I have been back home from Egypt and Jordan for nearly a week now and as you might guess it has never completely left my thoughts. I have for the most part gotten caught up on things at my work but much of my gear is still strewn about my basement. I have been touching the pictures and video everyday. Organizing the images in preparation for how they might be used in the future.
On the way over, we had a layover in Frankfurt, Germany. It happens, I used to live there. To weird. My adopted father, Louis Ort was a soldier stationed there in 1955 when I was born. A little known fact, my birth certificate read Eugene Michael Williams prior to my adoption. At one year of age my mother and I moved to Frankfurt to live with Louis. In 1959 we all moved back to US soil. New Jersey, then Chicago and finally back home to Niles in 1961. History lesson over.
In Frankfurt we all jumped on a train and headed to Mainz where the Guttenburg press is located. Huge historical significance for it was there that the first movable type printed bible was printed. Alas, we could not get in… but it was a grand adventure anyway. Fresh coffee and baked goods every block or so. We were freezing. But enthusiasm was high.
As I rode the train through the countryside.. I was pondering two things.. one was a curiosity about what I might had seen there previously as a small child in the 50’s. The other, the war or should I say wars that this area of the world has endured.
Some of my guys in the group are walking up ahead mixed in with other people who are on there way to work or church. It was early Sunday morning. In the 1940’s we would have been shot on site. We and several other Nations would have been dropping bombs on this very city. We ducked into a huge church, in part to get warm along the way.
Part of this structure had to be rebuilt due to the bombings.
Guys getting warm.. Tucked in the back corner of the church, was this statue.
Jesus, on the cross.
It occurs to me that some people in Germany then, in the 40’s were crying out to God for deliverance from the bombs dropping out of the sky as simultaneously people were crying out to God in the US in the 40’s for their son’s and daughter’s deliverance, not to forget all the countless millions of people living in terror of their own demise. The only real time images I have for this kind of terror was on 9/11. That day in NYC 2,300 plus people were lost. In Europe, it was countless millions in the first half century. To me, the perfect description of insanity.
The grief is beyond description. The hope that Jesus brings to this broken world is priceless. No matter where you live or when you lived.
I Timothy 1:1 ” Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope.”
It was a beautiful building. Very old. They were holding an early morning service at the time. A few faithful were there. I would have enjoyed seeing the place full of worshippers later that morning. The light poured in through these high windows. The guys found a grate where the heat was rushing upwards toward the incredibly high ceilings. We huddled there together. I wished I would have gotten the picture.
Outside the church was this wonderful open town square. It did not take much imagination to see it full of people in an open air market buying and selling goods.. kids running around.. and of course the smells of good German food and beer. I would have liked that very much 🙂
It would not have been the same without Ron Vandergriend.
I am making up a word: Theoguidehistoraleadateachamastastorytella.
Ron is not only an incredible man of God, he is a walking, living fountain of knowledge. What a pure honor it was to live for a few days in his world. All of the guys would flock to where ever he was to here him explain in detail exactly what had taken place there and it’s significance to our world. He is also a hoot. He made the trip a fun adventure. He lead effortlessly. There were 13 men on this trip and most of them are pretty type A driver types, excepting me of course. It looked like herding cats. Leader types sometimes don’t make great followers, but not these guys. Ron kept things moving along nicely and with very few glitches. It was a privilege to be in his company.
Germany behind… Egypt ahead…. Freezing to Frying…