind King Jesus and the Apostle Paul).
In another surprise discovery, Stuttgart was also playing against 1.FSV Mainz 05. I was to attend this match also. It was such a fluke, one of my friends assumed I was a fan of Mainz.
The ticket, my friend had bought for me for the Hamburg match, placed me into Block 12A, Row 17 (please note), Seat Number 22. If my friend did this because it was the 22nd of April, I do not know. What I do know, the match ended 2:2. My diary says that I only woke up to the 22 magic a day later.
(Just as well my friend Geoff was not with me. He also loves football, and is a fan of the digit 2. He may have suffered a heart attack).
My ticket - FSV Mainz 05 vs Hamburg SV, 22/4/0, kick-off 17.00 hrs.
Despite both teams lingering toward the bottom of the Bundesliga table at the time (11th and 14th) the game was a sell-out: 57 000 spectators - (Date of writing 5/7).
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My ticket 1.FSV Mainz 05 vs VFB Stuttgart, 5/5/07, kick-off 15.30 hrs.
(I just saw this after scanning - EUR 19, Block 63a ... aha!)
But there was more, a further numbers magic involving 17* (*That's unreal, the same second I wrote 17 here, on ABC's Newsradio, the announcer gave the maximum temperature for Melbourne 17 degrees).
The other 17 magic was this: At the end of the Bundesliga season Stuttgart with 70 points ended up on No. 1 spot on the ladder - the 06/07 German Champions.
Hamburg came 7th. The team had an unusually high number of draws (15), giving them 45 points. Didn't I say God loves numbers and football players?
He must have made an exception with Mainz. They lost in Stuttgart 2:0. At the and they came third to last and were relegated to Division 2. (I was to briefly visit Mainz later, and discover some magic).
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JESUS HE I LT (Jesus heals). Yellow banner, seen above the D, erected by the HSV Christian fan club.
Football action: In the 86th minute Hamburg all-rounder Mehdi Mahdavikia (No. 7) is receiving a yellow card. Mainz No.35 player looks on.
I only snapped two photos during the Hamburg-Mainz match. This one surprised even me, after scanning it.
I see a hand in front of my camera pointing exactly to the 0 in NOVOTEL. It looks as if the thumb and index finger form a 0.
Almost exactly a year earlier, Easter 2006 I had taken a trip in my Suzuki to the Barossa Valley. On the return journey, I believed, God was guiding me to a resort at Rowland Flat.
Readers may recall how the needle of my petrol gauge had pointed exactly to the 0. It was outside the NOVOTEL resort. The truth - stranger than fiction. (Book 5, Chapter 3).
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Jesus lebt und liebt Dich - Superstar Cacau - The Missionary is not ashamed.
Extract from booklet - Fussball Gott* (Football God):
What is taking place in the Bay Arena Leverkusen, during a match by 1.FC Nuernberg is rather strange. A rather unknown, chocolate coloured forward scores the 1:0 for his team. As he runs around to celebrate the goal, he reveals to fans and photographers under his shirt: Jesus lives and loves you.
Two minutes later comes the equalizer, a goal by Ze Roberto, who also pulls up his shirt in celebration and shows the message: Jesus loves you.
"This was the only time", said a smiling Cacau, "when I was happy about a goal scored by the opposition".
In above colourful photo (atio) Ze Roberto, another Brazilian ball magician, is pictured, wearing shirt number 11, beside players 10 and 5.
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It was surprising how quickly I got back from the hub of the AOL Arena to Volksdorf, squeezing into very crowded U-Bahn carriages. It was a rather late Sunday night dinner with my friends. The lady of the house, Christa, had prepared a delicious meal of New Zealand Rehbraten (venison) and Spaetzle, a Schwabian pasta specialty. Christa, originally comes from the south and married a Hamburg boy, she met at the hospital she was working at.
During my walk the next morning I found out the main shopping street in Volksdorf is called Weise Rose, meaning white rose. The name derived from the organisation, run by the Geschwister Scholl, the brother and sister, who openly resisted Hitler's regime and paid the ultimate price for doing so.
A notice and phone number posted on a pole took my fancy. Somebody had lost a set of keys. Anyone finding the keys, please phone ... The number started with 0177 and ended in 316. I didn't find any keys, but I started wondering...
In my curiosity I went as far as dialling the number. A male voice, the answer machine, gave his name as Ratmann. (It may have been Hartmann). If it was indeed Ratmann, it would link well with my 316 experience the next day at the Rathaus).
On the way back, I passed an ancient Mercedes (300 SEL?) parked in a side street. It was for sale. If I were a rich man, and had 17500 Euros to spend, such treasure would put this Mercedes dreamer on cloud 75.