Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Today you can read German, even if you don't understand it. #crazytech

Because my family history is Mennonite and their main language was German, (or more specifically it's a dialect called low german) there are a number of good old german books in my library. They came from both sides of my family history.

(Side note, my family history came from Stebbendorf, West Prussia. Then they were invited by Catherine the Great to what at that time was Russia, what is today known as Zaporizhzhia. Yes, that Zaporizhzhia.)


Today I was looking at a german book on my shelf and I wanted to see what it was about, so I pulled out my google translator app. My oh my how this technology has grown in such a short time.

Translated from the book, “Touching events and remarkable prayer experiences”

Death just a sleep. 

Mrs Mattie Campbell recounts the blessed death of her sister which occurred last May. Although spiritually dead for a long time in her life, just before her death, by the grace of God, such a change came over her that she passed away peacefully. Mrs

Campbell tells: At Sunday school this afternoon I suddenly got the message: Emma is dying, hurry up, "if you want to see her alive again!" My poor sister! We had played together in youth, yes we had dreamed of future happiness together! Of a future where anything but sorrow and misery would get in our way. She was healthy and rosy, full of cheerfulness and lust that not even the seriousness of life could drive away. I had overwhelmed her, healthy and well, only five days ago. But, alas, just in the hour when one does not suspect it, death rages! On the way to her we met the family doctor, his serious expression showed us that there was no hope. May she live until evening," he said. We hurried on and my prayer and supplication was: "D, dear Father in heaven, just let me talk to her so that I can find out how her soul is doing!" The poor mother greeted me at the door with tears in her eyes. Ask her how her soul is!" she said, through sobs. I entered the room and saw many friends. I laid my hand on the old, damp forehead of the dying sister. She knew me and said to me, in her old, friendly way. I slowly and softly began to sing the song that we
used to sing together so often: Jesus Is my confidence." Anxiously, I watched every feature of her rapidly changing face. A blissful, peaceful smile showed that she understood the words. I bent over her and she whispered, God has always been good to us, dear sister. He has always comforted me in my illness." D, how I thanked God, in my heart and my lips cried out: God be praised!" She knew she was going to die, and spoke of the long sweet sleep she would sleep until the Day of Resurrection. She firmly believed that. She called the friends and acquaintances present and asked them in earnest words to meet her in heaven with her families who were entrusted to her care. So she lay still and content and awaited the laid slumber that only the laid trumpet will one day disturb. "Listen!" she called softly, I hear heavenly music! don't you hear me too? and I see a door in front of me!" - Is the door open?" asked the mother. We all listened. Yes, it's wide open?" - "Can you see inside?" Her face beamed as she answered: Yes, I can see inside, it's a beautiful place; it is heaven. - I see shapes of people, in white clothes, many, yes, a large crowd! And then she said, "D, there's Papa too!" then after a while she gave exact decrees about her burial. After she had said goodbye to everyone, she called out: "Come on, oh Lord, I'm ready now! Come and take my spirit - it hurts me so much!"- She closed her eyes and lips and in a few moments, it was hers soul entered through the open door of heaven. I led the weeping mother, the only thing I had left from my youth, out of the room where I died."

-Earnest Christian.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Write a short story about a young girl and her friends who were raised in the 1800s in the poor district of London, from an older perspective

The bitter chill of the London fog is what I remember most from those early mornings. I would wake before the sun, the threadbare blanket barely any shield against the cold seeping through the cracked walls of our cramped tenement. Quietly I would dress, taking care not to wake my two sisters still lost in slumber beside me. I envied them those last precious moments of sleep.

My worn leather shoes made not a sound as I crept down the narrow stairs, past closed doors hiding dozens of families packed into tiny spaces. The coughing and wheezing from behind those doors was a grim morning chorus. I often wondered how many would still be there by the day’s end. Death came early and often in the rookeries of the East End.

