Here I am at the airport ready to depart on the 16 hour trip
(including airport waiting time) to Istanbul. I’m looking forward to
seeing the friends I’ve meet on previous trips there, and meeting a
few new ones.
On the transcontinental flight I could only see 1 empty seat – and it was next to me! I moved back and forth several times, but could not manage to sit in the empty seat – it always ended up being the one next to me. I don’t know who was luckier, me or the lady who moved out of the seat next to me to sit with her daughter on the other side of the plane.
The whole flight I was too warm; it kept me from sleepig well and hindered my ability to fight off motion sickness. Suffice it to say that, during the landing approach, mu unsettled feeling was rapidly aleviated and I gained a new appetite. Sitting in Frqnkfurt now, waiting for my flight to Istanbul.
Otherwise, arrived in Istanbul without any problems. Met together with the local team tonight for dinner and prayer. Tomorrow will be a prep day, collecting supplies and building he props I’ll need.
For the next few days I’m staying in the apartment below the Bible Correspondence Course offices. I rarely have a reason to go up to the offices but I just went up there to talk to someone about tomorrow’s street outreach and saw someone who I assumed looked familiar from my previous visits. A few moments later he said, I think we are from the same church. It was one of our full time workers who recently moved to this country, in a different city. It turns out that he was just down for the day to get some contacts for his area and happened to be in the office just when I went in.
…but this time it was a scheduled, full, program instead of spontaneous park evangelism. This means that we had permission to do the program. As a result we didn’t present the full gospel message – or else we wouldn’t have gotten permission. Instead we gave testimonies about changed lives, and to find out what made that change, we invited people to talk to us after the program. By my estimate there were about 300 people at the program tonight (others are estimating higher).Our show tonight is in the same park.
These are some photos of the crowd.
*I started out yesterday morning with the sniffles and am medicating a full blown cold.
*4 of our 7 person team made the first 4 hours of the 10 hour trip in the back of our cargo van with all the show equipment. The ballance of the trip was made with 6 of us crammed into a taxi.
After crossing the border we began seeing a multitude of armed guards at gas stations and street corners.
*We have a show today in a town about 2 hours away. As of 11am this morning we don’t have the details of where or when yet.All in all, still counting it a privileged to be here sharing the Good News to so many who might not otherwise hear it.Photo of the day: looking at the hotel fire escape stairway from the 5th fooor
It seems like it has been a long time since my report 2 days ago on Saturday. We ended up not having a program Saturday night in Erbil. The application for permission was submitted at the beginning of Ramadan and the officials were too busy to consider it. Then, afterwards, they were too slow to process it; passing it back and forth between the different government departments.
We made up for it Sunday though, because we did two shows in different venues. The first was in a school, in a very loud gymnasium. The students were amazingly responsive/appreciative, yet well behaved – not something we have experienced often in Turkey. The second show, last night, was in a city park: beautiful weather, beautiful surroundings, and a small but very appreciative and polite audience.
Today, back in Dohuk, we did a program as guests of the city. The show went great, we were able to share the gospel message presented as our own experience, not as preaching how they should respond. The front row was occupied by many local dignitaries, including the mayor and the very wealthy/influential local Muslim businessman who was instrumental in getting the program scheduled. A full, polite, yet engaged audience, many news cameras rolling throughout the program, and news interviews after the show. And dozens and dozens of photos with our new fans.
Treated like rock stars
– OK, maybe folk stars? Would you believe polka stars?
After we packed up and got checked into our hotel, we attended tea at the home of the aforementioned businessman. We were then treated to dinner at a verrrrry nice restaurant on his dime.
Factoids of the day:
* Friday is the “weekend” here – Sunday is a regular work day.
* It is not polite to show the bottoms of your feet/shoes
* Our driver between the cities of Dohuk (the first city we visited in Kurdistan) and Erbil, reached speeds of 180kph on the trip. (To get mph, multiply by .621 I’ll be onory and make you do the math.) These speeds were attained on dippyy, curvy, less than “state of the art super slab” highways.
* He was doing near 100kph while slaloming between potholes. I was sitting in the middle, getting bobble head whiplash!
* Our trip took us within 20 km of Mosul – I good place for us to avoid.
Oh yeah; we didn’t have anything stolen, nor were we anywhere near Baghdad – but it made an interesting heading, didn’t it?
Here is a photo with the mayor; I was told it was a travel day so I’m feeling a bit under dressed.
Here I am interviewing with a newspaper reporter.
Photo in border VIP waiting room
This was at the school in Erbil, Iraq.