8/31/2007 10:57:00 pm

How Man Roads Must a Man Walk Down

Posted by Tom French |

My car decided it had a long enough run of good driving so it decided to start bubbling and overheating. So I pulled over and parked it in Roseville and went a caught a bus to the city.

Today I needed to go to college, go get the car to a mechanic, get to church. I managed to travel from Croydon to Belrose in just 5 hours using walking, trains, cars and buses. I reckon that's a pretty good use of transport.

In small group today we had a facinating discussion on violence. Everyone was given two choices of opinion to hold.

a) It is never ok for Christians to use violence

b) It is sometimes ok for Christian to use violence


I had a really good time. The year 11s got lots of good discussion going. In the end of the three groups I know about, most people sided with "It is sometimes ok for Christians to use violence."

I'm not sure where I sit on it all, but I have niggling feeling that complete non-violence is the direction I should be leaning in. Jesus seemed to lean that way. It feels like allowances for violence in Christian ethics are a nod to pragmatism rather than the will of God. But I'm not sure yet. I'll read a book.

8/31/2007 10:22:00 pm

Small Crimes

Posted by Tom French |

Leave me out with the waste
This is not what I do
It's the wrong kind of place
To be cheating on you
It's the wrong time
She's pulling me through
It's a small crime
And I've got no excuse - Damien Rice

8/31/2007 07:35:00 am

Pimped

Posted by Tom French |

The bad thing about not taking my anti-malaria tablets anymore is that the annoying little pimples have come back. Bah!

8/28/2007 04:20:00 pm

Sunshine

Posted by Tom French |

I am enjoying this weather. It's the best weather I've seen since Kenya.

Australian winter beats English summer hands down.

8/27/2007 11:36:00 pm

Off I Go

Posted by Tom French |

Being back is kinda busy. Pretty much I've just been going the whole time since I got home.

The jet-lag has been alright except for church last night which I pretty much slept the whole way through.

We did scripture at the local high school today. I finished last night with the desired 9 volunteer leaders, but started scripture this morning down to 6 leaders. Sickness and other conundrums kept our leaders from coming. But, the girls and I, we soldiered on managed to do darn good scripture seminars if you ask me.

Being home has meant that I've had one conversation about 50 times.

THEM: How was your trip?

ME: Good.

It's pretty revealing and personal.

8/25/2007 05:49:00 pm

Here

Posted by Tom French |

I made it home.

I like Australia.

That's all I have to say now. Too many people to talk to and engagement parties to visit!

8/23/2007 08:56:00 pm

Heathpoo

Posted by Tom French |

I'm at Heathrow killing time before my flight on the world's stupidest internet. I'm kinda excited to be heading home. Except that when I get home I just jump straight into work. So that's a littl sad. But I guess that's the life of a high powered Church executive.

Soul didn't really change much after the last post. I did enjoy Soul more when i had people to talk to, and comfy thrones to sit in. I met some nice people to.

My shoes are still covered in mud, after the mud land that was Soul Survivor. I'm not sure if they'll let me take them back into Australia. Oh well, I like barefoot.

I went to Brighton today to visit Liz and Ben. I got to see the legendary Brighton Pier. I'm not sure what legends it's actually mentioned in, but I'm sure they're pretty exciting. It's quite a pier. It goes into the ocean and had some half-excititing Easter Show rides at the end. But how many of people can say they've been on the Wild Mouse off the coast of England? Not me, I was too lazy. But if I'd gone on it I could say it.

I forgot to post my post cards so I'll send them when I get to Australia. They'll arrive quicker that way.

Brighton was pretty cool though. Ben and I visited an Amoury shop which sold heaps of old guys. Like weapons from the past 1000 years, no joke. It was pretty cool. I'm real sad that I couldn't afford any of it.

Brighton really though is kinda just like Newtown but bigger and older and with no Thai food. It's one big King Street. Felt like home.

Ben and Liz were good fun, but I'm not real good at English beer. Tastes like you should chew it. And I wandered around all day looking for good things to buy for people, but I found very little. So all those of you expecting presents, give up, you ain't getting nothing! (Unless you're one of the lucky ones.)

Anyway I must go. Rodney is knocking at the door so I must let him go.

8/20/2007 10:50:00 pm

Sole Survivor

Posted by Tom French |

So I made it to Soul Survivor.

I arrived and didn't see anyone I knew. I was the ultimate loner. For the first two and a half days I only had one conversation, and that was in a Youth Ministry seminar. I sat alone in everything. In seminars, in main meetings, for my dinner. When I had nothing to do I just went to my tenr to read.

Then I met Mike P after one of his seminars and he was mortified that I'd been here alone for two days, so he brought me in the the land of VIPs. I got a lounge to hang out in with comfy chairs, food and Christian Celebrities. I have internet access. I have meal passes for the rest of my time here. And I have people to talk to.

So now, I am a little more in. But I just went an ate a potato by myself and I didn't feel like a loner. Because this potato I ate knowing that it was my choice to eat alone, not my only option.

Plus it's stopped raining, but that's got nothing to do with my VIP status.

8/17/2007 02:14:00 pm

Wishy Washy

Posted by Tom French |

I'm sitting in Matt and Andrew's place waiting for the washing machine to stop washing. The washing machine has been going for hours. I think Matt likes things to be clean so chances are his washing machine has adopted some of his personality. Perhaps they're close.

So while I wait for my clothes to finally be relased from the fastidious contraption I've broken into their internet. I couldn't stand anymore bad digital television. When that's all down though, I'm off to London Town to buy a tent. Can't do that at home can I? Well I can buy a tent, I just can't buy one in London.

8/16/2007 07:31:00 pm

Martin Andrew

Posted by Tom French |

I went to see Andrew do his thing in Martin Gerre which is his current musical. He's doing in a little theater in a little town a long way from London. Andrew is blessed enough to have the title role, but sadly only manages to be on stage for the smallest amount of time, while some cad prances about on stage making love to his wife. I was at the afternoon matinee which was full of grey hair and hip replacements. They talk through the whole show things like "Who's that?", "I can't hear what they're saying." "Ooo, they got him!" Andrew mentioned me that that they can hear everything from the stage. That'd be a thrill.

Anyway, I had a good time. It's not the world's greatest musical. It was good to see Andrew perform again. Everything he does he does well. But the show itself lacked a little bit of closure or good structure.

Still I got in for free so what am I complaining about. Actually I'm not, I had a lovely time.

I had lunch at a pub before hand and discovered that a 8oz Gannon Steak has nothing to do with cow, which is rather dissappointing because I was really looking forward to a steak (I think it's pig, judging by what I ate, but who can know these days).

After the show I got a Taxi to the station and he kind-of shouted "I'm so hungry! I want Chinese!" To which I started to regale him with some story about the Chinese I ate last night (it was too small) and he just started talking on his phone through his Bluetooth. So I'm not sure if he was ever talking to me in the first place. I wasn't sure whether to be embarrassed or feel bad for ignoring him after he got off the phone.

