15 January 2014

Bridge to somewhere

Bridge to somewhere by bobmendo
Bridge to somewhere, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

Bridges are supposed to be functional, first and foremost. They might look like this double bridge in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, or the more famous George Washington Bridge in New York City/ New Jersey, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, or the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. But whatever their looks, they are ever designed for one purpose: to get people from one side of something to the other side.

See my Bridge photos on Flickr

I pondered this yesterday as we left Santo Domingo and made our way to Las Terrenas, about 2 hours away on the SamanĂ¡ Peninsula. Without the bridge the trip would have taken much longer and perhaps I'd still be on the road.

So bridges can be helpful in crossing ravines or over swamps, over harbors and rivers, and railroad depots. And they can help us save time. Many are attractive and bring beauty to an otherwise functional-only situation.

It's 2014, and you had some things which blessed you last year and you had some things which you wish didn't ever show up on your radar, or on the doctor's x-ray readout. Some relationships were good, but there were others which deteriorated. You find yourself on one side of life and this year there are more things to do, places to go, people to see, life to live... and it's across the darkness of a harbor or a swamp of situations. How do you imagine yourself to get to the good side, to the other side, to the right side?

I like hearing about those Christians who want to get along with our Jewish people. There are organizations which spend much donated money to help Jewish orphans or refugees. I know of one titled, "Bridges for Peace" which has many purposes all listed here I hope they stay faithful to both Yeshua and to the Jewish people. Proclaiming the truth of Messiah and proclaiming an unshakeable love for Jewish people don't have to be mutually exclusive. I"ve been doing it for over 40 years.

They even have a program of "• Bridge-Building Projects: Promote better Christian-Jewish understanding and support for Israel on the local and regional level around the world. Projects such as Hebrew classes, film series, Israel Awareness Programs, speakers bureau, study seminars, etc. are offered."

I'm not sure about their evangelism, and I'm not sure about what others think, but if people build a bridge between two historic faith communities, that's not bad. Oh, building a bridge is useful, as long as you go somewhere after you build it.

Let's see where everyone goes in 2014. I wish you a safe and prosperous journey.

01 January 2014

Double Reflections

Sunset in Missouri. Twice by bobmendo
Sunset in Missouri. Twice, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

It's 31 December and many folks, maybe even a significant minority of people on the planet, are pondering and reflecting on 2013 and what was and what might be ahead in 2014. I've been thinking about things I'd like to do, and what I'd like to change and when calendars turn, that seems a good time to accomplish such.

My wife was driving yesterday between Kansas City and St Louis in Missouri, and I saw the fading sun behind me. The angles of the camera and the mirror allowed me to take this shot at 70 miles per hour, which doubly shows the reflection. That is, the sunset is showing on the car window behind me and in the mirror in front of me. I liked that. It said be doubly reflective, to ponder the past a bit and use that reflection as a springboard to the future.

I liked that, too. Past starers can be inhibited from attempting almost anything because of the troubles they accumulated in their own history or that history itself teaches. Sometimes past starers are stuck in their imagination of their own glory, that moment when they scored the winning goal or the girl said 'yes' to him to attend some event. It’s near-to-impossible to walk forward if you are always looking backwards.

Sometimes it's guilt that freezes us in the past. The regrets of not taking that position when the boss offered it, or of taking that little pill at university can be equally damaging to healthy living today. I feel so badly, you might be thinking, about some event, some excessive drinking party, an abortion, a divorce, typing an email on someone else’s email account… you get it. All probably bad. It’s probably that each of these memories brings you pain. We have to find a way out of the unrelenting tyranny of the haunting past.

But rather than seeing those haunts as insurmountable, why not consider all that is past as also noticed by the Almighty? Why not imagine His viewing your past and your life and saying, "Nevertheless, I love you and want a relationship with you." That's utterly freeing. The past fades as quickly as that sunset yesterday. The ever-Present One gives us opportunity to know Him, to love Him back, to be forgiven, to be released from all that super-grandiose thinking or that super-debilitating error-filled past.

Who wouldn't want that?

Reflect on that just now, won't you?

And a second time?

Have a great NEW year 2014!

The stolen camera story: Amazing!

My camera by bobmendo
My camera, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

Some will know that recently I was out and about in Sydney on the 21st December, and at my feet was my camera. In a bag. Along with three other lenses. And in a heartbeat, my camera was stolen. I turned away for less than a minute and then it was gone.

I felt naked. I felt bothered and wanted to kick myself for taking it off my shoulder. Wait, where is the thief? I looked around. I ran one way and then another.

Problem was the place where I was had a significant event on that night--The Carols in the Domain. Over 100,000 were gathering into the park to sing Christmas carols. Amazing, but I couldn't stay. I ran to a policeman and began the process of notification, submitting a report, etc.

Sunday the 22nd: I finalized the report with the police, giving them the actual serial numbers of the lenses and camera, and details about the bag itself. While I waited for the police in person to come over, an amazing thing happened. I saw a picture of the thieves.

Seems that the SD memory card which is inside my camera is from a company named "Eye Fi" I programmed it a couple years ago to upload any and all photos whenever it finds wi-fi and the camera is on (or if someone is using the card to upload onto their computer which has wi-fi.) onto my Flickr site. And privately. That way I could upload the many pictures I take without having to 'do it myself.'

As a result of this behind-the-scenes action, I was able to see the pictures the thieves took of themselves. And no one would know I have these new photos. Each day the criminals or camera finders as they would like to be titled, would take more and more shots of themselves. I took a sample of their best and sent it almost daily to the police in Waverley.

So I gave them more and more, but I received no answer. After 5 days of waiting, and being overseas that waiting was aggravated, I asked online if anyone thought that I should put those photos up and ask for help. Most agreed that social media was powerful for such. That's what I did.

I sent the top 12 pix up to my FB page and within a few hours, detective work was in full swing. One saw a school sign; another saw some water; another saw a shopping centre. You get it, virtual sleuths.

But none so good as Anglican minister Daniel Connor who was a surveyor before he became a minister. Using his surveying skills he figured out the exact address of the camera and sent it to me. I rang (it was 2 am in the US where I was) and spoke with the Windsor police, and after jumping through some serious hoops, got them to go to the house, and within minutes the camera was in police lockup, safe and secure.

Amazing indeed!

All because of ...
1) An Eye-fi card
2) People praying across the world (they told me so)
3) A surveyor/ minister who had skills
4) Police inaction which caused me to go to FB as a last resort
5) God, who really wants us to say 'thanks' and to say 'amazing!'

Hope that fixes up all your queries and lets you rejoice in the Almighty also.

As we say, 'too good!'