Heading toward the textile mill as the city began to stir, I cherished the silence of those deserted streets. It was my only time alone before the backbreaking labor of the factory began. How I wished then that my childhood had been different, that my father hadn't died and left us destitute, that I was not forced to spend my days inhaling lint while my fingers slowly turned gnarled and stiff.

But evening brought a lift to my spirit as I'd join my faithful friends Mary, Elizabeth and Jane. We'd gather at the well, the day’s troubles melting away as we laughed and played like the carefree girls we should have been. Despite it all, we found joy where we could - sneaking a bruised apple from a cart or standing entranced before the window display of a bakery, pretending the treats were ours.

After, we’d roam the streets hoping to earn a few pennies, knowing our families depended on what little we could provide. Those nights still haunt me, the danger we faced from those who viewed girls like us as easy targets. And yet back then it seemed a grand adventure, the four of us against the world.

I wonder sometimes what became of them all, Mary, Elizabeth and Jane. The bitter years erased so much but never the memory of the friends who made even the darkest days bearable. We were bound by our shared lot in life, and above all by the hope that somehow, someday, things would be better...

Saturday, July 15, 2023

Ten Days in California

This month we spent 10 days down in California for church meetings etc. It was in Anaheim CA To be exact. In fact we were staying about three or four blocks due South of Disneyland. (You can insert your own comments here about denominational annual meetings being their own sort of Disneyland.)

I had to be there to complete my five year term of work on the board of ordered ministry. It was really good to see that work come to an end. I found it to be very fulfilling and very intense work but also very satisfying. Especially when we were able to help a pastor or a church leader who found themselves in a difficult situation. Especially especially when they were willing to be helped. 

Last night of our meetings the board held a dinner to celebrate those who were leaving the board. There were two of us this year and the evening turned out to be very moving. The many individuals who were on the board had become friends over the years, somewhat even brothers in arms. They were amazingly kind and generous in their affirming comments. It was considerably humbling to sit and listen as they thanked me for all the different gifts that I brought to the table.

Following that was the ministerial meeting and then the next days began the denominational annual meeting. I have been wanting to take Lauralea too many times but this time I wasn't taking no for an answer and I booked her a flight.    

I would say we had a lot of fun those days. We found an amazing little Mexican restaurant across the street from the hotel, and beside that was a target store which was just more fun for us. 

Yes we made it up to Disneyland for a few hours the one day. Of course the temperatures were high but we found the sun wasn't as hot as it is here in this field. Anyway we snooped around there and got a couple of souvenirs and headed back to the hotel and the air conditioned room. 

It was great to get away and to show Lauralea the people and the work that I've been doing for the past five years. It was fun to share some good meals together a bunch of laughs and sharing in some experiences that we can remember in the years ahead.

Maybe some pics of the fun.

California at the hotel

Hotel Entrance

By the pool

My first taste of crab

At Disneyland

A beautiful evening by the pool

The Delegate gets to work

Board Friends


Psalm 19

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right. rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.


This passage comes from Psalm 19 in the Bible and describes the perfection and importance of God's laws and commandments. The psalmist affirms that the law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul, meaning that it is flawless and brings life and renewal to the innermost being of a person. The testimony of the Lord is sure and makes wise the simple, indicating that God's word is trustworthy and able to give wisdom to those who seek it. The precepts of the Lord are right and bring joy to the heart, while the commandment of the Lord is pure and enlightens the eyes, implying that God's laws are morally upright and bring understanding and insight to those who follow them.

The fear of the Lord is clean and endures forever, suggesting that reverence and awe for God is pure and everlasting. The rules of the Lord are true and righteous altogether, indicating that God's laws are not only accurate but also morally just.

The psalmist also affirms that God's laws are more valuable than gold and sweeter than honey, implying that they are of great worth and bring delight and pleasure to those who cherish them. Finally, the psalmist asserts that by following God's laws, one's servant is warned and in keeping them, there is great reward, suggesting that obedience to God's laws brings protection and blessings.