Tonight I'm staying with Andrew's friend Matt who I met on Sunday, I like Matt, maybe we'll become good freinds and have adventures together.

I've managed to spend $230 in the past 38 hours on food, travel and a cinema ticket. Ouch. Who would live here?

The Queen, that's who.

8/15/2007 05:46:00 pm

London Calling

Posted by Tom French |

Since arriving here I haven't really been doing all that much. Yesterday I went to visit the Churchill Museum and the Cabinet War rooms. They were pretty fun. Kinda as you'd expect, lots of stuff about World War 2, lots of stuff about Churchill. And secret underground meeting rooms. Cool. Then I sat in my hotel room reading.

I've tried to spend a lot of time reading and praying. Really I'm here to have God-space so I'm not too concerned about not "seeing" London. I figure it's better to "see" with someone else anyway. So I'll come back here one day with a person, or at very least a little bit of schizophrenia.

Today I hung around Leicester Square. So far it's my favourite spot in London. Probably all the cinemas. It's the UK premiere of The Bourne Ultimatum tonight. I reckon Matt Damon's gonna be here. I've been tempted to hang around with the throngs of screaming girls to see him, but alas I have accidentally booked into a 4-star hotel tonight and I will need to test out the poshness. It was cheaper than staying another night where I have been the past three nights so I'm not complaining.

I went to see Evan Almighty today. It was ok. Now that I know the maker of the film is a Christian, I have more respect. Only because it's many times better than most Christian television.

Tomorrow it's off to see Andrew in his musical. It'll be fun to see people. At the moment the only people I talk to are shop-keepers and hotel receptionists. It's a good thing I'm an introvert, but I'm looking forward to a little company.

Still I have one more night on my own, with satellite TV and maybe even a microwave meal! Yes!

I have to say, the worst bit about hanging around London by yourself all day is finding somewhere to eat. Normally I'd just go to Maccas but since Kenya my stomach has been telling me to be kind. So trying to find places where I won't feel like a loner eating as a loner, that won't make me feel horrid is a challenge. But I'm learning. Sushi, sushi, sushi!

Anyway I must go write an email or two. Keep up the good work readers!

8/15/2007 11:02:00 am

Friday - The Last of the Days

Posted by Tom French |

Friday is the last day I haven't blogged as far as I know. So let's finish this thing!

Friday was in impromptu day that was made up after Albert and David realised we weren't leaving till Saturday. They had some plan to get us to go to David's church and speak. We took this under in our stride. I had a talk up my sleeve from the Youth Conference that I hadn't done so I figured it was no big deal.

We were met at breakfast by the team who were looking rather gloomy for some reason. We found out that that night someone had broken into Isaiah's car and stolen his cd player and battery. Howie and I went upstairs to do our teeth and consider what was about to happen. We had a conundrum again. We knew that we could afford to buy him a new battery, and that we were probably going to be asked to buy one. While buying a battery was going to be no issue, being asked to buy one was probably going to be. I didn't want to be Mr Money again. Still we decided it was a good thing we could do, so we decided we'd offer to buy him one. I was hoping to offer before being asked.

However when we got back to the restaurant Albert told me Isaiah wanted to ask me something, so I didn't get the chance to not be asked for money. Still Isaiah seemed rather apologetic to be asking. He never asked for anything the whole time. All the rest of the time he spent serving us, driving us places, setting stuff up, carrying our bags (when we couldn't argue with him anymore). So I was feeling a lot more in the mood to be generous. It's funny that. I haven't finished working what was going on and why I always reacted funny when money came up. Would I react the same way in Australia? Would I be more willing to give money to people who didn't need it as much? Or is it just the assumption that because I'm rich I'll pay for everything?

Oh well.

We were sitting in the car battery shop and Albert suggested we go find a taxi to take us to see his mother before we go to David's church. I suggested that seeing as David's church had started their meeting 20 minutes ago, perhaps we should see Albert's mother second.

"Oh we can't do that" Albert said. "After the meeting we have a revival and crusade."

Oh gosh it hurt to hear that. We'd been compliant the whole time but we'd never heard anything about another revival and crusade. We both reacted with something like "We didn't know anything about another revival or crusade. We're not prepared."

So that put the stopper on things. Albert rang David to talk about the revival and crusade, the International Speakers were being difficult (they weren't saying that, I just felt like that). But I wasn't feeling like I was in any place to be doing another two meetings. The past 6 days had been rather full-on. I was ready for my sabbath.

We made it out to David's church and they'd been doing another singing marathon.

We had found out at some stage that David was a Bishop with 20 churches in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan. And to think we'd spent the past week making rude jokes with a Bishop. Still he's the coolest Bishop I know.

David's Church was bigger that any other we'd been to. I guess it's like the Cathedral. But they sure did have the worst sound system we'd heard yet, and that's pretty bad. Everything was turned up full, oh the humanity. I couldn't figure out when people were speaking English or Swahili the distortion was that bad. Often kids sit in the services with their hands over their ears. If only we could too.

During the singing Albert informed me that they'd decided to cancel the revival and crusade but instead we'd do two sessions back to back. I was going to do my first preaching double header. I figured it was a fair enough compromise.

I preached the first time on "Holy Spirit and Holy Scripture". No one seemed all that excited by the preach. I didn't say "Jesus has the victory" enough. But I wanted to do it because I feel that if the people of the church can learn to love the Bible then the power stays with all the believers rather than just the leadership. In places where most people don't have Bibles, it's hard to tell them to love their Bibles. Still it's more needed because when there isn't a high degree of Bible literacy then Pastors can do what they want and call it biblical. So I figured the more I encouraged Kenyans to love the Bible, the stronger the church could be. Still I don't want to suggest that David was a corrupt leader. I think he was one of the best Pastors we met.

Preach two, after more singing, was the one from 1 Samuel 6 the night before. This one people liked a lot more. Much more victory and "power". I got a lot more people waving and amen-ing. While I preached that one the keyboardist decided it was the appropriate time to test out his bad "Super-Mario Brothers" sound-a-like loop. It was a rather difficult thing to preach to. It wasn't even moving like most sermon keyboard accompaniment.

After an extended prayer session (with another demon being cast out) we were almost done. The Pastors got up to tell everyone what powerful men of God we were. They talked about how they had seen through us many come to Christ, many healed, many set free from possession and many miracles. If you listened to them you'd think we were Peter and Paul come back to do Acts all over again. While we did see lots of people come to Christ (which is great!) we don't really know where any of them were at before and where they're at now. And as for the rest of the stuff, we prayed for lots of people, and I'm sure God has heard our prayers and is working. But we can't say we saw much evidence of it all.

The greatest miracle I saw was hundreds of people living on less money every day than I spend on a Coke at home and still praising God, still living for God and loving God. That was the miracle I witnessed. And it had nothing to do with my anointing.

Still it's good to have people speak highly of you. I guess it's good press for the conference that they're advertising for next year when we come back!

