There has been a sudden and unexpected twist in the plans of the Buettel family. Due to several unforseen circumstances (some good and some bad) we decided to seize upon a rare window of time to make a trip down under for the first time in over four years. Wow - I'm already getting cravings for musk sticks, fruit tingles, chicos, tim tams, and vegemite! I will be in Australia (mainly Queensland) from March 12th to May 20th 2011. I know this blog has quite a few Aussie readers so if anyone of you wants to contact me or if I can help/serve you in any way then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll get back to you. And if anyone sees my mother be sure to stand well clear. Grandmother is at Defcon1 right now making sure that ALL necessary security and entertainment requirements are in place prior to the arrival of her three little treasures.
One of the most annoying questions I sometimes get asked outside of Australia is "why does Australia and New Zealand have the same flag?" We don't OK - take another look at the stars dude! I know Ray Comfort refers to New Zealand as "down under" and Australia as a small island off the coast of New Zealand but nothing could be further from the truth. Australia is "down under" which makes New Zealand "left over" (at least when you look from north of the equator).
But speaking of New Zealand, after the shocking flooding and cyclones that hit Australia, it was stunning to wake up and see the pictures of Christchurch after their huge earthquake. Christchurch is Ray Comfort's hometown where he began his open air preaching ministry in front of the cathedral (pictured left). The following picture reveals what's left of it now!
I thought it might be appropriate to close with this article Ray wrote in the aftermath of the earthquake because they are sobering words for all of us and remind us of Jesus words in Luke chapter 13 about the collapse of the Tower of Siloam (check it out if you don't know the story) and that we usually ask the wrong questions when it comes to disasters:
As many of you know, our home city of Christ-church, New Zealand, was hit with a massive earthquake Monday (2/21). This is the city where I spoke in front of a large Cathedral in the local Square for many years.
My heart goes out to the many who have lost loved ones. Sue and I appreciate those of you who have contacted us and assured us of their thoughts and prayers. (We were even contacted by some atheists--who were kindly sympathetic.)
Our eldest son, Jacob, and his wife and son were visiting Christchurch when the earthquake struck. They are okay, and so are all of Sue’s and my relatives, for which we thank God.
Many in the city had very frazzled nerves even before this quake. A 7.1 hit six months ago with no fatalities, and since then there have been more than 4,500 aftershocks. This one was much worse. None of my family know the Lord. Please pray that this will make them realize the fragility of life.
Back in 1971, just before my conversion, a surfing buddy who was deeply into pornography got his girlfriend pregnant, was married at 16, and had the baby girl adopted.
At the age of 16, she searched out her natural parents, found them, and turned up at their doorstep, pregnant. My friend became a grandfather at 32 years old.
I tried to witness to him when I went back to New Zealand in 1992, but it didn't work out too well as it was in his surf shop, and customers kept coming in. Although he did say that he wanted to ask God about his younger brother, who had tragically committed suicide because he got into financial difficulty.
For some reason I thought about all this, this past Sunday, found his surf shop online, emailed him and was amazed to get a reply. He said that my god (he used a small "g") really scared him with the big earthquake they had six months ago (he used profanity to say how much it scared him). I then wrote back and said that I failed to tell him something when I last saw him, and added that Jesus said if you lust after a woman, you commit adultery with her. I said that Hell was real, and that God made a way for us to be forgiven and have everlasting life.
He responded “That is scary, you mean I have committed adultery about 140 times already today? Hell won’t be so bad – at least all my mates will be there and all the naughty girls. Just don’t tell me it will be onshore all day every day. That will really make me gnash my teeth. Heaven sounds really boring -- all the goody two shoes kids drinking tea and singing hymns all day. Is there surf there?”
I emailed back that there would be no friendship or any pleasure in Hell and talked about his misunderstanding of Heaven, hoping he would get back to me.
The following day, the earthquake struck. His shop was very close to the epicenter. I don't know what happened to him.