The Ark of Noah – and The Unsinkable Dream

I have just finished reading The Unsinkable Dream by Johan Huibers, the Dutchman who has built a full-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Its Dutch title is Let Your Dream Sail.

It is a wonderful read about an amazing project with so many lessons that you should simply purchase the book for yourself.

The Ark is currently on a tour around the ports of South America, such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the Olympic Games are being held at present.

You can read about it and support it here: www.arkofnoah.org.

Ark Of Noah Foundation video on Vimeo; more Ark of Noah Foundation videos here.

Dealing with cold callers

Many of you have probably had cold callers wasting your time.

Rather than putting the phone down on them, you might want to waste their time. My most recent call (the second one today) went like this.

First, he asked about ‘my recent minor car accident’. So I asked him what made him think that I had a minor car accident.

Encouraged, he told me that he got my number from the Road Safety Authority and went on to ask me if I had a minor car accident. The inconsistency of his question was completely lost on him, so I wasted a few more of his minutes by pointing out that he just told me that I had ‘a minor car accident’.

After a while he hit on the line that he needed ‘to validate it’ to help me out with compensation. As he floundered I was writing down what he was saying so that I could compose this blog. Usually I simply carry on with my own work while they talk away into thin air.

Eventually he asked if he was speaking to the right person so I said: “Probably not.” So he asked if I would “find out who at this number had a minor car accident”. I said: “No, as I don’t see why I should do your work for you.” So then he wondered if this was a home number or a work number and when I would not tell him he began to realise he was getting nowhere and rang off abruptly, as they usually do – such is their love of helping people.

Another way of handling such calls is simply to put the phone down beside you and carry on working. Let them speak into thin air and eventually they will realise that they are talking to no-one and will ring off. Don’t put the phone down at that stage, for then they can simply phone someone else. Keep the phone off the hook as this keeps the line busy and prevents them making another phone call. In a short while the phone will begin to buzz, reminding you to hang up your phone again.

Have fun instead of getting annoyed. You might even find the opportunity to put across the Gospel to them – for free. It is all part of the Christian service.

Three providences at Belladrum

We had a great night as Street Pastors at the Belladrum Tartan Heart Music festival, just outside Beauly, a family orientated event compared to Rockness festival at Dores two months earlier.

There were some remarkable providences. Not least, the weather was warm after a washout the night before. We had come prepared for muddy fields, and instead our main concern was how to keep cool.

The talk was good. We split into three groups of two Street Pastors in each team. The early part of the evening has fewer conversations because of the noise, which festival goers call music, drowning out serious chat and so we wander around checking that no-one is in trouble.

To save the legs, occasionally I sit down to chat with folks. The first two people I sat with had personal connections. The first one lived a quarter of a mile from where I used to live in Glasgow. Michael was a lapsed Roman Catholic and so I began with Michael the archangel and encouraged him to seek Jesus Who will not fail us the way that human institutions will. The second one was Adam, a lapsed Christian from a church in Cumnock that I knew, with mutual acquaintances, and we went over a lot of useful ground. He was sitting under a tree and I said to my teammate Clive: “I’m going to sit and chat with that fellow under the tree.” When the Lord spoke with Nathanael under the fig tree Jn 1:47-50, it was to demonstrate that He knew what was going on in his thoughts. This is the token that Adam needed and we spent an hour with an in-depth conversation as I showed him that the Lord is on his case. Then his family arrived and I encouraged them all to seek the Lord so that I could catch up on the rest of their story in heaven.

The third remarkable providence was later in the evening when a fellow came over to speak to us and in my usual barter I discovered that I had once stayed with his brother-in-law’s mother in Melvaig on the northern shore of Scotland. He said that “she did not like to work on Sunday”. She was a district nurse and needed to do so, so I told him that she preferred to go to church and worship God and learn about Christ with fellow Christians. So we got talking. He was a gamekeeper and his girlfriend was studying river environments, so I increased my knowledge of these subjects for Scottish Christian Party policy. So – south and north of Scotland – the Lord showed me that He was walking with us.

One of the policemen from Inverness headquarters came over to chat with me and to say how much they appreciated Street Pastors. There were 16,000 attendees at Belladrum with a good atmosphere and no major issues, and Rockness festival had been comparatively free of incidents. Later, one of the men from the ShowSec security firm, who lives and works in the centre of Glasgow, also came over to let us know their appreciation.

One young lassie had lost her mobile phone with all her details on it – reminding me of a previous Belladrum festival when a mother had just arrived with her children and then locked her car keys inside her car! She and her friend had tried the suggestions we offered, so we attempted to calm her distraught mind and went off to the Welfare tent to let them know about it.

We had two Street Pastors from Elgin with us for the first time. Elgin is one hour to the east of Inverness and Belladrum is half an hour to the west, so they broke their journey each way at my home in Inverness. It was such a good night that they hope to attend next year as well, and one of them went out with the Street Pastors the next night in Elgin. So the Christian church continues to spread the grace of Jesus Christ, and will do so till the end of time. Now it is time to end this post. There are further Street Pastor posts under the relevant category in the right hand margin of this blog.