We had lunch at David's house. There were plenty of laughs, and the food was good. Howie was asked if he'd ever tried smoking or alcohol, like we would ask someone if they had every tried ecstasy. Howie admitted that he had in fact tried alcohol once. He failed to inform them that we often love to have a beer back home. It was probably the wise thing to do.

After lunch and what seemed like an eternity of watching bad Christian music videos David asked us to bless the house because we had been his visitors. I thought that was a brilliant idea. I think we should all bless houses in Australia. It's such a nice idea. It was such a good idea that Albert then took us to his house to bless it. It was like we were the Traveling House Blessing Patrol. I should have brought my anointing oil. But I do think it's a good idea.

Albert took us to his mother's house which was a little grass-roofed, smoke filled hut with a fire inside. Howie called it "the Giant Bong", which was an adequate description apart from the lack of special herbs in the fire.

His mother was a lovely lady full of welcome and smiles. He told us that she was so blessed to have us in her home (what can I say, she is, we are the new Apostles). We said "Thank you" in Swahili and she almost fell over she was so excited that we were humble enough to learn her language. What a lovely lady. We prayed for her house too. Then we got Howie out before he died of asthma.

Finally we were driven back to our Hotel. We had a drink (non-alcoholic) with the team (Albert, David, Peter and Isaiah) before they left. It was sad to say good-bye to Peter and Isaiah there. We did like them a lot. We had many a laugh. Isaiah was going to get me to marry his sister. Next time I guess. But we gave them our details and they promised to be in contact all the time. We neglected to give them the addresses of our blogs. Oops.

Howie and I got to have our first dinner alone since arriving in Kenya, how special. I threw my chicken on the floor and then the rain came (I'm not sure if they were connected or not). I'll try it next time there's a drought. Then it was off our room to prepare the next days journey. And the rest, as they say, is blogged.

Oh and I got to see the Equator as we traveled home this time. We got out, took photos, filmed and refused to buy trinkets. In fact I didn't buy one touristy thing the whole time I was in Africa. Oops. We didn't really have the time. I guess I'll just have to stock up on Red Buses here.

8/14/2007 08:28:00 pm

Thursday

Posted by Tom French |

Eventually on Thursday we were picked up from our hotel and taken to the shops. We had to do that because we were visiting a school that Albert's church runs for Orphans and Disadvantaged Children. He wanted us to take something for the kids so he got us to buy cordial and bread.

We were taken out to the school and were promply set to work playing with the kids. We played "In the Pond, Out of the Pond", "Red Light, Green Light" and Howie's finger hand game that I don't know the name of. Oh and we gave them a frisbee which they had no idea what to do with, but I hope they eventaually figure it out.

It was pretty fun. I like playing with kids.

We were then taken into the church to get and offical greeting. We were told about the school, and were then given a large round of applause for giving them a $5 frisbee. They were telling us that the woman in charge volunteers because they often can't pay her. They like to give the kids a meal when they're there but they often don't have the money. If there was anything I saw while I was in Kenya that I wanted to give money too it'd be that school.

Soon the kids were told to give us another round of appalause because we'd bought them some cordial and bread. We were having a Party!

Had we known we were bringing a party we would have provided a lot better stuff than cordial and bread. Actually had I thought about it at all we would have brought something a lot better than cordial and bread. But the kids seemed happy.

Howie asked if we could help hand it out. At first we were told "No", but soon the leadership relented and we were given permission. So we got to give the kids their drink and bread. It was an entirely satisfying experience.

This is a photo of the kids with their bread. It's not the best photo but you can see all the photos from our trip here.

1102785609_9a39092e2b.jpg

We headed back into town for lunch and Albert took us to a cafe which looked a little posher than usual. And judging by the prices it was. It cost us $8 to feed 5 people. Rip off!

While we were in the cafe Peter turned to me and asked me "How do you see the waitress?" which means "What do you think of the waitress?". I looked at her and wasn't quite sure what to say, but she wasn't bad looking, I just never know what to say when people ask me that.

"Do you think she'd make a good wife?"

Man, everyone wants to find me a wife. I didn't ask her to marry me.

That afternoon it was back to the corn field for more evangelism. Howie spoke this time. I'm sure he did well, but I didn't hear because Peter and some Pastor dude was talking to me about Australia's public transport system.

The evening was the revival in the church where we met the school in the morning. They rigged up some light globes and a generator. It was pretty cool, because everytime someone spoke the light globes would dim. So it made the speaking seem all the more powerful.

At one point Howie and I went outside for a pee and got to see heaps of Fireflys. They were cool. I'd never seen fireflies, I only dremt about seeing them after listening to "Kid's Praise 5" with it's singing, Scottish Firefly.

I spoke on 1 Samuel 6. No one walked out, so that was good. Albert didn't call for prayer that night. He just did his mini-sermon. I think because he was as tired as the rest of us, so we got to bed reasonably early.

8/14/2007 11:23:00 am

David Knows a Good Man When He Sees One

Posted by Tom French |

Check out this post.

And tell David how much you love him.

8/13/2007 10:22:00 pm

Wednesday

Posted by Tom French |

Getting back to the recollection.

We greeted another day with mammoth eggs and sweet milky tea. Then it was off to Kitale again.

We arrived in Kitale at around the time we were due to be at another church doing a Pastors and Leaders thing. Which meant we had plenty of time to go on the internet, drink Coke and eat chips. I love the African time thing.

We arrived at the Pastors and Leaders thing and there were about 4 Pastors having a sing-a-long. We were ushered into this tiny little church building, dirt floor, mud walls, but three nice chairs in the front row. We were put in the front row and I couldn't see all the singing that was going on behind me, I could only stare at the English posters on the wall that looked like they had been left there by the English missionaries when they were extracted in the 1950s. I turned around to smile and clap my hands (its the closest I can get to joining in) but was told off when Albert arrived. Apparently you can only face the front in African churches. So I got to look at the posters again, which looked something like "Dick and Jane go on Paul's Missionary Journeys". I'm going get some for my church.

The Pastors and Leaders meeting was the one I was most looking forward to. I think because it was the one I felt like I would understand the culture the best, and the people who would understand me the best. I had planned before I went to speak on Servant Leadership, using Jesus Washing the Disciple's feet. Turns out I was listening to the Spirit that day, because since arriving I felt like that's exactly what I needed to speak on. They have plenty of commitment, plenty of passion. But seeing the whole "Pastor is Chief, Pastor gets the best Service" thing, I felt like my topic was spot on.

I was also rather worried about the topic because I knew I'd be having a go a cultural thing that I didn't really understand. It could seem rather arrogant.

Anyway, Howie did his bit. He spoke about Strength in Weakness, which was really good. And the Pastors all felt very encouraged.

We had a break, then it was my go. I only had three sentences of notes for this one. I was praying and believing that God would turn up. I never, ever, do that. I always have full notes, but I didn't really have the time to prepare this one, and I felt I should just trust that God would be there.

I don't know quite how I did, but it felt like the best talk I gave the whole time. The pastors seemed challenged. Perhaps not overjoyed but I think I struck a chord. Albert got up and did his post-preach preach and told everyone "Don't be a boss, be a servant" which was the a wonderful little summary. I hope they took it on board.

I spent the rest of my time trying to make sure I was a servant so they didn't look at me and think I was a hypocrite. However, seeing as I haven't done the talk back home, I intend on introducing as many "Youth Pastor is Chief" reforms as possible.

Our second revival location was at a community who's Swahili name means either "Congregation of People" or "Place of Many Problems". We parked the ute on the edge of a corn field and preache from there, on the edge of this dirt road. From there we could only see about two houses, but somehow kids just miraculously appeared. Perhaps they live in burrows. Or in the corn. Children of the Corn. Spooky.

There was almost all kids there, and they looked poorer than the kids at Tipte. The all seemed sicker, dirtier and they had worse clothes. Plus they were all more violent with each other.

There would have been about 15 adults there, but most of them were from the Pastors and Leaders thing we just did.

I preached the Prodigal Son again, and did a worse job then the first time. Still people came forward. There was one man who had been standing off to the side doing what looked like Tai Chi the whole time. Turns out he was mentally ill. So after I preached he was brought in so all the Pastoral Heavies could cast the demon of Mental Illness out of him. I get a little uncomfortable about that. I'm not sure what I think Satan does, and what I think is just illness. And where they intertwine. But I'm not wanting to go casting Satan out of every mentally ill person I meet. So I just prayed for his healing, and stepped back when things got too noisy. He seemed Ok though. He just did Tai Chi while they all fussed over him.

Later I found out that his name is Peter, and he speaks the best English I heard from a local the whole time. Sadly it's all nonsense, but he knew a lot of good sentences.

It was starting to rain while we did the revival, so we got given the night off. This was a source of immense satisfaction. Howie and I were so tired, we needed the night off. Thank you God!

We ended up eating dinner with the "team" in the resturant under our new hotel in town, then going to our room and getting ready for bed. We then stayed up late talking about how good it was we got to go to sleep early. Oh how we love early nights.

8/13/2007 10:14:00 pm

Boy, How I do London

Posted by Tom French |

I'm a bad tourist. Today I sat on the internet for two hours. I washed my clothes. I wandered down to Leicester Square, I sat on some grass and read and prayed, I watched Harry Potter again, I wandered back towards home, I bought a book, I ate Maccas and felt sick and got lost trying to find my hotel. Now I am returned and feeling better.

I like to go overseas to experience new things.

I watched Harry at the Odeon which has a digital projector. Oh boy it was sweet. I've never watched a film on a digital projector before, but it was real nice. Such richness, such clarity. I would have watched anything and enjoyed it, but this film was wonderful.

Tomorrow I will try and be a better Tourist. I might go see the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, and do the Chelsea Stadium tour. Sweet.

8/13/2007 11:24:00 am

Toasty Tuesday

Posted by Tom French |

Tuesday wasn't really toasty, I just like alliteration.

I'm here in London Net-ville. So it's time for more Travel Writing from Tom's Kenyan Extravaganza.

Tuesday started with breakfast in the Hotel dining room watching American Hi-5 which is exactly the same as Australian Hi-5 except for the accents. A little weird.

Breakfast was the usual "English" thing, a tiny little sausage, cold toast and a fried egg the size of Tasmainia. They're always tough.

Once breakfast was over Howie and I went back to our room for a lie down. Knowing that the conference wasn't due to start for another 5 minutes just out of town, we got a good hour's sleep in.

When we arrived back at Tipte Peter set up the sound system and the youth conference. The way you start a meeting in Kenya is you start singing and people come and start to join in. I guess it the Kenyan way of saying "We're here now, you can all come out of your huts".

The Youth Conference was Howie's first chance to preach. He talked about Holiness. He did pretty good for a first go. It always hard to see how people are reacting. But I thought he did alright.

After some more singing, it was lunch time. This time the Pastor told everyone not to go home because lunch was going to be provided. It turns out that this was paid for by Howie and I. I think that was probably one of the best things we did with the money. It warmed my heart to see 50 or so kids who may not always know when they're next going to eat getting a free meal. I wanted to go eat with them but we were ushered into the VIP hut and fed beef and rice. It tasted pretty good but I would have rathered been with the kids.

We came back after lunch for the crusade. This means an evangelistic talk outside. If you do it inside it's a revival. When we arrived they were singing which was followed by the youth pastor of the Church leading an offering. He pretty much got up and said "If you want to be rich like the Muzungus you should give money. They're rich because they give." I kinda wanted to stand up and say "If you want to be rich like the Muzungus you should get born in Sydney." If figure they give like the Widow gave, I give like the rich give.

When the offering came around I wasn't really sure what to do. I couldn't not give, but I didn't want to give because I didn't want to validate what the Youth Pastor was saying. Then when everyone was putting in coins, I only wanted to put in coins, but I only had small coins. I didn't want to be seen putting in rich muzungu notes. Gosh it's complex. I ended up giving a note worth $4. It's not much really.

I preached on The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. I don't know how much people liked it. I didn't get any hand wavings or "Amens". I learnt that if your audience seems dead you just have to say "But Jesus has the victory" or "God has a plan for your life" and you'll get an "Amen" and a hand wave or two.

We had one guy come forward to become a Christian and I got to pray for him. He was made to pray the sinners prayer with me in the microphone, which was a little odd. Still It was good to pray with just one person. Somehow praying with just one was more special than with 30 because you were sure this guy had come forward because he chose to, not because everyone else had.

After the crusade Howie and I spent a while playing with the kids. They were lots of fun. I don't think adults play with children much in Kenya, so we got the privilege. We tried to think of as many games we could play where you didn't need any language. We found a few. My favourite bit was getting them all to wave their arms and say "Hey-Ho!" I felt like a hip-hop star. It's not often a white man gets lead a bunch of black kids in language of street. Ya-dig-it, dawg?

The revival that night was much like the first one but Howie preached. He did really well with this one. He had picked up heaps since the afternoon. It's like he found a groove. During the ministry time Albert called for people who come forward who needed prayer for being single. "It's a curse" he said "and it needs to be broken!" While I was tempted to bound down the front and get the demon of singleness cast out of me, I managed to hold back. I went and prayed with people but didn't manage to get around to casting the singleness out. In the end I just prayed that God would do whatever he he wanted to do in their life.

Some one's mobile just went off here really loud. Their ringtone was Avril's "Girlfriend". How embarrassing. If that happened to me I'd just ignore it and pretend it wasn't my phone.

We went back to our hotel again, rather exhausted. Sleep was welcomed. I think the mozzies were happy with the job they'd done on my the night before because they left me alone.

8/12/2007 07:40:00 pm

Britland

Posted by Tom French |

I've made it to London, all by myself. I'm so grown up.

I just tried to visit church, but I got there late, walked past the church, got spotted by the usher and was too self-conscious to walk in after that. I then walked back to where my Hotel is praying that I would find a church along the way that was starting so I wouldn't be late. But alas I did not find one. I tried following the leading of the Spirit down different alleys in case he was wanting me to find some backwater Penty church or something. Alas, I found nothing. So I have concluded that either God doesn't exist or he wants me to use the internet. I'm happy with the second option.

Actually it's more likely that I should have just not been a wuss and walked in even though the usher had seen me walking past. But perhaps I will learn to be braver from now on.

After getting to my hotel (The Mentone Hotel, which is classier than it's two-star rating suggests) I met up with Bevis and his friend Matt and we hung out. Bevis was his most excited when we were sitting in Leicester Square and I mentioned I'm thinking about making a TV series sometime in the distant future. It was always the thing that excited him the most. It was good to hang out, I liked Matt, and I enjoyed being with friendlies in foriegn land.

I have concluded sitting here, near the desk of this internet cafe manager, that most people who come to internet cafes don't know how to use internet cafes. I guess the whole "Click Here to Log-On" button can be a little baffleing.

I may try and write more of Kenya down. Then I'll find some dinner and watch British TV in my Hotel room. I think Big Brother is on here. Maybe it's eviction night! Yesss!

8/11/2007 09:56:00 pm

Aaahhport

Posted by Tom French |

We have arrived alive at Nairobi Airpot. There isn't really all that much to say about today, so I can avoid doing a massive post about it some time in the unforseeable future.

Mostly we spent it bouncing around on potholed roads. For some reason Kenyans have a love of putting speeh humps on their national highways. This isn't just a broken road, these are actual speed humps.

From Eldoret to Nairobi Howie, Albert, David and I had a small public van to ourselves. It was great. We had whole rows each to stretch out in rich, white man luxary. I felt a little dogdy seeing so many of the vans stuffed full of Kenyans on the way. But we needed to make sure we made the plane. Otherwise I'm happy to travel 300km with my head in some random's armpit.

At lunch today we got hit-up for more money. It made me rather annoyed. I spent a while working out what the problem was, because I don't care about the money. I realised it had something to do with the assumption that because we're white (or rich) we'd just pay. We weren't really asked for the money, we were just told there were more expenses.

I really dislike the way money mucks up relationships. I asked for all the expenses they were going to ask for up front so this wouldn't happen. Unfortunatly it didn't work.

Oh well. I'll move on. It won't happen again.

Coming into Nairobi we got stuck in this massive fog, it was cool.

Then in Nairobi we got to experience the wonders of Kenyan round-abouts. You get four lanes of traffic in every direction and drive straight for where you want to go, and honk till you get to the other side. None of this "Give way to your right stuff", just go for it. I was most impressed. I'm pretty sure they're better drivers here than in Australia. They should source stunt drivers from developing nations. They're much better at split second timing.

We arrived at the Airport on time, actually way early. So this is good. We will not miss our plane. So London, here we come, eh?

8/11/2007 10:02:00 am

Waiting on the Clothes to Flatten

Posted by Tom French |

We're off to Nairobi today. As soon as Mr Hotel Man has ironed my clothes. I don't really need them ironed as I'll just shove them in my bag, but they insist, it's the done thing. It'll be the first time my jeans have ever been ironed I think.

As soon as that happens, we're off. Hopefully off in time to catch our plane.

For now though, I'm making the most of netland. I'm in an internet cafe and hair salon. Why don't we have more of them in Australia?

8/10/2007 11:36:00 pm

Monday Madness

Posted by Tom French |

Monday began with breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Although we spent most of the breakfast trying to figure out how not to eat it without offending people. There’s something about warm milk that’s meant to be cold, and cold egg and sausage that’s meant to be hot that shouts “Eat me and I’ll bust my out with explosive force at one end or the other punk.” I think we managed to eat enough to be unwise but not enough to avoid offending our waiter Mr President, so a job badly done on all fronts.

Albert eventually found us having a morning snooze was we waited for him to turn up at some late hour of the morning. No one was complaining though, everyone loves African time when it gets you a snooze.

I think it was around that time that we visited the internet and the bank. I withdrew KSH35,000. I’ve never held a bigger wad of cash in my life. It was awesome!

After the internet I was standing outside on the street with a Pastor we had just met (we meet a lot of Pastors) and a ute pulled up with three people in the cab and six people in the back all wearing civilian clothes and carrying AK-47s. I suddenly remembered the article I read a few weeks ago about the group of men who drive into the Kitale market in may and just started randomly shooting people. Seeing as I was close to what I am guessing is the Kitale market I did get a little nervous, and ready to jump over the concrete wall behind me. But seeing as no-one around me started screaming, I decided to play it cool. You wouldn't want the embarrassment of diving over walls and screaming everytime a ute full of heavily armed men rocked up. People would think you were a pansy. Still the men all looked prety friendly so I figured they weren't going to kill anyone today. At least not anyone in the Kitale market. They drove off after picking up a friend and we all survived.

Eventually we squashed six people into the cab of Isaiah’s ute and put one or two Africans in the back and headed off to Bungorma (I think) which is somewhere in Kenya, about 20kms from the Ugandan border.

We were checked into our guest house, where we were given a room with two beds that were much comfier than floor tiles and the back of taxis, two mosquito nets with holes and rips so big it only keeps out those mozzies that are the size of small dogs, and a shower that was so close to the toilet you could do all your ablutions at the same time. They’re into multitasking these Kenyans.

Then it was off to the Youth Conference that was due to start at 10am. I think we arrived at 3pm. And while we were late even by African standards there were still some youth there (think 5-year-olds, they have a very broad definition of “youth” here) singing songs. One does wonder if they had been singing for the past 5 hours straight. If they were ever to introduce Singing Marathons at the Olympics I reckon Kenya would be a sure bet for a medal.

We didn’t end up doing the youth conference, we just told people to come to the Crusade.

The Crusade was held out the front of the church. We were at a small farming community called Tipte (I think again) about 8kms from town, closer still to Uganda. The church itself was just a mud building with a tin roof and dirt floor. I quite liked it. It reminded me of Beach Mission, only permanent. The church had a splendid patch of grass out the front that was excellent for playing running around games on.

When it was vaguely time to start the crusade a sound system had been set up running off a small generator (the community had not electricity) that was loud enough to half deafen the 60 people who had turned up and thoroughly drench the surrounding corn fields with a healthy dose of African worship and the Word of God. Let’s hope they grow better as a result. Singing started and the Crusade was underway. I was about to become an International Preacher in a community hidden in a corn field, that had a total population smaller than my church, a combined income of less than my annual salary, and a bunch of people who only half spoke my language. I couldn’t think of a better place to start. Let’s hope I’ll always get, and take gigs like that.

I preached the sermon about the Lost Son that I have on ChristianSpeakers.com.au. Preaching in another culture and being translated into another language is a tough gig. You have no idea what’s funny, what’s connecting, what images people will get, which one’s won’t translate. But I figured I should just go for it and see what happens. I found I was a lot more charismatic than I am at home. I think because I figure, even if they can’t understand what I’m saying I want them to hear that I care about it.

During the sermon people kept waving at me. It was a little odd. It was like people just kept wanting to say “Hi”. Later I realised they do this when they like what you’re doing. That’s nice.

When I was finished, Albert led the alter call which was pretty much like my sermon again, Albert style. But 30 people responded I was told, that’s pretty good. I don’t care if they came because of me or Albert, as long as they came.

For dinner we were taken down some narrow dirt roads for about ten minutes to the backwaters of backwaters to the Pastors house. He had a grass roofed hut and a tin roofed hut. We got the tin roofed one. We ate dinner by the light of a paraphin lamp. I'm not too sure what we ate because I couldn't see it. I think it might have been another scarwny chicken. Poor thing.

The night meeting was a revival back at the Beach Mission church. Think Soul Survivor meeting with more African singing, just a casio keyboard and lots more shouting. I preached on 1 Samuel 4. People stared at me blankly, except the Pastor's wife. She kept saying "Amen".

We ended the night praying for lots of people. Many times when I asked people what they wanted prayer for they said "My education". It was sad and beautiful at the same time.

We returned to Hotel Shower'n'Poo and slept well. Except for the rodent sized mozzie who big me on the back, probably injecting maleria in me like that guy who sits in theaters and stabs people with AIDS. Or is that just an urban legend?

8/10/2007 11:06:00 pm

Sunday Continues

Posted by Tom French |

At Albert’s house were fed a feast of scrawny chicken and beans, rice and soup. The scrawny chicken is not to say the chicken was bad, I think every chicken in this country is scrawny. The food was good, Albert’s wife fed us good. We had a long conversation over lunch with two church elders about building materials in Australia (“What sort of bricks do you use in Australia?”), Australia’s farming practices (“What is Australia’s cash crop?”) and employment (“Can you get me a job in Australia?”) I have to say it was the last one I felt I could answer the easiest, though the other two were much more comfortable to talk about.

We met Albert’s 3-year-old girl, Leia, who is the cutest thing I have seen in years. I’ve decided on this trip that African kids are God’s cutest creations.

After Albert’s little house we were taken to Pastor David’s house. This was much more befitting of Sydney Clergy man. It probably had the requisite 4 bedrooms. It was still rather Kenyan with it’s shabby concrete floor, but they’d done a good job making it nice. We arrived, sat on a couch and watched bad Kenyan television for an hour. It was enlightening and rather amusing.

The afternoon had a Musical Extravaganza put on at Albert’s Church by the local youth. Again we were put in the Christian Corporate box, and given a prime view of the performances. They were good. They’re good at their music here (even if they’re not so good at the sound engineering everything is turned up to eleven even if there is no eleven). I enjoyed watching them sing and dance. There was one girl who got up and did and impression of a Kenyan tele-evangelist, and even though it was in Swahili it was the funniest thing I’d seen in ages. I really like Kenyan youths. They can come and join my youth group anytime they want.

After the extravaganza we met Peter the church’s youth leader and worship leader. He told us he was going to coming with us on our travels around the Kenyan countryside. Little did we know he was to become one of our best Kenyan friends here. We were driven into town by our driver, Isaiah who was also going to become a best friend. There was a lady in the car with us who we were giving a lift too (Isaiah knows everyone and spends half his trip stopping to pick various people up and put them in the back of his ute) who told us that next time we will stay in Kenya three months. “Three months!” I said “It’s getting longer every time.” I then reminded them that we do have ministries to attend to in Australia. Still it’s nice to feel loved.

We had dinner at our hotel with Albert, David, and his son Junior. It was mostly silly conversation. We had a waiter who introduced himself as President JFK. He was probably the funnest waiter I’ve met in a long time. By the end of the meal sitting at the table was The Pope, Elvis, Queen Elizabeth the 6th and two other notable historical figures.

We finished the night with a prayer in our room. I slept on my stupid lilo on the floor because Howie and I were fighting. I thought it would have been comfortable, but the dodgy thing has a leak, so I spent the night sleeping on tiles. Oh well I guess it’s about as good as many Kenyans get every night, so either I shouldn’t complain, or we should all complain together.

8/10/2007 10:38:00 pm

Going

Posted by Tom French |

I’m sitting here in my bed on the last night here in Kenya. I’m not connected to the net, I’m doing one of those posts that I write in Word and stick up later. I’m listening to Anberlin (I think of you Curt), it’s reminding me how much I’ve missed familiar music this past week. But I’m pretty happy now.

Howie and I just did some filming to finish off here. We’re both pretty happy to be going home. While we have met lots of fabulous people here, and participated in some pretty special stuff, we can’t say it’s been all that easy. Although I think it’s got better as the days have gone on. I think familiarity has bred love in this case. Over the past few days we’ve bonded a lot with Peter, David, Isaiah and Albert (our travelling companions). Many a silly a conversation during our car trips. It’s good to find people who a willing to be stupid with you.

But tomorrow we’re leaving at 9am (at least that’s what as been planned, so we expect to leave at about 10:30am) and we’re off to Nairobi to fly away, I’m off to London, Howie is back to Oz. Happy are the men who are leaving Africa.

Many people come home from Africa raving about what a special life changing experience it has been. How 3 months wasn’t nearly enough.

I’ll be leaving knowing it’s been an important, growing, challenging experience, but I’ll be happy to find some more familiar ground. Who would ever have thought I would have called London familiar.

Anyway, God is Good. I have seen that he is here in Africa too. Kenya is a land so full of hardship, yet so full of faith. It is a blessing to see.

We’ve been told many times these past days that God is calling us to Kenya, Kenya needs us. But Kenya doesn’t need us. Kenya is safe in the hands of the wonderful Kenyans that we’ve met. They love Jesus, they’re making significant contributions to the lives of the widow and the orphan, and they’re preaching Jesus like there’s no tomorrow. They don’t need two uncomfortable white boys to do their sermons for them. But good on ‘em for letting us in for week anyway.

My work here is done. God bless Kenya.

8/09/2007 03:20:00 pm

Soda Church

Posted by Tom French |

Sunday

We expected Albert to be late in the morning to pick us up for church, so we took our time. Unfortunately he came early and we had to skip breakfast. It's be the only time so far he's ever been early for anything. I guess everything has to happen at least once.

Albert took us to his church. It's a tin shed in a small town called Moi's Bridge, about 20 minutes out of Kitale. When we arrived at church things had already started. We shook a few hands and were ushered into the church and shown to our seats. We had front row seats along with the other Elders and Leaders of the church. There was a table in front of us with a table cloth, and a few bottles of Coke, Sprite and Fanta and other drinks on it. It turns out at the end of church a girl comes along and asks each of the elder people what they would like to drink, then pours it for them. It was a rather uncomfortable experience. As much as I love the idea of Coke in church, I hate the idea of being the spiritual elite. It didn't really speak of the equality of the eldership with the rest of the church to me. We've come to see that this kind of thing happens in all the churches. I asked one of our friends about it and realised that it's a reflection of the tribal culture, and this is how the elders of a tribe would be seated. I can understand that, but still I'm not a fan. But as a guest I can't really do much about it. I just try and graciously take the spot I am given.

The church service was fun. Lots of African singing, Albert preached and got translated, so we understood, then more singing. The congregation seemed to like the singing better than the sermon. It was good to see we have some similarities with our brothers and sisters here.

During the service we were welcomed by Pastor Albert and we got to tell them a little about ourselves. Albert made the first of what have been many references to when we return next year. This is a little bit of a worry because neither of us are planning on returning next year. We've tried to tell Albert this but alas still every meeting there's a reference. But maybe he's had a prophesy, and knows more than us. God can send us where he likes.

After church we were taken to Albert's house. It's a mud brick "unit" that's got a tin roof and is half the size of my bedroom. Certainly different to the four bedrooms that the Sydney Diocese insists on for it's clergy.

Aside: Lots of alarms have started sounding here, I wonder if the building is burning down? Oh just got told to save. Power going. Good bye.

8/09/2007 02:54:00 pm

Now and Saturday Part 2

Posted by Tom French |

I do love these visits to the wind-up internet cafe.

The rain just started bucketing down. Last night the revival meeting was cancelled because of the rain. Tonight Crusade and Revival meeting might go. That would be sad, in some ways, but having another night off might be nice too. We'll see how things go.

But now, lets get back to Saturday.

PART TWO BEGINS HERE

We arrived in Eldoret quite late. I've heard it's the third biggest city in Kenya. That may be true. But I saw a silo on Sunday and was told that it was the second biggest of only four in Africa, only to see another one the same size the next day. But Eldoret basically was just moving from one bus into another with a lot of people shouting "Mazungu! Mazungu!" at us. "Mazungu" means white man. Howie and I are something of a novelty here. I'm happy to provide the amusement.

We were stuffed into another overcrowed bus, Albert feel asleep on my shoulder, and we sped off to Kitale. In Kitale we were bustled into an old, blue Peurgeot station wagon that had doors that were missing all the interior panels, and seats that weren't actually attached to the floor. We found out later this was Pastor David's car.

We were taken to the Mid Africa Hotel, which seems to be the poshest hotel in town. Howie and I were given a double bed which didn't really fit the mattress, so it poked up at the end. The mattress still had a plastic covering on it, which is helpful if either of us wet the bed, but felt like you were sleeping on the back seat of taxi.

Still I was happy to have a bed. We took some dinner, and then fell asleep. The eight-hour trip to Kitale had only taken 12 hours. Pretty good for African time I reckon.

8/08/2007 07:06:00 pm

Saturday

Posted by Tom French |

Breakfast was good. Albert and David came to our room with us after breakfast sat us down, told us that when we get to Kitale everyone will ask us for money because we're white. They told us the protocol for how to deal with this, then proceeded to tell us they can't afford to run this conference they we're here for and would we mind paying for it.

While this seemed a little dodgy to me. I don't mind paying for stuff, or trying to be generous. I do mind if it creates a bad relationship and dependance between us. If they'd asked me to pay before I came though, I probably would have said "No". But seeing as if we didn't give any money we would have had no conference to go to, I figured it might be worth bank rolling the endevour. I'm working at being gracious and generous about it.

Once we'd sorted out the dosh, it was off to Nairobi city centre to find a taxi van to take us to Kitale. Nairobi is full of people, everyone is trying to sell you stuff it seems, they're quite enterprising these Kenyans. We found one booking place, but they were full. Pastor David and I headed off to find money changers, came back, then moved to a new booking place. And inadvertantly while picking up our luggage, we picked up someone else's bag too.

I thought it was kinda ironic that I spend the whole time walking around Nairobi careful that no-one would pick-pocket me, or steal my stuff, and then I ended up stealing some poor person's bag. It probably contained all their worldly possesions and I nicked. David and I took it back to the booking office so that who ever lost it could come back and claim it. I hope they got it. I was praying that we did.

We eventually found a taxi bus (I've forgotten what they're called "Toki Tokis" or something like that) to take us to Naruku, from there we were going to get a bus to Eldoret and from there we'd get a bus to Kitale. It turned out things were going to be a little slower than planned. But as I've experienced, everything goes slower than planned.

We squeezed ourselves onto this dogdy Toyota van, prepared to leave and got our bus boarded by a bus preacher, who gave us a mini-sermon and a prayer before we left. I didn't understand much, except that the Bible promised that we would have an accident, because if God is for us, who (or what) can be against us. I am pretty sure that is a contextually accurate use of that passage. The Romans were often catching taxi buses.

The trip was long and squashy. We saw Zebra by the side of the road and those flat trees they have in The Lion King. We could tell we we in Africa.

Road rules here seem to be, drive in the middle of the road, try not to hit anyone, and overtake on the wrong side of the road as much as possible, especially if there is a truck coming at you from the other direction. If you try not to fear for your life, it's a pretty exciting trip.

Our first stop in Nakuru gave us top quality African Coke. African Coke tastes like Australian Coke, unlike UAE Coke. So it was very special.

Between Nakuru and Eldoret (which is in the north-west of Nairobi) we were to drive across the Equator. I was pretty excited. I often dreamt about seeing the Equator when I was a kid. I never actually thought I'd go there. It seemed somewhat magical.

Unfortuately I fell asleep in the van and woke after I heard Howie say "That's cool". I opened my eyes and found out I had missed the Equator by 5 seconds. Sadness.

END OF PART ONE

Gosh I write a lot. Well, good on you for reading this far. Have to go to random village again now. So I'll finish later. There's not too far to go. At least on Saturday.

I'm off to buy water and Coke.

8/08/2007 10:54:00 am

Back from the Bush

Posted by Tom French |

We have just arrived back in Kitale from being in a town who's name I've forgotten. We were doing revivals and crusades in a remote rural community. All the buildings were made out of mud and sticks and there was no electricity. I felt like I was in the happy part of a World Vision video. The preaching was hard, but the people were wonderful.

We will soon be on our way to another town to do a Pastors' and Leaders' meeting, two revivals and two crusades. We got told we were leaving in 10 minutes 30 minutes ago. There are some things I love about African time (like extra sleep and internet time) some things not so much (going to bed 2 hours later than planned). But right now I'll see if I can make the most of it. I'll see if I can fit another blog post in before we leave.

8/06/2007 11:39:00 am

Living Africa

Posted by Tom French |

We're now in Kitale, Kenya. We're siting in an internet cafe with, what feel like, 486 computers, which have modems that run on semafore.

We're waiting for a truck to get fixed. It's in the garage getting something done to it. It's going to drive us to some random village where we're going to stay for the next two days. We're doing a youth conference there, two open air preaches, and two revival meetings. The youth conference started at 10am and will finsih in about 20 minutes. I've heard this town is an hour away (which probably means two) so I doubt we'll make it in time. Still, I'm greatful for the chance to catch up with the world.

I figure seeing as I have so much to blog, I'll just start from when we arrived in Kenya and go till the truck is fixed. We could be here all day, praise the Lord.

Friday

We were delayed in Dubai for some reason, so we got to Nairobi late. Our plane was pretty much full of American Christians off to save the children. I guess we're all the same.

Once at Customs we were leaving with a big bunch of Americans. The Customs man waved them through, but they were stopped by another customs guy. The American lady who was heading up the group (they were all wearing t-shirts that said "Every Child is a Winner" on the front) shouted at the man "We were told to go through! All that's in there is books and clothes, books and clothes!" I felt it was probably a good start to the campaign of good for the children of this nation.

We made it out of customs without having to shout at anybody and meet Pastor Albert and his friend Pastor David. Pastor Albert is the shortest African man we have ever seen. The gave us a handshake and a hug then took us to the taxi they' had hired.

We left the Airport and were stopped at a toll booth by a man with a big gun. I thought "Oh know here comes the car jacking" and then remembered that there are big guns everywhere in Africa, so we may not be about to die. The driver and the gun man had a bit of a laugh, which makes you feel safe. I'd like to able to make jokes with big men with big guns. I'd feel quite good about myself.

We were taken to the YMCA in Nairobi to spend the night. It was like church camp accomdation, except dodgier. Still, I do love the dodge factor, so I was pretty happy. The bed was comfy enough that I slept good.

8/03/2007 07:33:00 pm

Goodbye Dubai

Posted by Tom French |

Well we're at Dubai Airport. All ready to leave.

I'm printing out all our talks at this internet cafe. I'm going to use up the last of my Dubai money on this.

Yesterday was Wild Wadi day. This is the place with the uphill waterslide.

We woke up earlyish and sat around. The cleaners came to clean our room and laugh at Howie's jokes. They had a good time. It's a little bit embarrasing having someone clean up your mess while you sit there. I'd rather clean up after myself. But I guess they're used to it.

We got ourselves a taxi after that and headed off to the water park. It was on the other side of Dubai, so we got to drive through the CBD. this is basically a strip of tall, new, mostly ugly buildings that are mostly under construction, and mostly covered in advertising. We got to see the work they're doing on the tallest building in the world. It's pretty cool. Tall too. But mostly what I saw seemed pretty souless to me.

Wild Wadi was tops fun. It's like Manly Waterworks and Ali Baba combined. It's all middle eastern themed and made out of fake rocks and stuff. When you arrive you put all your money for the day on a waterproof wristband and then anytime you want to buy something you just get it scanned. It's way fun. It's like playing a really big, simulation game and you get to eat the stuff you get. It's well designed to help you part with your money. I had fun.

The uphill waterslide is actually a series of many uphill and down hill waterslides. You go in a blow up tube and get shot up a waterslide by high pressure jets that try to take your pants off. Dirty machines.

Then you get to the end and have a series of three other water slides to choose from, and from there you get a series of three more and so on, till you get fed into big fake river to take you on a leasurely float around the park. It's pretty fun. All the way along there are overly friendly life guards to push you down different slides and force you to have your photo taken.

Once we were bored of the park, and had eat well with our play money, we headed off to Mall of the Emirates. It's teh 23rd biggest mall in the world, and its the one with the indoor ski slope. Neither Howie or I went sking though. It would have been fun, but as neither of us have skied before, we would have had a lesson, and we're too proud to let anyone teach us stuff. Especially not on fake snow in Westfield on roids.

But the mall was fun. We went to an oversized Timezone and played racing games. And we bought toilet paper in the biggest supermaket I have ever seen. Much bigger than the one the day before. It had 90 isles and 58 checkouts. It was huge. It was the size of Cowan, but under flouresant lights.

We ended our time in the food court then headed home feeling sleepy.

At the appartment I managed to wash come clothes in the washing machine. It was all written in Italian, so I had to make it up. But after 3 attempts and way too many soap suds, we got clean clothes. And the advantage of having nights that are 35 degress outside, you can dry your clothes on the balcony over night.

Today has been short. Just prayer and airport really. Lots of lines in the airport. I think the airport is the only place I have seen locals actually working. Everywhere else it's imported labour, like Indians, Pakistanis, British, Philipinos, etc. It's an odd city.

I'm running out of internet time, so I should stop. Plus it's all most time for Kenya.

Golly gosh. What are we doing?

Pray for us.

8/03/2007 07:26:00 pm

Video Fun

Posted by Tom French |

If you want to see the first (and possibly last) installment of our video diaries, here they are.

It's mainly about poo, so be warned.

When I get a chance to You Tube them, I will.

8/01/2007 06:54:00 pm

Alive in Dubai

Posted by Tom French |

14 hours and 35 minutes is a long time to be sitting on a plane. But boy did we see some sights, like the best of an episode of Top Gear, and I saw some of X2, and I read lots of Harry Potter, and I saw a lot of a wing with a flashing light on it.

Still I do love flying.

We got into Dubai at 5:30 this morning and it was 35 degrees. Hotish.

We got asked if we wanted a Taxi when we got out of the airport. We said “Yes” and got taken to some dude in his car. He drove us to the Hotel and when we pulled up I asked “How much?”

And he responded by saying “You are my first passengers of the day. I don’t want a fight, I don’t want a fight.”

“That’s ok” I replied “How much does it cost?”

“I don’t want a fight! I don’t want a fight!”

In the end it cost us about $22 (Australian). When we caught a real taxi later today we realised the trip should have cost us about $4. Oh well.

We checked out our apartment. It’s got two bedrooms and no toilet paper. We have marvelous views of empty lots full of sand. There’s a lot of sand here. It looks like the Middle East.

I was thirsty so I drank the tap water. I have been regretting that for the rest of today. At least it’s me this time and not Howie. He seems to always cop it.

We had a little kip and headed out to see the town. We ended up in a Shopping Centre much like one in Australia except there is a lot more Arabic signs and lots more women in burqas.

We watched Die Hard 4.0 at the cinemas. That was way fun. I was so sad I was going to miss seeing it when it opened in Sydney, now I get to see it a week and a half early. The Lord provides for those who do his work. I enjoyed the film. I think it fits well into the series, though, I wouldn’t say it’s anything spectac. I did enjoy all the destruction and fighting.

We did a little bit of walking out doors but it was too amazingly hot to stay for long, so we went back inside.

We finished our time in the Dinmar City Centre by shopping in the biggest supermarket I’ve ever seen for all the exotic local cuisine like corn chips, Coke, milk, bottled water and Ritz biscuits.

Now we’re home for the night to do sermon work. Yesssss. And I’ll finish Harry Potter.

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